Our "local realistic" view of the world assumes that phenomena
are separated by time and space and that no influence can travel faster
than the speed of light. Quantum nonlocality proves that these assumptions
are incorrect, and that there is a principle of holistic interconnectedness
operating at the quantum level which contradicts the localistic assumptions
of classical, Newtonian physics.
The Hows and Whys of Nonlocality
At the quantum level, "particles" do not possess definite, deterministic qualities until they are measured:
Despite the fact that the quality of particles is indeterminite until a measurement is made, any two photons or electrons that originate from a common source will possess a total spin of zero once they are measured. Thus:
In other words,
The Phenomenon of Quantum Nonlocality
Because the spin of a particle does not exist until a measurement is made, the act of making the measurement and determining the axis of spin of particle 1, will also determine the spin of particle 2, no matter how far apart it is from particle 1. Particle 2 will instantly respond to the state of particle 1, even if it is on the other side of the universe.
Quantum nonlocality as suggested by Bell's theorem is a fact of nature
that has now been experimentally verified on many occasions. Alain Aspect's
experiments in 1982 at the University of Paris-South proved the existence
of quantum nonlocality. These experiments have been refined and repeated
many times since.
The Implications of Quantum Nonlocality
At the quantum level, instantaneous actions occur at a distance. Two particles that are part of a single system continue to act in concert with one another no matter how far apart they appear to be separated by spacetime.
Quantum nonlocality proves that "particles that were once together in an interaction remain in some sense parts of a single system which responds together to further interactions" (Gribbin, 1984). Since the entire universe originated in a flash of light known as the Big Bang, the existence of quantum nonlocality points toward a profound cosmological holism and suggests that
Further Questions and Observations
Of similar interest in this argument is the existance of Zero Point Energy.
Zero Point Energy
If all the air molecules are pumped out of a chamber, the chamber still contains residual radiation (electromagnetic noise from stars, x-rays, and heat radiation). Even before quantum mechanics, it was shown by classical radiation theory that if the temperature of the container is lowered to absolute zero, there remains a residual amount of thermal energy that can not by any means be removed. This residual energy in an empty container at absolute zero, was named "zero-point energy."
Suddenly the once-empty vacuum was seen as a seething sea of potential energy. Physicist Dr. Hal E. Putoff, notes that the "vacuum" is a vast reservoir of seething energy out of which particles are being formed and annihilated constantly. The energy potentials in the vacuum are staggering, but most of the time the forces involved, balance each other out to zero.
Putoff says Zero Point energy
is the energy of empty space. There were arguments starting way back at the time of the Greeks about whether space is really empty or isn't it. Democritus thought that it was empty and that is how you have room for the atoms to bump around. You had Aristotle coming along saying no, I think space is full of something because we have waves of heat energy and they must travel in something. That argument went back and forth but finally when quantum theory was developed, it became absolutely clear that space, if you look at in a microscopic scale, is more like the base of a waterfall with a lot of frothy, seething activity going on, rather than just something like a placid, empty space. In fact John Wheeler likes to point out that in the volume of a coffee cup, for example, in empty space, there is enough energy to evaporate all of the world's oceans. This is, by the way, not a fringe concept. It is a basic underlying concept in modern quantum theory.
When the idea of the hydrogen atom was first put forward in the form that you often see it on textbook covers, where it looks like a tiny little solar system with the electron planet circling the nuclear sun, one of the questions at the time was: why doesn't the electron simply radiate its energy away and spiral into the nucleus, in a way similar to the way our satellites have certain losses and spiral into the planet? At the time, the answer was simply, well it is just the magic of quantum theory, it doesn't obey classical rules, and for some reason hydrogen atoms are like little perpetual motion machines. But in fact, from the standpoint of the zero point energy approach, we now recognize - and the calculation has been done, in fact I published on it myself - we show that indeed you expect an electron in a hydrogen atom to radiate its energy away, but it picks up energy from the background zero point energy and therefore is sustained by it. What that means in terms of physics is that it shows why atoms can be seen as perpetual motion machines, it is just that they always have an energy input from the background to make up for the losses.
Related pages (not yet available)
Books and articles that discuss nonlocality and its implications
Fritjof Capra. The Turning Point. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1982.