Quantum mechanics can be a quite entangling subject. Such is the topic of quantum entanglement. As I was reading Brian Greene’s “The Fabric of the Cosmos” and encountered the idea of locality and nonlocality, I became quite intrigued but yet confused.
Before quantum mechanics was introduced, there was the idea that only objects next to each other, or in the local range of one another, may directly affect the other. This concept was known as “locality” and was widely accepted by physicists. It was during this time that spacetime was believed to be an entity that had the ability to keep objects separate. For example, two birds flying parallel to one another would be considered “separate,” for there is an expanse of air in between them.
However, once quantum theory was introduced, locality was proved to be untrue. Quantum mechanics introduced the idea of nonlocality, one of which allowed individual particles to be entangled with one another, meaning that they would make the same decisions distances apart. It allows it so that particles originating from a single source, then splitting into opposite directions, will be connected to one another on a quantum level, resulting in corresponding actions like a single entity instead of independent entities. A simple example would be one of light particles splitting in different directions from the same point of origin. One particle would fly towards your face, hitting your sunglasses at such an angle that it would cause a glare. Now with the idea of nonlocality, the other particle that sped off in the opposite direction has a probability of performing the EXACT same action, causing a glare off of someone else’s sunglasses.
Now, you may be wondering, “that can’t be!” That was my exact reaction to this confusing principle. However, physicists have been able to test this idea on the atomic level and they found that nonlocality is a very true principle. John Bell wanted to prove this theory as experimental instead of theoretical, and in 1964 he published “Bell’s Theorem,” which proved that the ideas of nonlocality were very real.
In conclusion, it is very possible for particles surrounding you and on the moon to have a quantum “connection” to one another, causing them to lose their individuality and acting as a single entity.
The possibility of teleportation and instantaneous communication was brought up as an idea of the effects of nonlocality; however, before we get to that point, we have no way of determining a particle’s true position and spin due to the uncertainty principle. Although it’s a great idea and possible advancement for the future, there are many obstacles physicists have to face in order to get to that point. Nonlocality is interesting, Einstein didn’t favor it in any way. It took a quite an extensive time for physicists to wrap their head around this concept, but it could be a cause for greater technological findings.