The Dance of the Quanta

4.57143
Average: 4.6 (14 votes)
Your rating: None

 quantum entanglement

       noun 

1. (physics) a quantum mechanical phenomenon in which the quantum states of two or more objects have at all times to be described with reference to each other, each instantaneously tracking changes to the other, however large the spatial separation of the objects.

 

relationship  

noun

1. The way in which two or more concepts, objects, or people are connected, or the state of being connected.

 

Particles. That's all humanity is compared to the grand scheme of creation. Insignificant little things, delicately balanced in various quantum states. But in this deep, mysterious and uncertain world, the most beautiful things can occur. There's an event described by quantum physics called Quantum Entanglement. In short, it's the most romantic concept in the world. When particles are entangled in this fragile state, they are constantly communicating, and whatever happens to one, will also happen to the other. No matter the space between them, this relationship continues infinitely. This is analogous to the term soul-mates.

As they dance, time and space are still. At least, that is what the audience thinks as they watch the intricate patterns of spinning and beautiful movement timed to the rhythm of the music. The dancers' shadows are cast across the stage, long and tall, as if their bodies have been stretched out, but they still continue to move gracefully across the floor. He holds her gently while they sway in time. Her hand in his, she brings herself closer to him and then, in a swift movement, they fall upstage in a graceful dip. Then the music changes. A tribal drum beat pounds, shaking the floor. The lights on the stage row dim. He begins to drift away from her. Her hand reaches longingly for him as he is pulled away by an invisible force.

Quantum Entanglement is a very delicate state. Factors must line up perfectly in order for it to occur. It is a phenomenon, a strange and beautiful occurrence. The bond of two quanta can be stretched apart for an infinite amount of space. But is easily broken, and of that occurs, the particles are no longer of the same kind. They are altered and lose all communication. They are torn apart. 

Her face is one of despair as he spins around and around, further and further away from her. She tries to call after him, but no words come and tears trickle down her face. She turns her face towards the audience, and her watering, blue eyes reveal a fragile longing. She curls up and then suddenly goes limp, splayed out. The audience murmurs in soft alarm. 

Particles exist in an ever-changing multiverse, that is filled with disastrous events that can reconvert the energy used by a particle system to another part of existence. Energy can never disappear, it just continues to be implemented in a different way. After a system such as Quantum Entanglement is fractured, the particles may exist in a different state.

The audience turn their heads and see him leaping courageously towards her in an act of heroism. He has broken away from the forces that kept them apart. But alas, it is too late. She draws herself up and moves towards the audience. He runs up behind her, grabs her arm and spins her around to look at him. She turns and looks with him with eyes of cold and bitter emptiness. Without his presence, she has lost part of herself. Now she is part of something else, and she doesn't know him. She slowly moves out of his grasp, turns around, with her back to him, and slowly exits off stage left. His graceful hand reaches longingly for her, but it is too late. They are no longer connected. 

               As a particle's energy is reimplemented into quantum existence, its former "partner," with which it was entangled, also begins to change. The particles can no longer be described in reference to each other, as they are no longer bonded together. Information is no longer relayed back and forth, and the particles are no longer entangled. 

               He then seems to experience a drastic change. He jolts forward, turning towards the audience. His face is blank, empty. The forces that kept him from his mate pull at him again, but now he doesn't resist. He begins spinning, spinning, spinning throughout the space for minutes on end. The lights brighten to a blinding glow and the music intensifies as he spins. The music screams out its final notes in a grand climax and he leaps forward, gracefully pointing his toes. A moment later, he hits the stage floor, music stops and the lights shut off. He lies crumpled. Their dance has ended. 

About the Author: 
Rose Dallimore is a 13-year old New York Native.

Newsletter Signup

Submit your email address so we can send you occasional competition updates and tell you who wins!

Quantum Theories

I is for ... Information

Many researchers working in quantum theory believe that information is the most fundamental building block of reality.

R is for ... Randomness

Unpredictability lies at the heart of quantum mechanics. It bothered Einstein, but it also bothers the Dalai Lama.

L is for ... Large Hadron Collider (LHC)

At CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, this machine is smashing apart particles in order to discover their constituent parts and the quantum laws that govern their behaviour.

I is for ... Interferometer

Some of the strangest characteristics of quantum theory can be demonstrated by firing a photon into an interferometer: the device’s output is a pattern that can only be explained by the photon passing simultaneously through two widely-separated slits.

O is for ... Objective reality

Niels Bohr, one of the founding fathers of quantum physics, said there is no such thing as objective reality. All we can talk about, he said, is the results of measurements we make.

U is for ... Universe

To many researchers, the universe behaves like a gigantic quantum computer that is busy processing all the information it contains.

W is for ... Wave-particle duality

It is possible to describe an atom, an electron, or a photon as either a wave or a particle. In reality, they are both: a wave and a particle.

U is for ... Uncertainty Principle

One of the most famous ideas in science, this declares that it is impossible to know all the physical attributes of a quantum particle or system simultaneously.

G is for ... Gluon

These elementary particles hold together the quarks that lie at the heart of matter.

G is for ... Gravity

Our best theory of gravity no longer belongs to Isaac Newton. It’s Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. There’s just one problem: it is incompatible with quantum theory. The effort to tie the two together provides the greatest challenge to physics in the 21st century.

P is for ... Planck's Constant

This is one of the universal constants of nature, and relates the energy of a single quantum of radiation to its frequency. It is central to quantum theory and appears in many important formulae, including the Schrödinger Equation.

K is for ... Kaon

These are particles that carry a quantum property called strangeness. Some fundamental particles have the property known as charm!

D is for ... Dice

Albert Einstein decided quantum theory couldn’t be right because its reliance on probability means everything is a result of chance. “God doesn’t play dice with the world,” he said.

E is for ... Entanglement

When two quantum objects interact, the information they contain becomes shared. This can result in a kind of link between them, where an action performed on one will affect the outcome of an action performed on the other. This “entanglement” applies even if the two particles are half a universe apart.

J is for ... Josephson Junction

This is a narrow constriction in a ring of superconductor. Current can only move around the ring because of quantum laws; the apparatus provides a neat way to investigate the properties of quantum mechanics.

M is for ... Many Worlds Theory

Some researchers think the best way to explain the strange characteristics of the quantum world is to allow that each quantum event creates a new universe.

V is for ... Virtual particles

Quantum theory’s uncertainty principle says that since not even empty space can have zero energy, the universe is fizzing with particle-antiparticle pairs that pop in and out of existence. These “virtual” particles are the source of Hawking radiation.

N is for ... Nonlocality

When two quantum particles are entangled, it can also be said they are “nonlocal”: their physical proximity does not affect the way their quantum states are linked.

H is for ... Hawking Radiation

In 1975, Stephen Hawking showed that the principles of quantum mechanics would mean that a black hole emits a slow stream of particles and would eventually evaporate.

Y is for ... Young's Double Slit Experiment

In 1801, Thomas Young proved light was a wave, and overthrew Newton’s idea that light was a “corpuscle”.

S is for ... Schrödinger’s Cat

A hypothetical experiment in which a cat kept in a closed box can be alive and dead at the same time – as long as nobody lifts the lid to take a look.

B is for ... Bell's Theorem

In 1964, John Bell came up with a way of testing whether quantum theory was a true reflection of reality. In 1982, the results came in – and the world has never been the same since!

T is for ... Teleportation

Quantum tricks allow a particle to be transported from one location to another without passing through the intervening space – or that’s how it appears. The reality is that the process is more like faxing, where the information held by one particle is written onto a distant particle.

S is for ... Superposition

Quantum objects can exist in two or more states at once: an electron in superposition, for example, can simultaneously move clockwise and anticlockwise around a ring-shaped conductor.

H is for ... Hidden Variables

One school of thought says that the strangeness of quantum theory can be put down to a lack of information; if we could find the “hidden variables” the mysteries would all go away.

A is for ... Atom

This is the basic building block of matter that creates the world of chemical elements – although it is made up of more fundamental particles.

R is for ... Radioactivity

The atoms of a radioactive substance break apart, emitting particles. It is impossible to predict when the next particle will be emitted as it happens at random. All we can do is give the probability that any particular atom will have decayed by a given time.

F is for ... Free Will

Ideas at the heart of quantum theory, to do with randomness and the character of the molecules that make up the physical matter of our brains, lead some researchers to suggest humans can’t have free will.

C is for ... Computing

The rules of the quantum world mean that we can process information much faster than is possible using the computers we use now.

Q is for ... Qubit

One quantum bit of information is known as a qubit (pronounced Q-bit). The ability of quantum particles to exist in many different states at once means a single quantum object can represent multiple qubits at once, opening up the possibility of extremely fast information processing.

A is for ... Alice and Bob

In quantum experiments, these are the names traditionally given to the people transmitting and receiving information. In quantum cryptography, an eavesdropper called Eve tries to intercept the information.

D is for ... Decoherence

Unless it is carefully isolated, a quantum system will “leak” information into its surroundings. This can destroy delicate states such as superposition and entanglement.

C is for ... Cryptography

People have been hiding information in messages for millennia, but the quantum world provides a whole new way to do it.

P is for ... Probability

Quantum mechanics is a probabilistic theory: it does not give definite answers, but only the probability that an experiment will come up with a particular answer. This was the source of Einstein’s objection that God “does not play dice” with the universe.

R is for ... Reality

Since the predictions of quantum theory have been right in every experiment ever done, many researchers think it is the best guide we have to the nature of reality. Unfortunately, that still leaves room for plenty of ideas about what reality really is!

Z is for ... Zero-point energy

Even at absolute zero, the lowest temperature possible, nothing has zero energy. In these conditions, particles and fields are in their lowest energy state, with an energy proportional to Planck’s constant.

B is for ... Bose-Einstein Condensate (BEC)

At extremely low temperatures, quantum rules mean that atoms can come together and behave as if they are one giant super-atom.

X is for ... X-ray

In 1923 Arthur Compton shone X-rays onto a block of graphite and found that they bounced off with their energy reduced exactly as would be expected if they were composed of particles colliding with electrons in the graphite. This was the first indication of radiation’s particle-like nature.

Q is for ... Quantum biology

A new and growing field that explores whether many biological processes depend on uniquely quantum processes to work. Under particular scrutiny at the moment are photosynthesis, smell and the navigation of migratory birds.

W is for ... Wavefunction

The mathematics of quantum theory associates each quantum object with a wavefunction that appears in the Schrödinger equation and gives the probability of finding it in any given state.

M is for ... Multiverse

Our most successful theories of cosmology suggest that our universe is one of many universes that bubble off from one another. It’s not clear whether it will ever be possible to detect these other universes.

T is for ... Tunnelling

This happens when quantum objects “borrow” energy in order to bypass an obstacle such as a gap in an electrical circuit. It is possible thanks to the uncertainty principle, and enables quantum particles to do things other particles can’t.

L is for ... Light

We used to believe light was a wave, then we discovered it had the properties of a particle that we call a photon. Now we know it, like all elementary quantum objects, is both a wave and a particle!

A is for ... Act of observation

Some people believe this changes everything in the quantum world, even bringing things into existence.

S is for ... Schrödinger Equation

This is the central equation of quantum theory, and describes how any quantum system will behave, and how its observable qualities are likely to manifest in an experiment.