Spooky Action at a Distance

I’m a huge fan of Albert Einstein. So much so, that when my friends had band posters up on their walls in High School, I had this up on my wall instead.

From http://whowasalberteinstein.com/

Sadly, I wasn’t particularly gifted at physics but I made a valiant effort to read a few of his manuscripts. I didn’t “get” what the formulae said, no matter how long I pored over them. Instead I read what he explained about them, accepting that his math had to be right, since I couldn’t comprehend it. My dad being an engineer, really didn’t understand why I didn’t also gain the same joy and inspiration as he did reading from physics textbooks in the living room. The formulae always looked like Greek to me which isn’t surprising since we use the Greek alphabet in mathematics.

What my dad would say to me, often.

Ironically I can actually read and understand Greek better than a long formulaic string – thanks to Ancient Greek qualifying as a language elective as part of my BSc degree.

But back to Einstein. There is a fascinating theory of quantum entanglement that Einstein called “spooky action at a distance.” There is a physical phenomena that occurs when pairs (or groups) of particles act as if they are part of a system rather than individually. It’s much more complex than this, but the simplest way to think about it is that two particles spin in the same way; along the same axis, in the same direction, at the same rate, etc. Fascinatingly, once particles become “entangled” they continue to show the same characteristics, even when separated by any distance. Quantum mechanics doesn’t have a way to explain this entanglement, so the accepted formulation of quantum mechanics must be incomplete. But “spooky action at a distance” has been demonstrated with photons, electrons, molecules and even small diamonds.

 

So why am I talking about spooky action at a distance? Well I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why we feel a strong connection with some people, but not as strong a connection with others. I’ve met people that I was drawn to inexplicably, without having much in common per se. Before getting to know them, just drawn to them without having built a relationship first. Those are the people that will share the same experience of the day, even when we don’t interact. For no apparent reason I’ll be sad, or upset, or elated. And those moods seem to correspond with the moods of those people I feel strangely connected to.

This is the sort of connection I’m talking about, but maybe less evil.

Consider this:

  1. All matter was created 13 billion years ago in the Big Bang
  2. We are made up of those 13 billion year old particles
  3. Spooky action at a distance is proven to exist
  4. 13 billion years is plenty of time for many particle entanglements to be created

Then it stands to reason that we all have some already “spooky” particles within us. So could some of us be more connected to those people that carry more of the complimentary “spooky” particles to our own? There must be some mechanism regulating why we are drawn to some, but not to others. To me, this seems like as good a hypothesis as any. But I’ll leave that to the physicists to try to prove. I’m no Albert Einstein.

Clearly they share many “spooky” particle pairs

 

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