So in this episode we’re going to be trying to get our heads around one of the most extraordinary phenomena ever recorded in subatomic physics: Quantum Entanglement. Famously dismissed by Einstein as ‘Spooky action at a distance’, it has been proved to exist in the lab over and over again since then. This non-local phenomenon is when sub-atomic particles remain connected so that the physical properties of one will affect the other, no matter what the distance is between them. It’s been in the news a lot recently not only because it has been photographed by a team at the University of Glasgow, but also because of a host of successful so called ‘Teleportation’ experiments, in which entanglement has been used to send information instantaneously between two computer chips that have no causal connection between them whatsoever. I believe the implications of this non-local phenomenon are among the most important scientific discoveries of our time, most importantly to update our purely classical ‘cause-and-effect’ understanding of the world. But it also begs the question, through what medium is that information passing between those two entangled particles, if not through Space and over time?


To help us get our heads around this mind-bending reality is theoretical Physicist Dr Chris Fields, an independent scientist interested in both the physics and the cognitive neuroscience underlying that human perception of matter in space and time. 

Chris began his career as an experimental physicist, obtained his Ph.D. in Philosophy of Science at the University of Colorado and was an early developer of automated DNA sequence analysis tools at the Human Genome Project. He has published over 130 peer reviewed papers in nuclear physics, artificial intelligence, molecular biology and cognitive psychology. 



What we discuss in this episode:


00:00 The Human Genome Project

07:00 What is Entanglement?

15:30 “Spooky action at a distance”

16:24 Einstein’s mission to remove non-locality from physics

20:00 Quantum theory challenges all classical intuitions

22:30 Re-think what we mean by locality

22:42 Is the intuition of separability false?

26:24 What Is spin? 

29:12 The difficulty of using classical analogies for quantum concepts

31:06 The difference between quantities and qualities of information

35:00 John Wheeler and the way you ask questions changing the answers you get.

37:00 The interaction of information exchanging systems as a model for panpsychism

41:00 Hiding the distinction between Semantics and Syntax in information theory

43:36 Predictability VS Meaning

44:30 Observation is interaction

47:50 Is objectivity achievable? Intersubjective agreement.

50:00 The disaster of ‘Shut up and calculate’ 

52:00 John Wheeler’s ‘Participatory Universe’ bridging the gap

53:00 Physical systems are question askers and answer receivers

54:00 Was Wheeler a panpsychist? 


Part 2: 

58:00 The implications of Entanglement 

1:02:00 What does it mean to give and receive information to and from the world?

1:10:00 Are the observer and the system they are interacting with not in fact one and the same thing?

1:17:00 La Place: Non-local forces like gravity imply that all the information about the system must be uniformly available to the whole system.

1:23:00 What effect will quantum understanding have on the general world view of society in the future?

1:28 ‘Meditation: If you’re doing it, you’re doing it right’

1:32 Does Meditation lead to a non-separate world view?

1:34 Moving attention and interest away from the self

1:36 Knowing VS being

1:38 Can there be a good science of peak experiences?




The Human Genome Project

The Observer effect (See episode #10 for full explanation)

John Wheeler - the Participatory Universe

Pierre-Simon La Place

‘Meditation if you’re doing it you’re doing it right’ Alison Tinsley and Chris Fields