NOBODY KNOWS ANYTHING and just to prove it, Wired’s made a list of 40 big unanswered questions of the universe. This one’s my favorite because even if you answer it, it’s still bewildering and bad:
How do entangled particles communicate?
One of the zanier notions in the plenty zany world of quantum mechanics is that a pair of subatomic particles can sometimes become “entangled.” This means the fate of one instantly affects the other, no matter how far apart they are. It’s such a bizarre phenomenon that Einstein dissed the idea in the 1930s as “spooky action at a distance,” saying it showed that the developing model of the atomic world needed rethinking.
But it turns out that the universe is spooky after all. In 1997, scientists separated a pair of entangled photons by shooting them through fiber-optic cables to two villages 6 miles apart. Tipping one into a particular quantum state forced the other into the opposite state less than five-trillionths of a second later, or nearly 7 million times faster than light could travel between the two. Of course, according to relativity, nothing travels faster than the speed of light – not even information between particles.
Even the best theories to explain how entanglement gets around this problem seem preposterous. One, for example, speculates that signals are shot back through time. Ultimately, the answer is bound to be unnerving: According to a famous doctrine called Bell’s Inequality, for entanglement to square with relativity, either we have no free will or reality is an illusion. Some choice.
The other fun and disturbing thing you realize as you read the other articles is how often scientists use giant particle smashing machines called super colliders to test their theories — and that smashing particles in giant machines could possibly result in creating a black hole that sucks us all up into oblivion. Crazy scientists.