Physics

After Einstein Faster than the Speed of Light Discoveries



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Scientific advancement has always been an incremental process; one concept builds upon another until the next genius comes along and opens their eyes to a deeper understanding. So scientists will always be conservative at assuming that their current views of the universe are complete. Current science has not been able to see beyond the speed of light, because that was as far as Einstein showed them. This article uses new knowledge that came after Einstein known as quantum entanglement to create a "faster than light" communications system between Earth and Mars.

When you look out the window, you can see your own face in the glass. The percentage of light that reflects back at us can be predicted, but why certain photons reflect back and other ones pass through the glass is far beyond current scientific understanding. Science can predict with great accuracy the probability that an event will occur, and they can use that knowledge to engineer better glass, but as strange as this may sound: they can't explain why.

It's like knowing how many jelly beans are in a jar by estimating the weight of each jelly bean and the volume of the jar, without understanding what a jelly bean is. A deeper knowledge of the photon is necessary to grasp a faster than light communications system.

A classic experiment known as the double slit experiment illustrates that photons behave like both particles and waves. A photon passes through one of two slits and is then measured at a detector located within the experimental mechanism. If the detector is switched on, a photon is measured and it behaves like a particle. If the detector is off, the experimental mechanism shows that the photon is behaving like a wave. Scientists interpret this behavior that the act of measuring a photon forces it to behave like a particle. But of course they don't know why.

Let's imagine an experiment that illustrates why we have this apparent duality. If yellow and blue jelly beans were rapidly moving in blender; your eyes could only see a blur. If they were moving fast enough, the result would appear like a green soup, the surface might even have little waves. However, if you grabbed one of the jelly beans, in your hand you would hold a single yellow or blue bean and could thus prove that the soup was really made of individual beans.

In a similar way, the double slit apparatus illustrates the wave particle duality of photons. As long as you have uncertainty as to which slit the photons travel, you see the interference pattern on the apparatus screen (this is like seeing the green soup in the blender). Once you measure the photon with the detector, you then eliminate the uncertainty and the photon behaves like a particle (this is like grabbing a blue or yellow jelly bean).

Back in 1978, John Archibald Wheeler devised a version of the double slit experiment known as the delayed choice. In the delayed choice experiment, something really strange happens, something that we now know hints at the possibility of faster than light communications. Wheeler found that when he moved his detector far away; so far in fact, that light should have already behaved like a wave; the photons knew it and behaved like particles, and for that to happen local realism was violated.

Everyone would generally agree that objects can only directly influence other objects in their immediate surroundings. One apparent contradiction to this idea is known as quantum entanglement, which has been proven in both theory and experiment to violate the principle of local realism. What that means is that two entangled particles seem to influence each other immediately and across great distances. It is as if one jelly bean occupies two locations at the same time, so if you spin it in one location it spins in the other.

When two sub-atomic jelly beans become entangled, they share a single quantum state (such as spin) regardless of how spatially separated the two become. This means that if you measure one entangled particle, you will immediately and instantly know the state of the other entangled pair particle, even if the other entangled pair particle is on the other side of the universe. Wheeler stumbled upon this in 1978, but of course he didn't know why this strangeness happened; he was measuring jelly beans he didn't know what jelly beans were.

You could slowly spill jelly beans from the blender, hear the individuals hit the floor and conclude that the green soup was also made of individual jelly beans. Similarly, turn on the detector in the delayed choice experiment and conclude that the light wave was made of individual photons. Both detection systems disrupt the experiment in order to highlight the duality. But beyond the duality, the apparent strangeness of delayed choice results hint at something deeper, the detector and the screen must be entangled.

In this macroscopic world the distance between detector and the screen is apparent. In the quantum world the detector and the screen share the same quantum state. So when a mass of entangled jelly beans that is spinning at both the detector and screen stops spinning, the interference pattern on the screen disappears. The distance between the detector and the screen doesn't matter because the quantum entanglement makes the entire apparatus operate as if it were in the same macroscopic locality.

Now imagine a massive Wheeler delayed choice apparatus with the slits and screen located on Earth and the detector located on Mars. In this configuration we can construct one channel of a faster than light communications system. The receiver on Earth observes the on and off toggling of interference patterns on a screen in same instant that the operator on Mars toggles the delayed choice detector thus transmitting a signal faster than light (e.g. Morse code). Hence the interference pattern on the screen serves the role of the beeps on a quantum mechanical telegraph and the detector serves the role of quantum mechanical telegraph transmission key.

Increasing the size of the delayed choice apparatus to connect the Earth and Mars doesn't change the entanglement. The "no communications theorem" is not violated because a single quantum state spans the distance, so in the quantum world they are in the same locality. The receiver on Earth is made aware of the quantum state change at the same instant that the transmitter on Mars changes that quantum state, so faster than light communications takes place. And finally, a second channel for communications between Earth and Mars is also used so that the lonely astronaut on Mars can know in real-time that his messages are being heard.

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