We live in a world in which our perceptions are based on our physical senses and the knowledge we gain through them. Our senses can react only to a limited number of inputs. For example, the human eyes cannot see through objects, but it is possible to produce images from the inside of a body with high-frequency sound waves. Actually, similar senses are seen in nature, as in echolocation, as used by bats, whales, and dolphins. Why is this sense not innate in humans? Are there senses that we have but not aware of yet, such as telepathy? Let's explore the world of telepathy with a great mystery, the concept of entanglement in quantum physics.
Quantum entanglement is an interesting phenomenon. Two or more quantum particles can be linked together in a special way; this makes them behave like one entity. A change in one of the constituent particles can instantly be observed in the other, independent of the distance between the particles. This phenomenon was called "entanglement" by the Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger. The basics of quantum entanglement (1) and quantum computers (2) are discussed in recent articles in The Fountain magazine. Some physicists (3, 4, 5) explain this phenomenon by suggesting that the two entangled particles are actually a single particle that can be observed from two different locations in the universe at the same time point, as if they have been created to appear as a pair. At the quantum level, the definitions of space and time become obscure. An atom can be in two distant locations at the same time, but this may not be the case for a paper clip. What about dozens or thousands of atoms? Where is the line between atoms and a paper clip?
Entanglement has already been experimented on atoms (6) and observed in biological systems at room temperatures. A recent study (7) found the first evidence of biological organisms showing strange quantum behaviors. Researchers from UC Berkeley believe that they have observed quantum entanglement occurring in photosynthesis. The possibility of using these molecules for quantum information processing at room temperature may open the doors for photosynthetic quantum computers. This finding could lead to solar cells that are more efficient than today's photovoltaic cells.
Quantum entanglement has many areas of application, including secure encryption (8), ultra-fast quantum computers (9), ghost imaging (10), teleportation (11), and perhaps the most interesting one, telepathy (12). Telepathy is described as the transfer of thought or feeling from one person to another without using known channels of communication. Fredric W. H. Myers, founder of the Society for Psychical Research, coined the term, telepathy, in 1882 to replace the earlier expression thought-transference. Telepathy is one of the main branches of parapsychological research, and has been studied to try to detect, understand, and utilize phenomena (13). It is often accepted that there is a connection between telepathy and other paranormal phenomena, such as precognition, clairvoyance and empathy. The existence of telepathy has been confirmed through many scientific experiments (12). However there is no accepted mechanism that explains how telepathy works. It remains controversial and is not widely accepted by scientists.
It is always appealing to perceive a phenomenon as happening from nothing or without a cause, as often happens in movies or dreams. But is this realistic? There are many mechanisms, structures, and reactions we can observe in nature which cannot be understood with our current knowledge. One can quickly make a list of things that cannot be explained by science today. It is believed that there is a cause and effect relation, and a reasonable explanation for everything in this universe. Some will push this further to offer an incredible prize for an opposite claim. The JREF (James Randi Educational Foundation) has offered a one-million-dollar prize (14) to the person who can show (under proper experimental conditions) evidence of any paranormal or supernatural event. They will remove telepathy from the list of supernatural events if it can be achieved during a controlled experiment.
Some researchers claim that there is a connection between quantum theory and telepathy. One theory is that the human mind has abilities that influence and receive "quantum fluctuations" from other minds. Another theory explains this instantaneous communication with quantum entanglement. Gao Shen, at the Institute of Quantum Physics in Beijing, China, has conducted experiments (12) to understand this connection by monitoring synchronous EEG patterns between two hypothetically "entangled" minds.
There are many natural events in our daily life that might seem like telepathy. You might hear something from one of your friends or relatives, for example, that they can perceive a phenomenon like an injury or illness to a close person from a distance. Many people claim that they have this kind of experience, especially twins with one another, or mothers and children. Are all these people in close relationships-twins, couples, siblings, parent and child-also sharing quantum entangled particles?
Humans are not the only subjects that show telepathic properties. It has reported (15) that intact double-stranded DNA has an ability to recognize similarities in other DNA strands. This recognition occurs between sequences of several hundred nucleotides without physical contact or the presence of proteins. The way they identify one another and combine chemically is not fully understood. This behavior can be observed in water that contains no proteins or other material that could interfere with the reaction. There needs to be some sort of communication, attraction or guidance between individual DNA strands to explain this behavior. Do these DNA strands communicate through entangled particles?
Could this telepathic behavior of DNA be the explanation of the power of extra sensory perception between people close to each other? Are we all entangled with one another with invisible bonds, existing since the time of Adam and Eve? Is it all because of the genetic inheritance in our DNA? Do our actions affect others, even if we have no direct connection or relation to them? Maybe all the living things and our lives in this universe are a part of a single mechanism, guided and connected in a special way we cannot understand with our current scientific knowledge.
Einstein pointed (16) out the illusion of separateness: "A human being is part of the whole, called by us 'Universe'; a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as someone separated from the rest'a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."
All these intriguing features of the quantum world can promise new ways of communication, including telepathy. Recent developments in quantum physics, observing entanglement in atoms and biological systems, mysterious communication between DNA strands, and telepathic connection between humans are all pieces of an unsolved puzzle. When we think about how we perceive this world with our known physical senses, and how it might be with other unknown perspectives, we can then wonder what percentage of things in our universe we have not been able to see or know. There is a long way to go before understanding the universe with our limited perspectives and physical senses.
Acknowledgment: This article was produced in MERGEOUS (17), an online article and project development service for authors and publishers dedicated to the advancement of technologies in the merging realm of science and religion.
(1) S. Candaroglu, "Quantum Entanglement: Illusion or Reality?". Fountain, Issue 61 January - February, 2008.
(2) O. D. Ikramoglu, "Quantum-Inspired World of Computers: Science or Fiction?". Fountain, Issue 74, March - April, 2010.
(3) M. A. Nielsen and I. L. Chuang, Quantum Information and Quantum Computing (Cambridge U. Press, 2000).
(4) Ryszard Horodecki, Pawe Horodecki, Micha Horodecki, Karol Horodecki, Rev. Mod. Phys. 81, 865-942 (2009).
(5) M. Genovese, Cosmology and entanglement, Adv. Sci. Lett. 2, 303-309 (2009).
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(7) M. Sarovar, A. Ishizaki, G. R. Fleming, K. B. Whaley, "Quantum entanglement in photosynthetic light harvesting complexes". arXiv:0905.3787v1 (quant-ph), 2009.
(8) H. K. Lo, and N. Lutkenhaus, "Quantum Cryptography: from Theory to Practice". arXiv:quantph/0702202, 2007.
(9) D. P. DiVincenzo, "Quantum Computation". Science, 270, 5234, 255-261. doi:10.1126/science.270.5234.255, 1995.
(10) M. D'Angelo, Y.H. Kim, S.P. Kulik, Y. Shih, "Identifying entanglement using quantum ghost interference and imaging", Physical review letters, 2004.
(11) D. Bouwmeester, J.W. Pan, K. Mattle, M. Eibl, H. Weinfurter, A. Zeilinger, "Experimental Quantum Teleportation". Nature, 390, 6660, 575-579, 1997.
(12) S. Gao, "A Primary Quantum Model of Telepathy". 2003. (Preprint)
(13) Wikipedia, Telepathy, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telepathy.
(14) James Randi Educational Foundation, "One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge", Available online http://www.randi.org/research/index.html
(15) G. S. Baldwin, N. J. Brooks, R. E. Robson, A. Wynveen, A. Goldar, S. Leikin, J. M. Seddon, and A. A. Kornyshev, "DNA Double Helices Recognize Mutual Sequence Homology in a Protein Free Environment". The Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 112, 4, 1060-1064, 2008.
(16) Elise's collection of favorite quotes, http://elise.com/quotes/
(17) Mergeous, Online article and project development service, http://www.mergeous.com/