The Daily Galaxy reported earlier on an experienced and well-respected particle physicist’s mind-boggling plan to prove that time is two-directional using light particles. Now he’s going forward with his “backward” plan to explore quantum retro causality.
When Carl Sagan, the legendary astrophysicist, was asked if he believed in the possibility of traveling back in time, he answered:
"If we could travel into the past, it's mind-boggling what would be possible. For one thing, history would become an experimental science, which it certainly isn't today. The possible insights into our own past and nature and origins would be dazzling. For another, we would be facing the deep paradoxes of interfering with the scheme of causality that has led to our own time and ourselves. I have no idea whether it's possible, but it's certainly worth exploring."
Physicist John Cramer is back from a tour of duty at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, and now he's ready to move forward with a laser experiment that may unravel the mystery of whether time is two-directional or if it can only move one way—forward.
As we mentioned earlier, conventional establishments told him his ideas were “too weird” to fund, even though what he proposes is theoretically feasible, and backed by compelling evidence. He suggested the framework for the experiment a year ago, and so far no one has come up with a conclusive reason why it wouldn’t work.
In an inspiring fashion, it was individuals (including some of our readers) rather than corporations or government-funded establishments, who had the balls (and ovaries) to step up when the “authorities” chickened out. When the word spread that Cramer couldn’t conduct his bewildering experiments without costly laser equipment, individuals started chipping in.
That remarkable effort has allowed Cramer to get ready for the “nonlocal quantum communication” portion of his research. The high-tech gadgetry he assembled could end up settling the monumental controversy of whether anything can travel faster than light. If Cramer is right, the phenomenon would have an effect that Albert Einstein found to be unnerving and referred to as “spooky”.
The experiment will involve splitting laser light into two beams, so that characteristics of one beam are reflected in the other beam as well. Basically it’s what physicists refer to as “quantum entanglement”.
When the beams go their separate ways, and you conduct a wave-vs. -particle measurement on one beam, and someone else checks the other beam; the same measurement should yield the same result. In fact, in a sense the wave-vs. -particle toggle can be seen as a means for communicating information.
Now here’s the weird part that Einstein found so spooky: Theoretically, you could check one beam to receive a “message” instantaneously from whoever is manipulating the other beam - even if you're separated from the receiver by millions of light-years.
Such an effect could send information faster than light beams could travel, running counter to special relativity - and thus Einstein thought the effect would be impossible to achieve. But in spite of all doubts, the evidence is mounting that quantum entanglement actually does occur. (Who knows, if Einstein was around today to see the evidence and advancements in quantum physics—he may have changed his mind.)
If he is successful with that portion of the experiment, Cramer will take it even further. He plans to send one of the entangled beams (Signal A) through a circuitous detour (like a few miles of fiber-optic cable) then tinker with the beam when it came out of the cable. If the principles behind nonlocal communication holds true, the evidence of that fiddling should be detected at a corresponding place in the other entangled beam (Signal B).
So here’s the truly mind-blowing aspect of his theory: If Signal B followed a shorter route to its detector, the fiddling in Signal A could theoretically show up in Signal B before Cramer actually tinkers with Signal A. It would be as if Cramer's actions had an effect that worked backward in time.
If Cramer can detect that effect, the discovery would turn the field on it’s head and raise the kinds of paradoxes we’ve only read about in science-fiction novels or seen on episodes of “The Twilight Zone”. For example, what if you detected a signal from the future, but then refused to send the original signal? (That's referred to as the "bilking paradox"). Or what if you received the text of a best-selling manuscript from yourself in the future, published it, and then saved a copy so you could send it to yourself in the past? (Cramer calls that the "immaculate conception paradox.") In spite of these weird paradoxes, Cramer is anxious to find out whether his experiment will work - and if not, why.
While Cramer is grateful for all the donations, he's admittedly "a little uncomfortable" with the spotlight. Usually, physicists work in obscurity, get some funding, conduct an experiment, publish the results, and only then does the publicity come, if the results are interesting.
"We seem to be doing it sort of backwards, in a sense," he has admitted with some concern. Noting the irony in what he has just said. He laughs, "It may be relevant to the experiment we're trying to do."
Posted by Rebecca Sato
Related Galaxy Posts:
TrackBack URL for this entry:
Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Weird Science 2 “The Journey Begins”: Cramer Goes Forward with His Time-Reversal Experiment: