Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Has ScienceDaily failed me?

Like many people I have occasionally tried to get my head around some of the concepts in quantum mechanics, sure it hurts my head, but you don't half feel clever if it works. Heisenberg's uncertainty principle? No problem! Schroedinger's cat? Fed him earlier. Quantum entanglement? What?

Quantum entanglement is one of those concepts which makes my head spin -  the idea that two particles which were once connected can only be fully described if both particles are mentioned seems simple enough, but then things start getting trickier to grasp. As observable states are indeterminate until a measurement is made, quantum entanglement ensures that the two particles will correlate in what is being measured (as opposed to obeying simply probabilities such as a 50/50 chance when there are two options). Where things really get mind boggling is that this implies that when one particle is measured the state of the second is known, even if they are separated by unimaginable distances. This requires the effect of entanglement to occur faster than the speed of light. Crazy huh?

Whilst browsing ScienceDaily I noticed this article, titled Quantum Entanglement in Photosynthesis and Evolution. Naturally it piqued my interest; I wanted to know how quantum entanglement could apply to evolution, whilst also raising the possibility that connecting it to evolution would help me understand it better. The short article does not mention evolution anywhere. It is interesting enough on its own, but not what the title promised. Shame. I wanted to broaden my mind. Instead, I leave you with this amusing cartoon:

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