How to win Lotto with quantum mechanics.

Let’s start at the very beginning, the “Big Bang”, also known as the “Singularity” or “the before and after”.

At the “Big Bang” we were all one and it seems, may still be. Split a photon and separate them by any distance and they remain “entangled” – a change to one has an immediate effect on the other, even on the other side of the universe. Einstein called this “spooky action at a distance”, a far more “user friendly” definition than his famous E=Mc2.

Even spookier is the fact that results can be affected simply by being “observed”. The “observer effect” suggests that in the quantum world, a conscious mind can directly affect reality.

It all started with the famous “double slit” experiment, originally demonstrated in 1801 by Thomas Young who shone a light at a double slit and observed an “interference pattern” on the screen behind, proving light can behave as a wave.

More recently, scientists covered one slit and fired electrons detecting a predictable strip on the screen behind, suggesting the electrons were behaving as particles. They then unblocked the second strip and found the screen detected a series of “interference” stripes, suggesting the electrons may be behaving as waves.

More confusing, they placed a detector to see which electron landed where and the diffusion pattern vanished and was replaced by two stripes (back to behaving as a particle). The act of observing changed the result. Equally astounding, Riccardo Sapienza at Imperial College London and his colleagues used the double-slit experiment to get light to interact with its past self.

So, to recap, quantum things that are “entangled” communicate instantly over vast distances, making the speed of light look slow. Secondly, light can behave as particles or waves, or both. Thirdly, light may be able to “time travel” and, lastly, just observing the experiment can change the result.

The Old Testament missed a lot of this (actually all of it) so we are not sure why the quantum world behaves the way it does but would love to use its magic.

Could we send a sneaky time-travelling photon of light into the future to see next week’s $80 Billion Lotto results?

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