Quantum Entanglement II

As I was saying last time, the 2022 physics Nobel Prize was awarded to John Clauser, Alain Aspect, and Anton Zeilinger for their contribution to quantum entanglement. This is associated with instantaneous “spooky action at a distance”, and is said to play an important role in quantum computing. It all started in 1935 with the EPR paper, where Einstein, Podolsky, and Rosen said quantum mechanics must be incomplete because it predicts a system in two different states at the same time. Bohr replied a few months…

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Quantum entanglement I

The 2022 Nobel prize in physics was awarded to Alain Aspect, John Clauser and Anton Zeilinger "for experiments with entangled photons, establishing the violation of Bell inequalities and pioneering quantum information science". Hamish Johnston gave a brief account in Physics World on October 4th. He said the three laureates performed the key experiments that established the quantum property of entanglement. That’s quantum entanglement, which is often described as spooky action at a distance. The idea is that you produce two photons from one event, and when…

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Back to the Moon

I was pleased to hear about the Artemis space programme. NASA tell us that “Artemis is the first step in the next era of human exploration. Together with commercial and international partners, NASA will establish a sustainable presence on the Moon to prepare for missions to Mars”. That sounds good to me, because the future isn’t what it used to be, and going back to the Moon is like going back to the future. I have fond memories of the Apollo space programme: Public domain images courtesy of…

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The race to invent new particles is pointless

Sabine Hossenfelder had an article in the Guardian last month. As you will doubtless know, she’s the author of the Backreaction blog. It used to be a physics blog with a bad reputation for comment censorship. Now it’s a YouTube blog, and there are no comments*. That’s because Hossenfelder is a “follow me on Twitter” type who talks at you, not to you. She’s never been interested in what anybody had to say. Moreover it’s crystal clear she’s never read the Einstein digital papers or the…

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The James Webb Space Telescope

I’m sorry I haven’t posted for months. Part of the reason is that the day job has been extremely tough this year. It’s a lot to do with Covid. As you will know if you’ve applied for a driving licence or booked a flight, a lot of organisations are not functioning effectively right now. That’s due to past layoffs, or staff going part time, or retiring, or “working from home”. In addition, training is more difficult when people are not in the office, and it all…

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Physics is dead, long live physics

I was pleased to read about the launch of the James Webb space telescope on Christmas Day. I do hope everything goes smoothly. It will take about a month to get on station, about three months before it’s cold enough to function, and about six months before it’s commissioned. Unlike Hubble, which was in a low Earth orbit, Webb will be in a “halo” orbit around the L2 Lagrange point a million miles from Earth. Along the way there are 3 burns and 50 deployments with…

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The gamma bomb

I’ve always been interested in antigravity. It started when I was when I was six, when Fireball XL5 was on TV. Of course, the spaceship itself was a rail-launched rocket with wings. But Steve Zodiac and crew had a "gravity activator" for artificial gravity inside the ship, plus hover bikes. Hover bikes were a recurring feature in Gerry and Silvia Anderson’s futuristic programmes. I think it was because they were cool, and because it wasn’t easy to make those marionettes walk. Gravity generators or compensators were also…

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Of mice and men, and what must the neighbours think of us?

I don’t like mice. I saw one last Saturday night. I was sitting at our kitchen bar at maybe 8pm having a glass of wine with the wife. A movement out on the patio caught my eye, and there it was. A mouse. I swivelled on my stool and watched it through the French windows. It was jumping around all over the place in a crazy kind of way. Maybe it was after some bits of food I’d thrown out for the seagull earlier. The seagull…

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UFOs and Aliens

It’s a big big universe. The diameter of the Earth is about eight thousand miles, so the circumference is about twenty five thousand miles. If you could walk twenty miles a day and didn’t have to worry about little things like rivers and mountains and oceans, it would take you one thousand two hundred and fifty days to walk twenty five thousand miles. That’s over three years. The Moon is about two hundred and fifty thousand miles away. If you could walk to the Moon, it…

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The leptoquark hype

There was an article in The Daily Telegraph last week. The title was Key step to unlocking mysteries of the universe. The subtitle was Hearts ‘set racing’ at site of Large hadron Collider as experiments hint at a new force of nature. You can find an online version at Key to how universe works may have been discovered. Both the print and the online versions were written by science editor Sarah Knapton, and whilst the title and illustrations are a little different, the content is the…

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