Spooky action at a distance

Discussion in 'PHYSICS & MATHEMATICS' started by Terry M, Mar 11, 2013.

  1. Terry M

    Terry M Member Mushroom Doctor

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    I've been recently looking into an old physics topic: Mach's Principle: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mach%27s_principle.

    The basic idea is that rotational motion (and inertia) or NOT relative, but must be with respect to a fixed frame of reference, namely the "fixed" stars of the universe.

    Furthermore, the field of this force extends instantaneously from all massive bodies, NOT at the speed of light. This means that (according to our human way of thinking about things) stars who's light only now comes to us from billions of years ago somehow "know" the positions of rotating bodies now. The real now (???), not the now of billions of years ago.

    This looks suspiciously like the "spooky action at a distance" which Einstein objected to in quantum mechanics. He thought that quantum mechanics must either be wrong or incomplete, because the "wave function" at the heart of QM extended over both time and space. This doesn't seem to cause problems for the tiny scale at which quantum mechanics routinely functions, because the times are so short. What's a trillionth of a second here or there? But tabletop interferometry experiments of recent decades (quantum erasure for example, which you can actually do at home with a laser pointer and polarizers!) require this to operate at human time scale and longer. And this has been confirmed by experiment to be true. If you made one arm of your tabletop interferometer really really long, like the distance to a nearby star, it must still work. A "moment" in quantum mechanics can somehow extend across any number of years!

    Are these two spooky actions at a distance related? One is gravitational, and the other quantum mechanical. And remember that theoretical physicists are still trying to unite gravity and quantum mechanics into a single "theory of everything," and so far they have failed!

    Spooky, huh?
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2013
  2. Professor PinHead

    Professor PinHead Lost in the Tek.... Administrator Mushroom Doctor Cannabis Doctor Supporter

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    :clap:

    Good post Terry... Definitely spooky!

    I am going to read up on that wikipedia link now.

    Quantum mechanics are about the opposite of what I focused on in my physics training but the subject is very interesting. I planned on studying QM in grad school in more detail but never made it back to school.
     
  3. insectocean

    insectocean Stranger Than Fiction Supporter

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  4. Ellis

    Ellis Mycovore

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  5. insectocean

    insectocean Stranger Than Fiction Supporter

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    Small world, I've been meaning to watch this. Although I think i missed my chance to watch it for free on netflix watch instantly.
     
  6. HorizonSpawn

    HorizonSpawn Moderator Moderator Mushroom Doctor

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    Also keep in mind that the "speed of light" is NOT a constant ;)
     
  7. Terry M

    Terry M Member Mushroom Doctor

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    Yea, the Goswami stuff is based on one of the many interpretations of quantum mechanics, namely that a QM "observer" making a measurement is the human mind. It's called the von Neumann/Wigner interpretation, and was first proposed by von Neumann in 1932, I think. So it's actually very old and not revolutionary, dating back to nearly the birth of quantum mechanics.

    Before this literal observation is made, the universe exists only as a QM wave function. Presumably, this measurement can be performed by other sorts of minds as well, such as those of other primates. I don't happen to buy that interpretation, because I think there are better and simpler ones. I'm an advocate of something called the de Broglie–Bohm interpretation. This separates out wave and particle so they are not one and the same. The problem of the collapse of the wave function (the where and why it occurs, and what exactly constitutes an observation) completely disappears. It doesn't collapse to a particular world outcome at all. The wave is non-local (instantaneous), but the particle follows a path which is probabilistically determined by the wave.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2013
  8. Terry M

    Terry M Member Mushroom Doctor

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    Sorry if my last post was too technical. But I've been fascinated by quantum mechanics for years. There's nothing else quite as non-intuitive to us humans. Yet every test of this crazy physics has proven it to be correct!
     
  9. insectocean

    insectocean Stranger Than Fiction Supporter

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    No, gettng technical is fine :thumbup: This kind of stuff is fascinating.
     
  10. bootster

    bootster Well-Known Member Supporter

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    This is very interesting. As ProfP said, I am interested in this subject but my college physics didn't go that far. I'll stay tuned with this for sure. :popcorn:
     
  11. BigGym

    BigGym New Member Banned

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    Quite possibly the coolest thread I've stumbled in on. Is there a level above this someone's written about? This is kind of trippy does it go deeper?
     
  12. Terry M

    Terry M Member Mushroom Doctor

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    Does it go deeper? About as deep as Alice down the rabbit hole! Quantum mechanics is a basic fact of the universe. But how it works and what it MEANS and WHY IT IS THERE has puzzled the greatest physicists on Earth. The possibilities are each screwy in their own way. See for example http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interpretations_of_quantum_mechanics. Any one of these interpretations is possible because they're all consistent with the mathematics of quantum mechanics.

    One of the strangest is Everett's "Many Worlds." It postulates that since quantum mechanical outcomes on every level are statistical, every possible outcome in fact occurs. All these outcomes split the universe off into a multiplicity of different universes! Each of these billion billion billion universes split off every second can never see or know about each other. Many physicists believe in some variation of this. It fails Occam's Razer (economy) really badly, but it solves the "wave function collapse" problem. There never ever is a mysterious collapse when an "observation" occurs. There aren't even any observations. The wave function just keeps on evolving linearly, like it is supposed to in QM. But it spawns off a near infinite number of new universes at every possible moment!
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2013
  13. BigGym

    BigGym New Member Banned

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    How do people know this stuff? I mean, past "that" point how do you know it doesn't reach the level of Rolling Stone where "they" list the 100 best whatever category and run with it?... I can see you know air force, biology etc. has a handle on it but when you talk about this stuff and people 100 + years ago, wtf??? That literally puts me in the "I lift rock put over there, get bannana?" category.

    How do you know this stuff for sure? Are we rocking Jeet Kune Do or are we banking on our "favorite artists" at a certain point, or is this real/matter of fact?
     
  14. Terry M

    Terry M Member Mushroom Doctor

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    I'm not sure I know what you're asking, BigJim. But there are two different things being talked about here. One is the physics of quantum mechanics, which works like any other science. We observe something, we make an educated guess as to what is going on, and test this guess by doing experiments. Other people do experiments and get the same result, and eventually this guess turns into something that is "true." At least to the extent that we've tested the hell out of it and it works. Then this true thing is used to try to explain more observed things, and more educated guesses are made to try to explain these. One thing builds on another.

    In physics, the guesses generally take the form of mathematical models. The equations of these models can often predict how experiments we haven't even done will turn out. When their predictions prove correct, then we get even more confidence that our models are true.

    As for quantum mechanics, we know the equations discovered a century ago are true. They work every time, and are routinely used in engineering to design new kinds of electronics for our computers, for example.

    The equations of QM are really really unusual. They say, for example, that if we make a measurement of one thing, like the speed of an electron, we can't measure another thing with any accuracy, such as the position of that electron at a particular time. And it's not a matter of making better measuring gadgets. These restrictions are part of the laws of the universe. You can't get around them no matter how clever your experiments are.

    But this doesn't make sense to everyday human experience. You can measure the speed and position of a baseball as accurately as you want, for example. But QM does not follow everyday human experience. It requires that if one thing is observed in one place, another thing will happen somewhere else. And yet to no information ever gets transferred between the two places.

    This then brings up the question of how to interpret QM. We know that this stuff happens, but how? What are the nuts and bolts of how it works? The answer, at least so far, is that we don't know. We can make guesses about different interpretations, but there's no experiment we can think of so far to distinguish which one is true. They're all consistent with the math of QM, and so are all equally valid interpretations. In fact, one long-standing interpretation is that there is no interpretation, and to ask about one is meaningless. But remember that the laws of QM are so damn screwy that any interpretation we make about how they work will be at least equally screwy!

    But it's possible that some day we can think of an experiment which can test one interpretation over another. Until then, all we can do is choose an interpretation because we like its simplicity, for example. Or maybe there's no interpretation that we stupid human can understand. QM is part of the fabric of the universe. Get over it! :D
     
  15. BigGym

    BigGym New Member Banned

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    I hear you. It just clicked further last night when I stumbled upon "How small is the universe". For every measurment "above" you can double & and every measurment "below" you can divide. They got into atom crashers, black holes, anti matter, string theory, the whole nine. Dimensons that are not "naturally" percieved, gravity.

    Apparently light may not be a constant after all. (HS ;) )

    My rock lifter explination would be...at times you can stand at the base of a mountain and the peak can't be seen....even though it's there, and other times you can stand at the peak of a mountain and not see the base...even though it's there.

    They compared it to the russian puppets where for everyone you open, there's a smaller one to open, and so forth. And you can only take it as far as our "tools" can acknowlede the divide....or flip side, the expanse. Fundamental elements now being divided. Like the cat collar on Men In Black. Our unit of measurement is perception.. take a massive perspective, we're miniscule. Take a miniscule perspective, we're massive...

    When someone like me discovers people that know this I'm thinking it's not only up/down, left/right, forward & backward.... this shit goes on forever..circles, rotations, "orbits" etc. :cartman: So much information.

    And then you cross the other boundary which you talked about in your earlier post, all measurements are basicly filtered through human perception, which voids them in all but one term.. !

    Lava lamp talk man. I respect people that can hold on to these thoughts and not just "glimpse" them like myself. Excuse me I have to go hammer a nail into something or king kongs going to refuse me my bananna again. :( (I think this is my *up to 5th now* edit :hehehe: )
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2013