Light buffet: Entanglement, warp drives, and slower beams

Tom Marcinko @ 14-08-2008

star-gate-openResearchers in Geneva are trying to figure the speed of quantum entanglement, aka “the fact that measuring a property of one particle instantly determines the property of another…” Experiments with photons 18 km apart suggest that entanglement “moves” at least 10,000 times the speed of light. “I think there’s probably much deeper issues,” comments one of their British colleagues. [SciAm]

Meanwhile, to propel your starship by real-life warp drive, two Baylor U. physicists say you can too change the laws of physics. Just bend the space around the ship by recreating conditions that existed when the universe was expanding, and light moved faster than it does today. All we need is 11 dimensions a la string theory, and a mass the size of Jupiter to convert to pure energy. And we thought an invisibility cloak was impressive. [io9; Discovery News; preprint]

Back in this millennium, bulky, expensive, and complicated electronic routers are slowing down the Internet. A possible solution: slow down light itself, through the use of “metamaterials” to do away with all that tedious mucking about during the switching process.

“With these materials, you could imagine something more like a single chip with the metamaterial handling the routing—all the capability of one of these big filtering systems, but the size of your fingernail,” says Dr [Chris] Stevens [of Oxford].

[image: Star Gate by Imbecillsallad]


CERN brings supergrid internet to the world

Tomas Martin @ 09-04-2008

The CMS detector at CERN will process huge volumes of data every secondIn addition to searching for the ‘God’ particle that is the Higgs, CERN have been making a vast ‘supergrid’ to transfer the vast volumes of data created by the LHC supercollider every second to the universities studying it around the world (currently including myself). The sheer amount of data at the LHC – around 15 Petabytes a year – means a whole new system has been made to spread it to other institutions outside of the collider in Switzerland.

The grid still has some issues to work out but is showing signs of real potential to blow the current internet out of commission in a few years. The grid uses fibre-optic connections and high speed routers to transfer data. It could be as much as 10,000 times as fast as current broadband, allowing movie-sized files to transfer in seconds. Of course, this technology is currently only in use in the world of High Energy Particle Physics but, like the World Wide Web before it, what is invented at CERN tends to propagate out to the rest of us before too long.

[via The Times, image via CERN]