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All paths lead to the same goal: to convey to others what we are. --Pablo Neruda

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Physicist out of time



From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

If his experiment with splitting photons actually works, says University of Washington physicist John Cramer, the next step will be to test for quantum "retrocausality."

That's science talk for saying he hopes to find evidence of a photon going backward in time.

"It doesn't seem like it should work, but on the other hand, I can't see what would prevent it from working," Cramer said. "If it does work, you could receive the signal 50 microseconds before you send it."

Uh, huh ... what? Wait a minute. What is that supposed to mean?

Roughly put, Cramer is talking about the subatomic equivalent of arriving at the train station before you've left home, of winning the lottery before you've bought the ticket, of graduating from high school before you've been born -- or something like that.

"It probably won't work," he said again carefully, peering through his large glasses as if to determine his audience's mental capacity for digesting the information. Cramer, an accomplished experimental physicist who also writes science fiction, knows this sounds more like a made-for-TV script on the Sci Fi Channel than serious scientific research.

"But even if it doesn't work, we should be able to learn something new about quantum mechanics by trying it,"





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Comments on "Physicist out of time"

 

Blogger Robert said ... (11:58 PM) : 

such piddling little lasers... I wish I had a good photo of our lab in full flight for you.

oh, and scientists only wear goggles for photo shoots and lab inspections. they make working with lasers too dangerous, by their very nature that they work too well - they cut out the light from the laser, which means you can't see the thing, which means you burn your hands when they pass through the beam you didn't see was there...

 

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