Researchers at the University of Cambridge have demonstrated that they can mimic what would happen if one could travel back in time by playing with entanglement, a central concept in quantum mechanics that allows particles to be inherently linked.

Quantum entanglement is a fundamental and intriguing phenomenon in quantum mechanics. It occurs when two or more particles become correlated in such a way that the state of one particle cannot be described independently of the state of the other(s), even when they are separated by large distances. This means that the properties of one particle, such as its spin or polarization, are dependent on the properties of the other particle(s).

“Imagine that you want to send a gift to someone: you need to send it on day one to make sure it arrives on day three,” said lead author David Arvidsson-Shukur, from the Hitachi Cambridge Laboratory. “However, you only receive that person’s wish list on day two. So, in this chronology-respecting scenario, it’s impossible for you to know in advance what they will want as a gift and to make sure you send the right one.

“Now imagine you can change what you send on day one with the information from the wish list received on day two. Our simulation uses quantum entanglement manipulation to show how you could retroactively change your previous actions to ensure the final outcome is the one you want.”

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