Scientists Have Reversed the Arrow of Time in Quantum Experiment
Scientists have reversed the arrow of time using a quantum computer, by reassembling electrons into an original state. And though they’re hesitant to describe their findings as having any implications for time travel, researchers said they believe their simulation has defied the second law of thermodynamics.
The second law of thermodynamics essentially defines time for us, in the sense that as the arrow of time moves forward, the entropy of an isolated system only increases and can never decrease – it’s why we get older and have finite life spans, or why your coffee eventually gets cold.
But physicists at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology say they believe they’ve been able to violate this principle, in theory.
“We have artificially created a state that evolves in a direction opposite to that of the thermodynamic arrow of time,” head of the study, Dr. Gordey Lesovik, said.
By simulating the wave function of a particle spreading out over time, the scientists created an algorithm to reverse that wave, much like reversing the ripples in a pond after dropping a pebble into it.
But as more particles were added to the system, the physicists said the likelihood of restoring order from chaos occurred less frequently, meaning any system that utilizes their method would require a high level of control, like a quantum computer. When two qubits (quantum particles) were used, scientists were able to reverse entropy 85 percent of the time, but with a third qubit only 50 percent of the time.
Researchers involved in the study compared their test to the possibility of striking a rack of pool balls and having it return to its precisely arranged triangular formation, something seemingly impossible in our everyday reality, but now entirely possible in quantum physics.
So, does this mean we might be able to someday go back in time by traveling through the quantum realm?
Unfortunately, that answer seem to be no. When it comes to future practicality the team says this finding would likely be applied to quantum computers to eliminate noise and error. So, not quite time travel, but faster computers – guess it could be worse.
But if they were able to simulate this with quantum physics, doesn’t that mean time reversal is somehow possible, whether it agrees with traditional physics or not? Yes, in fact much of quantum physics is wildly contradictory to physics, and though we’re able to observe these paradoxical behaviors in the universe, not even the most brilliant physicists are able to fully comprehend this disparity or find a unifying theory.
Earth's Magnetic Field is Shifting and Geologists Don't Know Why
Something strange is happening with the Earth’s magnetic field and scientists are unsure why, according to a recent paper published in the journal Nature. A consortium of geologists in charge of the World Magnetic Model is having trouble keeping track of the planet’s magnetic north pole as it rapidly shifts from Canada to Northern Siberia.
Scientists updated Earth’s magnetic model in 2015, which is used for some pretty important things, including shipping navigation and GPS on smartphones. Their model was intended to last for at least five years, but due to the recent unexpected swing, it became outdated at some point in early 2018 and is now in need of adjustment.
“The error is increasing all the time,” said Arnaud Chulliat, a geomagnetist at the University of Colorado Boulder and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Information.
Scientists say this shift is being driven by liquid iron sloshing around in the planet’s core, a natural process, but one that can vary as the flow changes. Over the past 20 million years, Earth’s magnetic field has consistently experienced a complete pole reversal – usually every 200-300,000 years.
At the moment, we’re long overdue for one of these events, with the last reversal having occurred 781,000 years ago. No one is quite sure what the consequences will be on modern infrastructure when and if that reversal happens. Many take ease in the fact that pole reversals have occurred hundreds of times in the planet’s history without catastrophe, but again, the effect on modern technology remains unknown.
Some scientists have pointed to this shift as a potential culprit in a slew of recent dolphin and whale beachings as well as other unexpected animal die-offs. It’s believed the planet’s natural magnetic field is necessary to some of these animals’ navigation when traveling and communicating over great distances underwater. One NASA scientist is currently looking into this potential connection.
In 2016, a larger-than-usual magnetic pulse shot up from South America, which scientists believe played a role in furthering the recent shift. However, they’re still unsure whether it will continue on this course, or even what will happen at all.
Could we be on the precipice of a massive geomagnetic reversal, or is this just due to slightly-more-anomalous-than-usual activity in the Earth’s core? And what’s even more pressing – what kind of effects is this having on us?
For more on our brain’s relationship with Earth’s magnetic field, check out this Gaia Original short: