Science: Physics
Wave Function Traveling Faster Than Speed of Light   (+2)  [vote for, against]

If wave function travels faster than speed of light, it explains weird things like:

- Double slit experiment

- Entanglement

- Quantum eraser

In other words wave function travels at infinite speed to everywhere, and then just sits there ready to be collapsed. But the collapse itself happens at the speed of light.

In yet other words: Wave function matrix spreads out through the cosmos at infinite speed but the probabilities travel, evolve, and shape that that matrix do so at speed of light until it collapses.

I know nothing travels faster than speed of light. But considering the alternative bizarre explanations, why couldn't we accept that wave functions do in-fact travel faster than speed of light?

We can't measure the wave functions to confirm. And perhaps we never will, but using this concept to explain what's going on makes it easier to wrap your head around quantum physics without going nuts.
-- ixnaum, Oct 06 2016

Block time point of view https://en.wikipedi...philosophy_of_time)
Space-time as an unchanging four-dimensional "block" as opposed to the view of the world as a three-dimensional space modulated by the passage of time [bhumphrys, Oct 07 2016]

Nick herebrt published 14 things that travel faster than light, this is not that list, it is a similar list http://math.ucr.edu...eedOfLight/FTL.html
[beanangel, Oct 13 2016]

Nick Herberts faster than light writing, featuring yuri. https://www.google....t+faster+than+light
[beanangel, Oct 13 2016]

FTL is not needed to explain the double-slit experiment; virtual particles can explain it just fine.

So far as I know, entanglement is a slower-than light event, but the resolution of the tangle (collapse of the wave function) is FTL. That is, measuring one part of an entangled particle-pair automatically/instantly tells you what value the other part has --at the same moment-- no matter how far away it is, and how long it took to get there travelling slower-than-light.

I'm not familiar with the quantum eraser as I write this, so can't comment on that until after I study it.
-- Vernon, Oct 06 2016

later, i will explain how to verify this. ok, i will do it now.

Cerenkov radiation (wikipedia) is the blue glow at reactor water when neutrinos travel faster than light through water. so you could test the collapse of the wave functions velocity if you double slit some cerenkov radiation and see if it has fasterocity than double slit lasers through the reactor water. through cleverness if they are simultaneous, then they are truly instantaneous. If there is a delay, favoring either, then neutrino wave functions collapse at a different velocity than photon velocities, possibly.
-- beanangel, Oct 06 2016

Nothing does travel faster than the speed of light, if you consider empty space to be nothing. It can move at any speed.

I've not yet had my quantum mechanical overhaul, so I'm kinda clueless when it comes to this stuff, but doesn't the wave function express a probability cloud? And measuring collapses the wave, meaning that there's no longer a cloud, but a certainty, so the particle isn't really everywhere, it just could be.

I also wonder about quantum entanglement. Isn't measuring something here, telling you it has a complementary state over there, with no way to actually transmit data?

Weird shit indeed.
-- TIB, Oct 07 2016

My pet theory that I don't know the math to properly express is that the universe actually already contains everything that ever has or will have happened in a steady state. Thus the speed of light is merely the speed we perceive propagation of its algorithms. The passing of time isn't a function of entropy but of C directly, and entropy also happens at that speed. This explains all quantum weirdness. I would appreciate being spoon-fed the math that would express this, or told why it's bollocks.
-- Voice, Oct 07 2016

Things can travel faster than light. Here's a thought experiment: imagine a perfectly straight wave at sea, approaching a straight sea wall. If the wave and wall are parallel, the wave hits the wall all at once, all along the wall. If the wave and wall are not quite parallel then the point of impact between the wave and wall moves along the wall very fast - if the angle between the two is sufficiently narrow, this point of impact moves faster than light. The crucial thing though is that this moving point of impact carries no information - information cannot travel faster than light.
-- hippo, Oct 07 2016

Voice: it's bollocks, because you made it up, don't know the math, and the math is probably weirder than your theory.
-- RayfordSteele, Oct 07 2016

(marked-for-tagline)

"can't comment on that until after I study it"
-- normzone, Oct 07 2016

[Voice] you may be referring to a 'block time' view of the universe? (Link)
-- bhumphrys, Oct 07 2016

[TIB] Nothing is nothing. It can't move. Other stuff has to move to alter the nothing.

[hippo] I'm feeling there is a bent reference frame, something a magician would use, in the thought experiment. If the wave is perpendicular it travels as fast as the wave, if parallel instanteous and a f(angle,wave) inbetween. It seems a sort of virtual finishing line. No action actually travelling the line.
-- wjt, Oct 08 2016

[wjt] Is empty space nothing or something? My point was that empty space is something, with measurable energy, and it can move faster than light, as it looks to have in our early universe, perhaps also at one of the edges of our universe -- a black hole. That's my understanding of it anyway but maybe I'm dead wrong (remember, I'm no quantum mechanic).
-- TIB, Oct 09 2016

What is moving in the wave example is the point of interaction of two things. Like the laser pointer swept across the moon: the point of interaction of photon and moon is what is changing. The point of interaction has characteristics different from either thing prior to interaction, and which are consistent from event to event and also continuous and so this interaction meets the human brain's criteria for "thing" even though the interaction is not a thing.
-- bungston, Oct 09 2016

[bungston] - exactly, the point of interaction between the wave and the wall might move faster than light but it's only seen as a 'thing' because that's just how we think about it, and, it can't hold or transmit any information (from one end of the wall to the other faster than light.
-- hippo, Oct 10 2016

//I know nothing travels faster than speed of light.//

Light travels faster than the speed of light. C is an average. Sometimes light travels faster, sometimes slower.
-- DrBob, Oct 10 2016

Also, of course, Cherenkov radiation: The reason why pools of water in nuclear reactors glow blue is because of Cherenkov radiation, caused by particles travelling through the water faster than the speed of light (in water).
-- hippo, Oct 10 2016

Here is a fun cerenkov invention. Noting that galaxies are made of matter, is there a zigzag path through galaxies that neutrinos could travel along (cerenkov like) faster than light (through/near matter) among the same galaxies, because on average the neutrinos would be passing through a matter vacuum mix. That could make a FTL internet sagitally (sideways) along galaxies, as compared with a photonic one
-- beanangel, Oct 10 2016

[TIB] What I don't like is the bending of the 'nothing' definition. Say empty space rather than nothing, especially if it contains energy. Energy or information is definitely not nothing.

[bungston] A nice example is Wallace and Gromit stop motion animation.
-- wjt, Oct 11 2016

[wjt] I did.

I said if empty space equals nothing then nothing can travel faster than light. There isn't anywhere we know of with actual nothing, so we're bending the definition of nothing to begin with since there's nothing of that nature that exists. There's only nothing but something, meaning that nothing travels faster than light, which is really something.
-- TIB, Oct 11 2016

Arguably, if space is quantised (at a subatomic level) then objects don't move smoothly through space but instead jump, instantaneously from one point to another faster than light.
-- hippo, Oct 11 2016

[hippo] I've often wondered if that also happens when electrons jump shells. They don't move as I understand it, but tunnel (teleport? but through what?), instantly. Related, I wonder where photons are born at this moment of teleporting.
-- TIB, Oct 11 2016

Although I think at that scale, describing subatomic particles as 'particles' or 'waves' are only us imposing macro-scale models on these phenomena. So, describing a photon as a 'particle' may have some utility and predictive power but at other times it may make sense to describe it as a 'wave' - neither reflects the reality but they are useful models. So it may be that when we think of electrons jumping shells, neither model is especially good.
-- hippo, Oct 12 2016

[TIB] If empty space has nothing then light itself is the something. Empty space would both be nothing and something simultaneously which in it's lowest terms is still something.

I still hold to the definition of nothing. It can't be divided, blurred or warped in anyway because it's just nothing. A starting definition. Then comes the whole can of worms, something. Likewise with absolute time. It can't be clocked of course but virtually the mark can be imagined as the same all throughout existence.
-- wjt, Oct 12 2016

How about a theory where spacetime, rather than just particles, is quantized?

When you create an entangled pair, spacetime also becomes part of the quantum state; and therefore only integer quantities of spacetime can happen between the two particles.

Therefore, although we might think the two particles are far apart and that their quantum states are mutually dependent with zero time-lag, in actuality the two particles are zero distance (ie, less than one quantum, which is zero quanta) apart.

Please mail the Nobel to my secretary, who deals with such things.
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 12 2016

[Max] So spacetime entanglement is a whole starchy sticky blob of rice.
-- wjt, Oct 13 2016

Entanglement makes it more likely to be noodles, rather than rice
-- hippo, Oct 13 2016

//So spacetime entanglement is a whole starchy sticky blob of rice//

So, potentially a good basis for sushi.

But seriously - Einstein got where he did* by assuming that the speed of light was constant, and then figuring out what that meant for spacetime. If two particles interact "instaneously", then clearly the distance between them must be zero; so what happens if we take that zero distance as being real, and build everything else around that?

(*Famous, I mean, rather than dead.)
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 13 2016

About the double slit experiment for electron diffraction, what are the slits made from. If atoms, the slits are made from electrons which are each a point distributed according to a probability function so is this meshing of probability functions just another way of describing a starchy blob of rice sticking to another blob?
-- bhumphrys, Oct 13 2016

Hang on another mo.

So these entangled particles interact "instantaneously". Therefore the distance between them must be zero.

Therefore, obvidently, what's _actually_ happening is that a wormhole is opening up between the entangled particles, so that the distance between them can remain zero (in higher dimensions) even though the distance between them in our three dimensions appears large.

Ergo, all pairs of entangled particles must lie at opposite ends of a nano-wormhole.

D'you know, this would be earth-shattering physics if I actually understood myself.
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 13 2016

I have just invented the double slit toaster to take full advantage of a well known property of quantum mechanics. Here's how it works: one slice of toast enters at the front end and is confronted by a double slit. To resolve this dilemma, two slices of toast emerge at the other end, and probably find two cups of coffee waiting to join them. I see nothing to complain about in this arrangement.
-- xenzag, Oct 13 2016

Nick herebert writes about how the ripply parts of an EM wave travel at the y axis to the x direction of a radio wave and that they UpandDown faster than the propagation direction, which with radio waves is lightspeed. So this well known phenomena causes FTL UpDown ripples. The thing is getting them to transmit information. Herbert writes about "Yuri" getting a message, I have wondered if it possible to use the big endian or little endian effects of a ~~~~ to do dit-dah like morese code, utilize 8 of these at parallel to send computer data
-- beanangel, Oct 13 2016

[beanangel] The ripple is probably what hippo was mentioning.

[MaxwellBuchanan] Energy is just change, in my belief system. Any change of something needs nothing, which most people would call space. So I think energy is spacetime but looking from the nothing perspective rather than the something perspective. A worm hole could be fully solid or a chain of nothing, either way change could flow.

<thinking internally> maybe an electron needs it's wave function to hang onto some nothing </thinking internally>
-- wjt, Oct 14 2016

[wjt] That is brilliant. What does it mean?
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 14 2016

//So these entangled particles interact "instantaneously". Therefore the distance between them must be zero.

Makes sense to me. The only reason why we can't wrap our head around this extra dimension is that our perceptions have evolved to deal with 4D information (time, x , y , z). If we could sense the quantum dimension I bet we would "see" the two entangled particles right "beside" each other. The universe may be smaller than we thought.
-- ixnaum, Oct 15 2016

[Max] It means we all have the desire to imagine where all those turtles are and what they up to. Of course it has to be matched against all the measurements that come from all the stick poking.

[ixnaum] A sense of the quantum dimension(s) is just knowing what a quantum environment is like to be in. Another spacial dimension would make the Universe a much bigger place than it already is.
-- wjt, Oct 15 2016

//where all those turtles are//

There is a school of mathematics (called finitism, I believe) that holds that numbers are not infinite, and that there really is a biggest number, after which they wrap around and start again at zero. If this is the case, then the largest turtle can sit on the back of the smallest one, and everything makes sense.
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 15 2016

Thank you [bhumphrys]. Now I'm happy at least someone has made a larger framework for it, disappointed I didn't think of it first, miffed the great mathematicians haven't given it more thought, and upset that philosophers mixed it up with their bullshit about god.
-- Voice, Oct 15 2016

random, halfbakery