The black-and-white photo above isn’t much to look at. However, the ghostly, eye-like shapes illustrate a strange phenomenon that rattled Albert Einstein so much that he died disbelieving it could exist.
The picture represents the first photograph made by quantum entanglement, or the “spooky” pairing of particles.
“The image we’ve managed to capture is an elegant demonstration of a fundamental property of nature, seen for the very first time in the form of an image,” Paul-Antoine Moreau, a physicist at the University of Glasgow, said in a press release.
Moreau led a team of researchers who managed to create the image, which the group published in a study on Friday in the journal Science Advances.
Quantum entanglement 101
Quantum entanglement is the now well-documented idea that two tiny particles can be paired and separated, yet remain intimately and instantly connected across vast distances.
By the laws of physics, two particles can get entangled with a binary, yes-or-no-like property or state, such as spin or phase polarization. But that state remains fuzzy — or in “superposition” — until one particle is measured. Then at the exact moment of observation, even if the particles are separated by light-years of space, the other particle takes on the opposite state of its twin.
To understand this concept, imagine each entangled particle were a box containing a cat. The cat inside would be both alive and dead at the same time — that is, until someone opened one of the boxes. If the cat seen in one box was alive, then the cat in the other box would have to be dead (or vice versa).
Einstein thought this teleportation-like effect was so absurd that he described it as “spooky action at a distance.”
“Einstein couldn’t accept this,” J.C. Séamus Davis, a physicist at Cornell University who studies quantum mechanics, previously told Business Insider. “He essentially went to his grave not accepting this as fact, but it’s now been shown millions of times to work.”(source)
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A 'spooky' effect of physics that Einstein couldn't believe has been photographed for the first time https://t.co/VvXcTBg1go
— Ming Solenya Nethery (@MingGao26) July 14, 2019