Updated: Jul 24
Astrophysics major Arnold woke up that morning, emboldened by an idea that he was convinced would alter the course of human history. He was bent to refute the theory of quantum entanglement.
So he went to his favorite spot on campus to work on his theory. He sat there pondering about the strangeness of the theory and how his equations would find a hole in the well-established theory.
Not long after, his friend Gwen, a biology major, sat with him. It was her favorite campus spot as well.
"Good morning, Arnold," Gwen said with coffee in hand.
Arnold nodded and smiled. "Morning, Gwen! I can't wait to tell you about this thing I learned yesterday in the lab."
"Oh, one of those boring physics problems again?"
"It's not boring," he said." You'll love it."
Gwen shook her head. "Can we talk about genetic manipulation for a change?"
" I'm scared of that stuff," Arnold said.
Gwen did not pursue. "Ok, what's new in physics?"
Arnold stood up full of excitement. "It's called quantum entanglement."
"It's a theory that states that when two particles get entangled even for just a brief period of time, once separated, they would continue to affect each other no matter how great the distance."
"Ok, go on," Gwen said.
"Let's say particle A traveling close to the speed of light gets entangled with an equally fast particle B. Then they swirl around each other like two dancers doing a round of tango. And then after a few seconds, they get separated. Particle A then goes to the moon and particle B goes to the planet Neptune. Now, if an observer goes to the moon to check on particle A and finds that it is spinning left to right, almost immediately, particle B in Neptune will start spinning right to left as if particle A sent a signal to particle B to change directions. The same thing happens the other way around. If the observer goes to Neptune first and finds that particle B is spinning left to right, then particle A in the moon while spin right to left."
Gwen frowned. "That's weird. Are they connected by some energy field?"
"There’s no connection at all.” That strange behavior is what physicists call 'spooky action.' And its true for all particles in the universe."
"Ok, so what is that to you?" Gwen asked.
"I have thought of a theory that will prove that false. I will work on an equation that will reverse that. You see, nature cannot be like that. There is no way particles that get entangled for a few seconds will remain connected and influence each other even when they are light years apart. That's complete baloney!"
"Oh, well, Good luck then," Gwen said.
"Aren't you excited for me?" Arnold asked.
"I am. But I'm also excited for Sydney, Australia"
Arnold was taken a back. "What's in Sydney?"
"I'm moving there next week," Gwen said.
"Really? That's on the other side of the planet. What are you gonna do there?" Arnold asked with a slight tremble in his voice.
"I got accepted in their amazing exchange program and I'll be there for two years," Gwen said.
"How come you didn't tell me this?" Arnold asked.
"Well, my application just got approved this morning and I didn't want to tell you anything before for fear that I might not get it."
"Ok," Arnold said with a little hesitation."Congratulations then."
The following week, Arnold sat on his favorite spot on campus to continue work on his theory. But things were different. Gwen left earlier for Sydney and he was alone. He didn't mind it first but soon he started to feel strange. Somehow he was expecting to see Gwen to sit next to him anytime then but nothing happened. He put his pen down and closed his notebook and for the first time felt sad.
He remembered the first time he met Gwen right on that spot three weeks ago. She was sitting eating lunch when he asked if could sit in since all the spots were taken. She welcomed him and immediately struck a conversation. Since then they came regular lunch mates and became friends. But then she was gone.
Five months later, he was still thinking of Gwen. He couldn't understand his feelings. They were not in a relationship and they were only friends for a few weeks yet she seemed to have left a gaping hole in his heart. He misses her.
One day he got email from Gwen. His heart pounded.
It's Gwen. Just saying hello.
I am ok here in Sydney. I hugged a Koala the other day :)
While things are great here so far, I've been thinking a lot about you lately.
I don't totally understand why, but I miss you.
I told my classmates here about this and they were also surprised that I feel the way I do considering that we spent little time together.
Hope to hear from you soon.
Arnold sat still. His mind raced, his palms started to get sweaty. He didn't want to admit it but he knew the very theory he wanted to disprove was untouchable. He shook his head.
"We're entangled," he thought.