Friday, April 20, 2012

Here I am, Nobel Prize Committee (Physics)

My daughter just woke me up because she couldn't find her Pooh Bear and startled me (read "scared me out of my wits") enough that I can't go back to sleep. Partially because I can't silence my noisy thoughts.

One of the various things running through my head when I awoke might be a way to explain an aspect of quantum entanglement. (Yes, these things do run through my mind at all hours.) In that case, in order to secure my status as a contender for the Nobel Prize in Physics, I'll post my idea here. (I apologize to my regular readers as this will probably not interest any of you in the slightest.)

In order to visualize this, let's visit Flatland in order to deal with this in a way that gets rid of a complicating dimension.

Perhaps entangled particles are actually two points on a loop (which was created when the particles were entangled). This loop would need to be rigid in such a way that when you twist one particle by measuring the spin (or other entangled property), the other is instantly twisted as well. (Think of those flexible screw drivers.)

The loop would need to have other properties as well.

It would have to either be able to be pinched and stretched*, so that the two points- the particles- could go from being proximate, to being a very great distance apart --- OR-the loop would need to be able to grow exponentially while maintaining its circular geometry. Or, perhaps the loop doesn't actually grow, but is passing perpendicularly through the plane of Flatland so that the points of its intersection move apart. This would mean that the loop would need to be, for all practical purposes, infinitely large since particles don't seem to slow and eventually reverse their paths.

(*If the loop were flexible enough to be pinched and stretched, might there be a case of more than two particles being entangled? The loop might "loop" around enough to pass through the plane of Flatland 2, 4, 6, or more times, which could be experimentally checked.)

Now, to visualize this idea in our Universe, return the dimension we lost by going to Flatland, and view the particles (or "strings") as "points" along a higher-dimensional "loop" where it passes through our spatial dimensions and you should be able to visualize what I am thinking.

One problem I see with this idea is that a circular loop would seem to dictate that the entangled particles should move apart very rapidly at first as the loop passed through our dimension, then slow as the sides of the loop became more and more "parallel" to one another and perpendicular to the "plane" of the Universe they passed through. This could also indicate I have the geometry wrong even if the concept is basically sound.

I believe experiments could be designed to test some of the characteristics of this hypothetical loop in order to falsify the idea. But I am not the person to do the math. I'm willing to share the Nobel Prize with someone who can work out the math- and hey, if a mass-murdering puppetician like Obama can get a "peace prize", a simple mountainman like me should be a serious contender for a prize in physics. I'll await my call.