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Physics/Entangled Particles

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Question
Just watched a show on tv " Quantum Secrets" very interesting but I can't fully grasp the Spooky Action bit.If somebody has a box with a pair of shoes inside and then another person removes one shoe and puts it in another room and I open the original box and see a left hand shoe, I know the removed shoe must be a Right hand one.   How does the entangled particle system differ  Aren't the particles defined at the time of generation?

Answer
The orthodox opinion of researchers in that field is that no, the particles become fixed upon observation.  You're not alone in being unable to wrap your head around the "spooky" part, because the way that particles behave when entangled on the quantum level entirely defies our everyday thinking. When we deal with large masses of ridiculous numbers of particles, giving rise to large numbers of interactions that collapse wavefunctions, we never observe such quantum effects.  However, quantum information teleportation experiments and Bell's theorem (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell%27s_theorem) appear to be definitively on the side of the fact that quantum objects exist in a combination of multiple states, being fixed into one or another only when observed.  The observation itself fixes the system, which can then be measured in its corresponding pair.  A pair of shoes is a fixed, macroscopic thing.  A pair of entangled quantum particles is not.

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Dr. Stephen O. Nelson

Expertise

I can answer most basic physics questions, physics questions about science fiction and everyday observations of physics, etc. I'm also usually good for science fair advice (I'm the regional science fair director). I do not answer homework problems. I will occasionally point out where a homework solution went wrong, though. I'm usually good at explaining odd observations that seem counterintuitive, energy science, nuclear physics, nuclear astrophysics, and alternative theories of physics are my specialties.

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I was a physics professor at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, research in nuclear technology and nuclear astrophysics. My travelling science show saw over 20,000 students of all ages. I taught physics, nuclear chemistry, radiation safety, vacuum technology, and answer tons of questions as I tour schools encouraging students to consider careers in science. I moved on to a non-academic job with more research just recently.

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Ph. D. from Duke University in physics, research in nuclear astrophysics reactions, gamma-ray astronomy technology, and advanced nuclear reactors.

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