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No. 114: Nov-Dec 1997

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Quantum mechanics is definitely spooky

"I cannot seriously believe in [the quantum theory] because it cannot be reconciled with the idea that physics should represent a reality in time and space, free from spooky actions at a distance." (Ref. 1)

So Einstein wrote Max Born in March 1947. Well, even Einstein could have been wrong!

"It's getting even spookier out there. Particles can be strangely connected over at least ten kilometres, according to results from physicists in Geneva. Using pairs of "entangled" photons, Nicolas Gisin and his colleagues from the University of Geneva have shown that the measurement of one particle will instantaneously determine the state of the other." (Ref. 2)

This particular spooky aspect of quantum mechanics was demonstrated 15 years ago over a distance of just a few meters. Many physicists had expected (probably "hoped") that this "mysterious link" between separated particles would weaken with distance. But this quantum-mechanics effect does not conform to "common-sense" expectations! Now it seems that one particle of an "entangled pair" knows instantaneously what its mate is doing, possibly even if it is located on the other side of the universe.

More quantum-mechanics spookiness is seen in "tunneling" phenomena, such as that mentioned in AR#3, where a Mozart symphony zipped through a barrier at 4.7 times the speed of light.

Physicists do acknowledge these counter-intuitive quantummechanics effects, but they are not comfortable with them. Some, on the other hand, embrace them. The late physicist H. Pagels maintained that quantum mechanics is a sort of "code" that ties together everything in the cosmos. He explained all this in his book The Cosmic Code. (Ref. 3)


Ref. 1. Watson, Andrew; "Quantum Spookiness Wins, Einstein Loses in Photon Test," Science, 277:481, 1997.

Ref. 2. Buchanan, Mark; "Light's Spooky Connections Set Distance Record," New Scientist, p. 16, June 28, 1997.

Ref. 3. Browne, Malcolm W.; "Far Apart, 2 Particles Respond Faster Than Light," New York Times, July 22, 1997. Cr. M. Colpitts.)

Comments. "Spookiness" is in the mind of the percipient. We don't usually think of gravity as spooky, but just what does draw two masses together? All action-ata-distance forces are spooky. Everybody is into "codes" these days, as if Nature herself (or God) is not speaking out directly and plainly. We have, for example: The Message of the Sphinx (G. Hancock and R. Bauval); The Bible Code (M. Drosin); and The Biotic Message ( W.J. ReMine).

From Science Frontiers #114, NOV-DEC 1997. 1997-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987