Quantum Entanglement Redux

Text and Photography by Harvey Lloyd

This blog is part of a series entitled Secrets of Eternal Youth.

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Each Photograph Made by Harvey Lloyd During A Single Exposure In His Digital Camera, Copyright © 2016



The notes below from Wired Magazine (Jan. 2011) shed light on how BREAKING THE LIGHT images are made through an interaction with light photons called quantum entanglement. Each image is made during a single time exposure with a hand held camera. While the shutter is closed I am “blind” to the multi-colored lights where I am shooting. The camera does a “quantum dance” that guides it movements. These excerpts shed light on how my “blind” eye influences my other open eye and vice-versa through quantum entanglement. The robin’s eyes, through a layer of cryptochrome at the retina, are theorized in this article to have quantum entanglement with the earth’s very weak magnetic field.

Cryptochromes in the photoreceptor neurons of birds’ eyes are involved in magnetic orientation during migration. Cryptochromes are also essential for the light-dependent ability of Drosophila to sense magnetic fields. Magnetic fields were once reported to affect cryptochromes also in Arabidopsis thaliana plants: growth behavior seemed to be affected by magnetic fields in the presence of blue (but not red) light. Nevertheless, these results have later turned out to be irreproducible under strictly controlled conditions in another laboratory, suggesting that plant cryptochromes do not respond to magnetic fields.

 Cryptochrome forms a pair of radicals with correlated spins when exposed to blue light. Radical pairs can also be generated by the light-independent dark reoxidation of the flavin cofactor by molecular oxygen through the formation of a spin-correlated FADH-superoxide radical pairs. Magnetoception is hypothesized to function through the surrounding magnetic field’s effect on the correlation (parallel or anti-parallel) of these radicals, which affects the lifetime of the activated form of cryptochrome. Activation of cryptochrome may affect the light-sensitivity of retinal neurons, with the overall result that the animal can “see” the magnetic field. Animal cryptochromes and closely related animal photolyases contain a longer chain of electron-transferring tryptophans than other proteins of the cryptochrome-photolyase superfamily (a tryptophan tetrad instead of a triad).The longer chain leads to a better separation and over 1000× longer lifetimes of the photoinduced flavin-tryptophan radical pairs than in proteins with a mere triad of tryptophans.
The absence of spin-selective recombination of these radical pairs on the nanosecond to microsecond timescales seems to be incompatible with the suggestion that magnetoreception by cryptochromes is based on the forward light reaction.

(This scientific explanation reminds me of Richard Feynman, Nobel Laureate for Quantum Electrodynamics statement that while a small number of physicists understand thoroughly Einstein’s Relativity, nobody, including himself, understands quantum mechanics).


European robins may maintain quantum entanglement in their eyes a full 20 microseconds longer than the best laboratory systems, say physicists investigating how birds may use quantum effects to “see” Earth’s magnetic field.
Quantum entanglement is a state where electrons are spatially separated, but able to affect one another. It’s been proposed that birds’ eyes contain entanglement-based compasses.
Conclusive proof doesn’t yet exist, but multiple lines of evidence suggest it. Findings like this one underscore just how sophisticated those compasses may be.

“How can a living system have evolved to protect a quantum state as well — no, better — than we can do in the lab with these exotic molecules?’” asked quantum physicist Simon Benjamin of Oxford University and the National University of Singapore, a co-author of the new study. “That really is an amazing thing.’”

Robin of the Inner Eye

Many animals — including not only birds, but some mammals, fish, reptiles, even crustaceans and insects — navigate by sensing the direction of Earth’s magnetic field. Physicist Klaus Schulten of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign proposed in the late 1970s that bird navigation relied on some geomagnetically sensitive, as-yet-unknown biochemical reaction taking place in their eyes.

Research since then has revealed the existence of special optical cells containing a protein called cryptochrome. When a photon enters the eye, it hits cryptochrome, giving a boost of energy to electrons that exist in a state of quantum entanglement.

One of the electrons migrates a few nanometers away,where it feels a slightly different magnetic field than its partner. (A nanometer is 10-9 meter, or one billionth of a meter) Depending on how the magnetic field alters the electron’s spin, different chemical reactions are produced. In theory, the products of many such reactions across a bird’s eye could create a picture of Earth’s magnetic field as a varying pattern of light and dark.

However, these quantum states are notoriously fragile. Even in laboratory systems, atoms are cooled to near–absolute-zero temperatures to maintain entanglement for more than a few thousandths of a second. Biological systems would seem too warm and too wet to hold quantum states for long, yet that’s exactly what they appear to do.

(Sir Roger Penrose’s theories of the human brain as being a quantum computer deal with these same issues. Penrose believes that destabilization does no occur quickly enough in the human brain to prevent the quantum processing.)

Researchers led by University of California, Irvine physicist Thorsten Ritz showed in 2004 that, although robins had no trouble pointing their beaks toward Africa under the influence of Earth’s magnetic field alone, adding a second, shifting field destroyed their inner compasses. That second field was so weak — less than one-third of 1 percent of Earth’s field — that it could only have influenced a quantum-sensitive system.

It shouldn’t be the case that the birds would even know that this had happened,” Benjamin said. “If someone changed the brightness of the scene that you’re seeing by a-third of 1 percent, you would struggle to know that it even happened. It certainly wouldn’t muck up your vision.
In a new paper in Physical Review Letters, Benjamin and colleagues built a mathematical model of Ritz’s experiment, including the Earth’s magnetic field, the slight secondary field, and the quantum systems that might make up the birds’ magnetic sense.

They calculated that, in order to be sensitive to such weak fields, entangled states in the birds’ eyes must last for at least 100 microseconds, or 0.0001 seconds.
To put this in perspective, Benjamin introduced an exotic molecule called N@C60, a geometric cage of carbon with a nitrogen atom inside. This molecule is one of the best-known laboratory systems for maintaining entanglement. “The cage acts to shield the atom, which is storing the information, from the rest of the world,” Benjamin said. “It’s considered to be quite a sexy, interesting, promising molecule.”

But at room temperature, even N@C60 only holds entanglement for 80 microseconds, or four-fifths of what birds appear to be doing . . .“The bird, however it works, whatever it’s got in there, it’s somehow doing better than our specially designed, very beautiful molecule,” Benjamin said. “That’s just staggering.”

The relationship to the camera is equally staggering. Complex multi-colored BREAKING THE LIGHT post abstract images are each made in a single exposure in my digital camera at night. One eye is fixed to the camera finder which is blank when the shutter is opened for the time exposure. The other eye remains open. The camera does a dance, infinitely more like a tango or a ballroom dance than a camera shake.

The eye that is open, connected by quantum entanglement is aware of the dance, but has no conception of what the finished image will look like. (See http://www.harveylloyd.com). At every constant quantum instant of 100 microseconds, or 0.0001 seconds while closed, the eye is relayed visual information by the open eye – “O body swayed to music, O brightening glance, How can we know the dancer from the dance? How can we know the dancer from the dance?

William Butler Yeats poem sublimely states the mystery of quantum entanglement in 1925 as quantum mechanics became scientific fact to many physicists. The camera shutter that is closed and the open eye are wedded in a symbiotic relationship. It is a wild dance where implacable order is seen dimly through the veil of chaos. “William Butler Yeats poem sublimely stated the mystery of quantum entanglement long before quanta were known or recognized. Converely, Novalis wrote — ‘In a work of art, chaos must shimmer through the veil of order.’

Quantum entanglement that guides the camera to make BREAKING THE LIGHT images pervades much of the artist’s work painting with the digital camera. YELLOWSTONE:
The Devil’s Volcano sees red hot lava beds miles and miles beneath the surface, which is theorized to be due to entangled holographic images in the geysers. Dead Sea Mirages presents the rainbow colors hidden in the grey mud flats of the mineral rich dying sea. Las Vegas Deconstructed reveals the indeterminate architecture of the city where lady luck rules as with quantum indeterminacy.

That is the tip of the iceberg. The camera, freed from being harnessed to “What you see is what you get roams the indeterminate and uncertain world of quantum mechanics vision of our hidden beautiful planet. GAIA, mother nature, hidden by veils of visual order, shimmers through with the flamboyant radiance of quasars lighting up galaxies. No longer bound by classical rules and the straitjacket of still film technology, the camera becomes the titanic mythic painter that echoes and
re-echoes Picasso’s “I do not paint what I see, I paint what I imagine.

Thin slivers of film are reborn as wave/particles of light that have no dimension, and when photons are entangled enable bird navigation by the earth’s magnetic field, and imagery that encompasses the entire universe that appears in waves of probabilities that collapse into unimagined, surrealistic and astonishing visions. We will investigate the science that underlies the advancement of art into a dangerous and unknown future. It is danger and risks that create great art, and quanta are the heralds of an unimaginable new vision of light, the light which is the universe we inhabit.

Consciousness is not inside space and time; space-time is inside consciousness.
Light is vision, a realm of perceptual consciousness – it does not “travel” in space. Western thought begins with the world and tries to figure out where life came from; here we begin with life and try to figure out where the world came from.
Light is more fundamental than space and time. Things cannot go faster than or be smaller than light because that is what they are made of. There is no medium for light in the physical world because light is not in the physical world. The physical world is in light.
Light is visual consciousness itself.
– SAMUEL AVERY, Transcendence of the Western Mind


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