Story: Begin physics lesson: Entanglement is the property of quantum physics which allows for instantaneous movement – regardless of the speed of light. In short, two particles can be generated by a common process (like a photon hitting an excited atom). The properties of these two particles are tied together. When generated, they fly off in opposite directions. If we capture one of the particles and measure its properties, we can say with absolute certainty what the properties of the other particle are. We never have to touch it or see it. What’s better, if we change some property of our particle, we change those properties on the other particle instantly. We can, in theory, change a particle in the Gamma quadrant by tweaking its entangled partner as it passes Earth. End of physics lesson.
Review: In the world of “accessible” science books there are authors and there are Authors. Aczel definitely falls into the latter category. His style shines with the passion he feels for his subjects. When his subject is the precursor to real teleportation, the result is a great read.
Aczel knows how confusing this all is for physicists, so he makes every allowance for us mere mortals. He takes a chronological approach to the story of entanglement, and repeats concepts, definitions, and principles when possible to help the reader grasp the story. And this is a story. Beginning with Thomas Young’s proof that light is a wave in the early 1800s, Aczel takes entanglement from a glint in the eye of a young physicist, through decades of research, to experiments which actually manipulate matter instantly across miles. Continue reading