The Nature of Consciousness

Piero Scaruffi

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These are excerpts and elaborations from my book "The Nature of Consciousness"

Superconductivity and Entanglement

For many centuries it was assumed that matter could only assume three states: gas, liquid and solid.  It was well known that the same matter can undergo a “phase transition”: for example, water can turn into vapor or ice. In 1911 the Dutch physicist Heike Kamerlingh Onnes discovered superconductivity: when certain materials are cooled to temperatures close to absolute zero, they exhibit no electrical resistance, i.e. they transition into the superconducting state. Since then it has become obvious that matter can exist in other forms than the three classical ones.

In 1925 Albert Einstein and the Indian physicist Satyendranath Bose discovered that bosons, at similarly extremely low temperature, can form a Bose-Einstein condensate, a superfluid that exhibits the bizarre properties of Quantum Mechanics at a macroscopic level (those properties are usually only experienced at very microscopic levels).

It turns out that the electrons of superconductors do not obey the Pauli principle (according to which there can never be two fermions in the same state at the same time).

In 1957 John Bardeen, Leon Neil Cooper, and John Robert Schrieffer in the USA understood that the electrons of superconductors, instead,  bind into pairs, each pair behaving like a boson. All these electron pairs condense in the exact same state of very low energy, just like a Bose-Einstein condensate.

For several decades the only superconductors were achieved at extremely low temperatures, near absolute zero. In 1986 the Swiss physicist Karl Müller and the German physicist Johannes Bednorz discovered the first high-temperature superconductor. This challenged the original explanation of how and why superconductors form.

The explanation goes back to 1935, when Albert Einstein, Boris Podolsky and Nathan Rosen famously argued against Quantum Mechanics with an apparent paradox (the “EPR paradox”): according to the equations of Quantum Mechanics, if two particles are ever entangled in a “wave”, they will always be, i.e. a change in one of the particles will have an immediate effect on the state of the other particle no matter how far apart they have moved in the interval, thus defying the limit that messages can be broadcast in this universe (the speed of light).  The Indian physicist Subir Sachdev (“Quantum Criticality“, 2011) explained that near a “quantum-critical point” this process of entanglement   creates even more than pairs of electrons: it creates entire populations of entangled electrons that violate the Pauli principle. The electrons can no longer be studied as independent particles.

Mathematically, Brian Swingle has shown that higher-degree entanglement behaves just like  distance in space: the degree of entanglement is de facto a distance through an extra spatial dimension.


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