Is Time a Result of Quantum Entanglement?
It is ironic that two of Albert Einstein’s most famous works – the respective theories of general relativity and special relativity – have been prisoner to a seemingly irreconcilable difference in the century since they were each postulated. The problem is time. Or, rather, how each model approaches and is affected by the concept of time. It has produced one of the greatest head scratchers among classic physicists and those engaged in the study of quantum mechanics: how time is solved in one model simply does not apply in the other. The biggest quandary is that according to all of the previous work, in order for the classic interpretation of time to be in agreement with its quantum counterpart, the universe must exist in a state in which no events transpire.
There was an innovative solution published in 1983 by theoretical researchers Don Page and William Wooters. They proposed that time arises as a result of quantum entanglement: the “spooky action” by which two different particles can share the identical properties of existence, even existence itself, regardless of physical separation. In theory, two particles could be “entangled” with each other even if one were located thousands of light-years from the other.
However, again there arises a problem: how to observe the entanglement without also becoming entangled and thus making the observation moot. In order to determine entanglement at all, an outside observer with a God-like perspective is required to compare the events. From the perch of such a person removed from the universe there would be no entanglement and thus, no time. However, for the person within the universe, entanglement would be an observed and quantified phenomenon that plays out across time. For “God” in this experiment there is no time at all, while for “Man” there is all the time in the world (in a manner of speaking). It is an elegant solution to the century-old problem; albeit one with no means of experimentation in a practical sense.
Ekaterina Moreva and her colleagues at the Istituto Nazionale di Ricerca Metrologica in Turin, Italy, have accomplished what is perhaps the first successful experiment in time arising from quantum entanglement. The scenario involves the same God-like being independent of the universe; however, the person is able to observe the state of one quantum particle as an internalized observer, while also observing the state of the corresponding particle in accordance with a “clock”, also independent of the universe. In a sense, the observer is looking at “one” particle in two different states, as opposed to two particles in the identical state.
That resolves quite a lot of conflict in the realm of wild physics and quantum foam. However, there is yet to be any solution that applies to large-scale events, such as those affecting our direct observation of time as a consequence of cause and effect; that is the next logical step. Perhaps it might be one massive stride toward accomplishing that long-elusive goal of a grand unified theory.