Mental Floss

Linking Couples Via "Quantum Entanglement" in the Name of Romance

Roma Panganiban
iStock / iStock

For most couples, marriage is the greatest commitment they will ever make. Marital vows demand absolute fidelity from both partners, who pledge themselves to each other “'til death do us part.” Wedding rings ostensibly serve as physical token of this connection, but wedding rings can be lost or bent or outgrown. For a more permanent solution, experimental philosopher Jonathon Keats thinks physics has the answer in the form of “quantum entanglement,” in which a pair of linked particles become connected so that whatever happens to one particle also happens to the other. (Refer to The Notebook: “If you’re a bird, I’m a bird.”)

Speaking to FastCo, Keats (who has undergone the process with his wife) says quantum entanglement is the pinnacle of a committed relationship. “Two or more particles that become entangled behave as if they're one and the same, even if they're a universe apart," he says. "To me, it just seemed like what more could you want in a relationship than what those particles share?”

The process of becoming quantum entangled with another person requires a particular setup, which Keats is facilitating for two days at the Life is Beautiful festival in September, hosted by the Art Motel in Las Vegas. Couples aspiring to entangle their particles step into a room in which a nonlinear crystal, developed specially in a laboratory setting, is illuminated by a sunny window. Any photons of light that pass through the crystal become entangled, then get reflected by various mirrors and prisms positioned around the room, bouncing around and landing on the couple in question. Congratulations, you’re entangled!

There’s no way to prove that the process has worked, because inherent in the nature of entangled particles is the paradox that any attempt to measure their activity automatically disentangles them, breaking the very bond that’s under scrutiny. In a way, it’s another symbol of marriage: Faith, trust, and the belief that once you’re entangled, you’re entangled for life.

[h/t: FastCo]