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.
Defying Physics by Breaking the Laws of Thermodynamics
As modern and rational beings, we have come to rely on certain irrefutable natural laws. The sun rises and sets. The planet rotates around the sun. Out of all of these, the laws of physics and thermodynamics, a branch of physics, have defined humans’ relationship to heat, temperature, energy, work, radiation, and matter. But what happens when the laws of physics are defied? Such may be the case with instances in which scientists claim to have broken the laws of thermodynamics.
But before we dive into these cases, it’s important to understand the actual laws, so we can better understand the ways in which they might be broken.