Monday, April 25, 2011

Beam Me Up, Scotty: Teleportation, Schrődinger’s Cat and Quantum Entanglement

What do the terms squeezing, photon subtraction, entanglement and homodyne detection have in common? Together, they represent the quantum manipulation that researchers used to achieve the first documented case of successful teleportation of quantum light.

In the journal Science last Friday, researchers reported that they had successfully transferred quantum information from one place to another without having to physically move it. It was destroyed in one place and instantly resurrected in another, “alive” again and unchanged. A notion exploited in the film Prestige, based on a teleportation invention by Nikola Tesla. It’s also pretty much what happens in the SF show Star Trek in which an object is “destroyed” atom by atom in one place then built or "beamed" back with the same pattern elsewhere.

It starts with entanglement of the quantum kind and an Austrian physicist named Erwin Schrődinger. In 1935, Schrődinger came up with a thought experiment in response to a paradox paper by Einstein, Podolsky and Rosen (called the EPR article). Schrődinger’s scenario of a cat that might be alive or dead inside a box, depending on an earlier random event became known as Schrődinger’s Cat. Schrődinger coined the term “entanglement” (Verschränkung) to describe a property of a quantum mechanical system (paired particles) that act together and behave like one object but remain two separate objects—like two ends of a teeter-totter. If entangled, one object cannot be fully described without considering the other(s). They remain in a quantum superpostition and share a single quantum state until a measurement is made. He proposed the notion that said cat remains both alive and dead (to the universe outside the box) until the box is opened.

In the Science paper, researchers from Japan and Australia led by Noriyuki Lee of the University of Tokyo studied wave packets of light that existed in a state of quantum superposition—in other words, they existed in two different phases at the same time. They successfully transferred quantum information without losing its integrity.

Superposition permits computers to solve multiple problems at once. This new, faster teleportation process lets scientists move blocks of quantum information around inside a computer or across a network. This will potentially revolutionize quantum communications and computing. Researchers say it will make high-speed, high-fidelity transmission of large volumes of information, such as quantum encryption keys, via communications networks a reality.

According to most scientists, what we won't see soon — or ever — is something that will ‘beam’ a person from one place to another. "There are way too many atoms," says Christopher Monroe of the Joint Quantum Institute. "At the other end of the transporter, you need to have some blob of atoms that represents Captain Kirk but has no information in it. I mean, what would that look like?"

NikolaTesla’s notion over a hundred years ago of light as both a particle and a wave formed the basis of what we now call quantum physics. Tesla also investigated the creation of a "wall of light" by manipulating electromagnetic waves in a certain pattern, which he claimed would enable time, space, gravity and matter to be altered at will and engender anti-gravity airships, teleportation and time travel.

So, here’s my question: is our imagination limited by our reality or our reality limited by our imagination?

1. Noriyuki Lee and colleagues Teleportation Device
2. Transporter in the science fiction TV series "Star Trek"
3. Quantum Cat

Nina Munteanu is an ecologist and internationally published author of novels, short stories and essays. She coaches writers and teaches writing at George Brown College and the University of Toronto. For more about Nina’s coaching & workshops visit Visit for more about her writing.


CatMum said...

Well, what an delightful article to read with my morning java!
I want to read more of this fascinating article on Schrődinger’s entanglement of the quantum. Playing the devils advocate one would surmise that our imaginations could well exceed 'quantum physics or the magic of television and special FX techniques. To lead this one step further. lets hope scientists don't end up 'compressing our files' so that we become miniature versions of or real self....ponder the thought with a little humor ....this too leaves our imagination into another realm for discussion. Vanessa

SF Girl said...

Thanks for your wonderful thoughts, CatMum... As Hamlet once said to his good and skeptical friend,"there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreampt of in your philosophy"...

CatMum said...

Dear SF Girl,
I do appreciate reply to my comments, indeed one thought often leads to another......deeper, enlightened a well nourished garden in our minds. Ever needing stimulation where our intellect thrives under the right encouragement.

I do appreciate to quote from Hamlet apropos!

muzuzuzus said...

So, here’s my question: is our imagination limited by our reality or our reality limited by our imagination?

They both imply each other. What I tend to do is try and dissolve boudnaries to inquiries whenever I can, because I feel that the way propaganda works, which includes the 'education' system which enforces childrens attendance from their being very little onwards, is to divide up what in reality is continuum

So in that spirit let me address your questions first part: is our imagination limited by our reality? Yes, because our 'reality' is magaged by different levels of propaganda. It starts proper in the so-called 'education' system we are from being very little enforced to attend.
It is fortified by mass media which more and more is relentlessly pushed into our psyches from TV, mags, the cinema, muzac videos, the gadgets many now carry round with them (and remember chit chat also mainatins this 'reality bubble' because most likely the person chattering away to you is as under this propaganda as you are. So this is part of peer pressure)
There are the deeper levels of propaganda coming from an occultist elite which is 'hidden' in plain view. Look at all the corp logos, at your dollar bill, etc they all are occult symbols. The do films that have 'predictive programming' which are like multi million adverts to manpulate you to accept the horrors they have planned, including their magic blood rituals like 9/11, Fuk u shima, etc etc.
I am reading an amazing book I cannot recommend enough, is called Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body, and Primitive Accumulation, by Silvia Federici. She shows how capitalism has demanded we think of reality as mechanical, and our bodies as machines, and to do this the andocentric elite 'had' to persecute women ('witch hunts') and magic.

"or our reality limited by our imagination?"

Of course it works both ways, and that is the whole point of what the dominators have done over the generations to enslave us. They themselves are most definately not well, and they --at th3e top of their pyramid--are occultists, but their favoured magick is total control over others and nature, and of course themselves, because they deem emotions as a failing for the 'superman' or 'god'.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

The events in 'The Fly' movie show the dangers of teleportation. The orginal one in the 1950's has a real scariness.

SF Girl said...

Thanks for your thoughtful comments, Muzuzuzus... the book you mentioned sounds very interesting! My kind of book... :) Thanks!

SF Girl said...

Yes, Jean-Luc... that's the film I saw--the original one with David Crane? What was his name? I didn't see the remake...

Jean-Luc Picard said...

The actor's name was David Hedison, though he called himself Al Hedison in this early movie. Crane is the name of the character he played in 'Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea'

SF Girl said...

LOL! Ah yes, you're right and thanks for the correction, Jean-Luc. I really enjoyed that show!