Entanglement and decoherence: middle-brow treatment?

In summary, the conversation discussed an article in Scientific American by Vlatko Vedral about entanglement and decoherence in quantum mechanics. The article was criticized for being too simplistic and lacking in depth, and the conversation turned towards finding other sources for a more middle-brow level of discussion on the topic. The article also mentioned previous work by Aeppli and Ritz and Vedral's interpretation of entanglement in biological systems. However, the conversation noted that there is not much evidence to support this idea and that the article may have been sensationalized.
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bcrowell
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I'm a physicist, but I'm not a specialist in the foundations of quantum mechanics. This month's Scientific American has an article by Vlatko Vedral about entanglement and decoherence.

Paywalled article, with a brief summary: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=living-in-a-quantum-world

The article is so easy that I can't understand it. In other words, it's watered down so much for a general audience that I can't even extract any meaning from it. On the other hand, I suspect that I wouldn't be able to follow a "real" paper on this topic. Does anyone know of a good discussion of this kind of thing that's at a middle-brow level?

Some things from the paper that seemed interesting but that were described too vaguely for me to make anything of them:

-work by Aeppli, 2003, measuring the magnetic properties of a macroscopic salt crystal as a function of temperature

-work by Ritz, 2000, and by Vedral claiming that European robins sense magnetic fields using a system in which entanglement persists for 10^-4 s, which he apparently interprets to mean that a macroscopic biological system can really be in a superposition of states, like Schrodinger's cat
 
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Scientific American is not what it used to be.
 

Related to Entanglement and decoherence: middle-brow treatment?

1. What is entanglement?

Entanglement is a phenomenon in quantum mechanics where two or more particles become connected in such a way that the state of one particle is dependent on the state of the other, even when they are separated by large distances.

2. How does entanglement occur?

Entanglement can occur when two or more particles are created or interact with each other in a way that their quantum states become correlated. This correlation persists even when the particles are separated.

3. What is decoherence and how does it affect entanglement?

Decoherence is the process by which a quantum system becomes entangled with its surrounding environment, leading to the loss of quantum coherence and the emergence of classical behavior. This can disrupt or destroy entanglement between particles.

4. Can entanglement be used for communication?

No, entanglement cannot be used for communication as it does not allow for the transfer of information. The entangled particles only share correlated states, but no actual information can be transmitted between them.

5. What are the potential applications of entanglement and decoherence?

Entanglement and decoherence have potential applications in quantum computing, quantum cryptography, and quantum teleportation. They also play a crucial role in our understanding of quantum mechanics and its implications for our understanding of the universe.

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