In the beat of a heart…

April 13th, 2016

A hummingbird shaped spacecraft skimming across a ring system, somewhere in deep space ...

Steven Hawking has just called for humanity to mount a series of missions with tiny craft to Alpha Centauri. In looking around, I have realised that I wrote but never posted this article, last December. Silly me.

A hummingbird’s heart beats 1,260 times every minute. To a human ear, this would register as a high hum; no individual beats perceptible. However, in that infinitesimally short period of time, a particle of light, or a radio wave, would travel 238,000 km.

Perception, distance, and light speed are of fundamental concern of Dr Ronald Hanson, Professor at Delft University of Technology. He works in quantum physics, that branch of science which Einstein famously described as “spooky”. Quantum physicists like perplexing us with weird facts of nature, like particles that don’t appear in one place or another until you actually look at them.

Hansen leads a team that has just demonstrated, for the first time, the principle of quantum entanglement. Read the rest of this entry »