George Musser
George Musser
George Musser is a contributing editor at Scientific American and Nautilus magazines and the author of two books, Spooky Action at a Distance and The Complete Idiot's Guide to String Theory. He is the recipient of the 2011 American Institute of Physics Science Writing Award and the 2010 American Astronomical Society’s Jonathan Eberhart Planetary Sciences Journalism Award. He was a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT from 2014 to 2015.

The Twelve Varieties of Consciousness

A proposed empirical scale of consciousness from dead to superhuman.

I have an essay in Aeon magazine on the possibility that machines might become conscious without our realizing it and possible ways to test for that. A huge variety of physiological and behavioral tests of consciousness might be adapted to machines, and Spanish AI researcher Raúl Arrabales Moreno and his colleagues have systematized them as […]

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FAQ: How Are Entangled Particles Created? [Video]

Shine a laser on a nonlinear optical crystal to get streams of entangled photons.

The number-one question that people ask me when I talk about nonlocality is: how are entangled particles created? I didn’t say much about this in the first edition of my book because the details don’t matter for my overall argument, but since everyone wants to know, I figure I should elaborate. (I’ve also added an […]

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Spooky Action at a Distance at Google [Video]

My book talk at Google

On February 10, 2016, I gave a summary of my book to the good folks at Google New York.

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An Interview with Howard Wiseman [Video]

The debate over quantum nonlocality awaits its resolution in a unified theory of physics.

If anyone is the Kissinger of quantum physics—in a good way, striving to forge peace in the century-old dispute over the meaning of the quantum—it is Howard Wiseman. A theoretical physicist at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia, Wiseman thinks the debate hasn’t been resolved because it can’t be, given our present state of knowledge. Only […]

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An Interview with Thanu Padmanabhan [Video]

“Atoms” of space are too small to see, but betray themselves indirectly.

I’m fascinated by how the humblest observations can lead you to the profoundest conclusions, and here’s one I learned from Thanu Padmanabhan, an eminent theoretical physicist at the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics in Pune, India. Suppose you cup your hands around a glass of cold water to warm it up. From this simple […]

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An Interview with Silke Weinfurtner [Video]

Step one to understand the mysteries of black holes: build a big bathtub.

Don’t be alarmed, but there is a black hole in your bathtub. When you drain the tub, water converges on the plughole and speeds up, eventually flowing too fast for surface waves to propagate outwards. Those waves get swept down the drain like hapless astronauts falling into a black hole (see video at end of […]

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An Interview with Yakir Aharonov [Video]

The eminent Israeli physicist explains the peculiar type of action at a distance that bears his name.

In 1959 physicists Yakir Aharonov and David Bohm startled their colleagues by predicting a new type of quantum nonlocality, distinct from the phenomenon that had spooked Einstein. They showed that an electric or magnetic field can have an effect on a particle at a distance: even when the field exerts no force on that particle, […]

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An Interview with Nicolas Gisin [Video]

How quantum correlations transcend space and time.

The great mystery of quantum mechanics is that particles can be connected without a connector. They can coordinate their behavior in ways that are too complicated to be preprogrammed into them, even though no process is acting across the distance between them. “We can’t say that one thing led to another,” Nicolas Gisin of the […]

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Morphing from Spacelessness to Space [Video]

A simple model of the phase transition that begat space.

Could space as we know it be just one possible phase of the universe, able to undergo a transition to or from an entirely alien structure? This video animation shows how that might happen, according to a model known as quantum graphity, developed by theoretical physicists Tomasz Konopka, Fotini Markopoulou, Lee Smolin, and others. (The […]

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Einstein's Bubble Paradox [Video]

Einstein's underappreciated argument for the strangeness of quantum physics.

“This onslaught came down on us as a bolt from the blue,” recalled Léon Rosenfeld, a young colleague of the physicist Niels Bohr. They were shocked, shocked, by Einstein’s famous 1935 critique of their interpretation of quantum mechanics. But why the surprise? Einstein’s argument did not originate in 1935 or even with his storied confrontation […]

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