Spooky Action at a Distance

by | Apr 21, 2017


This IFOD concerns “quantum entanglement” which is the craziest thing I have ever heard.* Einstein described it as “spooky action at a distance.”

Quantum entanglement occurs when two subatomic particles remain connected, even over large distances. Entanglement arises naturally when two particles are created at the same point and instant in space. Entangled particles can become widely separated in space. But even so, the mathematics of quantum mechanics implies that a measurement on one immediately influences the other, regardless of the distance between them.

Quantum entanglement is somewhat akin to having two identical pool balls – one in the U.S. and the other in Australia, and the instant you you sent one spinning the other, half a world away, would immediately begin spinning in the opposite direction at the same speed.  Quantum entanglement is instantaneous.  There appears to be no communication between the particles (and there cannot be – nothing can travel faster than the speed of light). Neil deGrasse Tyson explained it like twin humans being on different continents and one twin feeling his arm hurt at the exact moment the other twin injured his arm.

The theory of quantum entanglement was proposed in 1935 but was not proven via experiment until 1997.  In the 1997 experiment the particles were separated by seven miles and when one particle was interfered with, the other particle, seven miles away, had an instantaneous response and had opposite spin.

If you want a bit more detail, here it is:  different subatomic  particles have different properties called “spin.”  Think of spin as being like the two poles of a magnet, but instead of + and – poles the subatomic particles are either in a state of “spin up” or “spin down”.  Particles that are quantum entangled are such that if one is spin up the other is always spin down. Subatomic particles, such as electrons, are in the weird quantum state of superposition, meaning they are in some mix of the two spin directions, until, of course, they are observed and at that point in time the spin can be observed – either spin up or spin down.  The moment the spin of one particle is determined, its sister particle, no matter how distant, will immediately begin spinning in the opposite direction and at the same rate.  Thus, whatever happened to one particle immediately affects the other particle, wherever in the universe it may be.

Here is a dynamite video explaining all of this if you are interested: http://www.sciencealert.com/watch-this-is-how-quantum-entanglement-really-works

*Actually the craziest thing I’ve ever heard of is bacon flavored donuts.  So, quantum entanglement is the second craziest thing.



  1. Bacon donuts started at Voodoo Donuts In Portland, and it’s been proven that if a person eats one on the east side of town, there’s always someone across the river who immediately gets cravings 🙂

  2. that is bizarre but makes total sense after thinking about bacon flavored donuts


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