In this Part Two of what is now a four-part article, the main focus is on quantum entanglement – a strange feature of which we have only the wispiest grasp. It will be argued that nature flatly needs it, on grounds of consistency. The notion of holomatter will also be introduced. It will be shown that this “super-matter” sheds new light on the quantum world, one that makes it less… befuddling.
When I felt it was necessary, I took the liberty to coin a few words. Their definitions are given in the Appendix 2A. Also, many footnotes are added to the text. Nearly all of them can be ignored with no adverse effect on the global comprehension.
A reminder of Part One
“Stir-waves” and “stuff-waves”
In Part One, a distinction was made between “stir-waves” or motion waves on the one hand, and “stuff-waves” or substance waves on the other. It was suggested that quantum waves are substance waves, rather than the probability waves they’re often made out to be. Like any wave, they are not static. They need some wiggle room and they cannot be point-like. Accordingly, quantum waves are spread out in space and can be said to be fuzzy. This fuzziness is such that quantum objects, as a rule, obey a principle of superposition when they evolve in their wave-like fashion.
Another important property of the ubiquitous quantum stuff-waves is that they are feelers of their environment. Being outstretched and nonlocal, they sense their environment out and adapt to it, regardless of the distances. They are “remote” feelers and can pull off uncanny feats that raise awkward questions such as: How can a particle possibly “know” when it is and isn’t being watched? How can it anticipate a future change in an experimental setup, and behave accordingly? I’ll tackle these questions in Part Three, when I’ll discuss Wheeler’s and the quantum eraser delayed-choice experiments.
Stir-waves or motion waves are free to interfere with whatever similar waves come their way – sound waves with sound waves, water ripples with overlapping ripples. Their interference is harmless. It never poses any threat to nature’s consistency. However, it is not so with quantum waves qua substance waves. For example, two of them can add up to flat-out nothing by destructive interference. This is naught out of aught! This possibility, highlighted in Part One, is a definite no-no since it goes smack against nature’s consistency. Nature can definitely ill afford to be contradictory and is never so, at least in damaging ways. To steer clear of such a risk, quantum waves come with strings attached. The way they interfere is put in check, as we now find out.
Quantumhood and quantum threats
To nip any contradiction due to interfering quantum waves in the bud, nature relies on its anti-contradiction immunity to control and restrain their interference. It does so through the principle of quantumhood, which rules out any strictly wave-like evolution of an elementary particle that would break it in mutually non-interfering bits. As I explained in my Expanding Matter paper, “The principle of quantumhood is a principle of wholeness that bears on the electron and on any particle more generally. It precludes them, as they move about in their deterministic and wave-like fashion, from being torn into bits that would no longer interfere mutually. This principle is iron-clad.“
So far so good, but there’s a catch, as “wave wholeness” cannot withstand quantum threats. A quantum threat is any situation which, left to its own device, would tear an elementary particle into independent bits. This goes against wave wholeness and against the principle of quantumhood, and is therefore downright impossible. How will nature confront such a threat, then? We know the answer: nature copes by means of a quantum jump. The magic potato of Part One made it plain. The spud was initially threatened in a “fuzzy” state that spread it on both sides, left and right, of the knife. It reacted to the menace of being cut in two chunks by suddenly jumping and shrinking to one side. Smart move! In this “sharp” end state, the knife’s blade couldn’t chop it off. The threat was gone.
This naive example captures an essential truth about quantum jumps. A particle will likewise jump or collapse when facing a quantum threat. Since a quantum threat feeds on some fuzzy state of the particle, the jump or collapse will shrink it abruptly, from its threatened fuzzy state to a threat-free one that will be sharp. We now gather that a quantum jump is a fuzziness-busting and sharpness-yielding event.
A fuzzy state is a superposition – or an array – of sharp and well-defined states, each having a clear-cut value of some attribute, be it its position, momentum, energy, intrinsic spin and whatever else. Because of this, a fuzzy state is actually a superposed state, and is usually called so. The sharp end-state of the jump is always one of these sharp states, selected out of the whole array. A quantum jump, then, abruptly jolts the collapsing object from a fuzzy state to a selected sharp state. This is how it saves the day, as it did for the magic potato. Now, a measurement works (1) by means of a detecting device that (2) creates a quantum threat that (3) prompts a jump or collapse that (4) selects and spawns a unique sharp end-state which, crucially, is unthreatened. This is how we always get a single outcome when we measure an electron, out of the many possibilities encoded in the “fuzzy” initial state of its wave function.
In its narrow sense defined by Niels Bohr in 1913, a quantum jump, or leap, is the abrupt jerk of an electron in an atom, from one orbit (orbital) or energy level to another. Bohr claimed that electrons orbiting an atomic nucleus sometimes jump in discontinuous and random leaps, whose size depends on how many photons are either absorbed or given off in the process, Throughout this article, though, I’ll use the word jump – or leap, or collapse – as an umbrella word. It will be taken in a broad sense. It will be ascribed, somewhat abstractly, to all the wave-less nonunitary evolutions, or rather wave-less nonunitary events, that crop up in the quantum world.