Today’s Solutions: August 15, 2022
What is a tardigrade?

Many people accept the toughest animal on earth is the tiny tardigrade. These little critters – also known as “moss piglets” – can endure the most extreme conditions you can think of. From being bathed in boiling water, shot out of a gun, living on the moon, and extreme radiation.

The impressive mechanism which allows them to be almost indestructible is their protective “tun” state. Here, the tardigrade curls up into a ball where their biological functions are suspended, allowing them to endure the harsh conditions.

Tardigrades and quantum entanglement

Research, recently published in arXiv, has now uncovered that these tiny organisms may also be able to survive quantum entanglement! This process is simply when two linked minuscule subatomic particles influence each others actions, regardless of the distance between them. This weird phenomenon even left Albert Einstein scratching his head, with him famously nicknaming the process “spooky action at a distance”.

To gain further insight into quantum entanglement, the researchers froze the tardigrades and placed them in a circuit with a quantum bit or “quibit” (a unit of information used in quantum computing). When the organism came in contact with the circuit, the properties of the quibit changed as a tardigrade-qubit-hybrid had been created. Further experiments also showed how these particles impacted each other’s states in tandem, adding more evidence to support their entangled nature.

Some resistance

Although exciting, some early responses have taken issue with the finding. The paper has to go through rigorous peer review, where a number of experts in the field judge if their method holds up. If all is found to be above board, this will be the first example of an animal undergoing quantum entanglement!

Even if the quantum entanglement theory is disproven, more information about the incredible durability of tardigrades has been uncovered, feeding scientists inspiration for new materials and allowing a deeper understanding of the natural world.

Source study: arXivEntanglement between superconducting qubits and a tardigrade

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