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Physics Breaking Time Crystals?


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Somebody smarter than me able to explain this to me better than their checkerboard analogy?


Google announces it might have created physics-breaking 'Time Crystals'
By John Loeffler 2 days ago

We can't even say how big a deal this might be

Researchers with Google's quantum computing division just published a study to the pre-print server ArXiv claiming to have created physics-defying "Time Crystals" using the company's Sycamore quantum computer, and it's honestly impossible to say how big of a deal this might turn out to be.

As Quanta Magazine explains, a time crystal is both stable and constantly in flux, with definable states repeating at predictable intervals without ever dissolving into a state of total randomness.

Without getting too bogged down in up-spins and down-spins of the qubits (the sub-atomic particles that can represent both 1 and 0 and which are the foundation of quantum computing), what Google claims to have done is essentially taken a checkers board with all the red pieces on one side and all the black pieces on the other and metaphorically struck the table in such a way as to perfectly switch the two sides without expending any energy.

The second law of thermodynamics says that this simply can't happen, but time crystals don't seem to give a hoot about entropy and now Google is saying that it's not only seen one in action, but that the process which produced it is scalable – and the implications of that could be huge.
We need to reiterate that Google's results haven't been peer-reviewed, so we can't say for certain that what Google researchers have done will hold up under scrutiny. 

That said, if what Google's quantum computer accomplished can be replicated, then time crystals aren't just real, but they might actually be put to some actual real world use. The implications of such a technology for computer memory alone are hard to fathom, much less for computer processing itself.

Ultimately though, it's very hard to say what would come from a system that defies entropy, since nature as we know it doesn't work that way – and the assumption of entropy is built into every system we've ever produced or observed. We've never seen something like this before, assuming these results hold up, so predicting what we can do with it is a genuinely difficult but incredibly exciting mystery.

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Not sure I can "explain" this but in my humble opinion (and in the opinions of many others) there are a bunch of long-held dogmas among the scientific community that I think we are about to find out are complete bullshit (just like science has been doing since.... science). A simple example being (that may or may not be a theory ever actually disproven): "you can't travel faster than the speed of light". 

Here it sounds like the issue at hand is really both the first and 2nd laws of thermodynamics which tell us that energy can't be created or destroyed only transformed. The checkers example is saying that by flipping the board you are altering the state of something without at all disrupting the entropy of the system. i.e. changing the energy present in the system to any degree at all. 

Guessing they are calling it time crystals because it's like going back and forth in time. Like if you knocked a glass off the counter and it shattered and then it was right there on the counter again. Like a glitch in the matrix (*cough* living in a simulation *cough*). Another good example might be melting a ball of titanium into liquid in your hand then rehardening it without burning yourself or releasing any heat. So, you know, breaking the "laws" of physics.

Einstein was an absolute fucking genius - but the way people act like he (and others) solved the universe in the 1930s and that's just it - there's nothing else to it! is ridiculous. It's like the fucking Catholic church. Or people that choose to believe in intelligent extraterrestrial life.

(Although Einstein was so fucking smart that he actually understood what he couldn't explain - see "spooky action at a distance" - quantum entanglement, EPR paradox...)

Anyone is welcome to correct me or debate me on any of this. 

(This is also a fun video for anyone with 45 mins to kill) 


Edited by ztejas
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9 hours ago, freyguy said:

How can they observe it without imparting any energy into it?

I readily acknowledge that I'm way too dumb to ask that question....

I think you're thinking about some of the implications involved with observing quantum entanglement. Which I probably understand less, so, apologies. 

I also don't think observing things imparts energy into them. But that also isn't the point. Maybe just take my other two examples above that I think fall in line with what the article is claiming. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Basically what’s going on is this-

Things are doing things that we never though those things could do, and that is impacting other things in different ways. The things we were previously told couldn’t happen might indeed happen. This might or might not change the way we think about things in the future.

Basically, another parallel universe exists where this is going on right now: $9.95er land.

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