2023 Honorable Mention – Sarah De Falco

Quantum Entanglement

Digital painting

This artwork illustrates a baby and a wolf, who each possess a particle in a quantum entangled pair. Quantum entanglement occurs when two particles form an unbreakable bond across space and time. These particles mirror each other’s movements: performing the same actions in opposite directions. This piece explores the non-serious idea that living beings could share quantum entangled particles, linking them together. Through the image of the sleeping baby and wolf, the piece provides a visual metaphor through which quantum entanglement is explained. At its core, the piece shows two connected beings, two entangled particles, moving synchronously in opposite directions.

This artwork illustrates the phenomenon of quantum entanglement. Quantum entanglement occurs when two subatomic particles in a state of superposition form an unbreakable bond with each other. We can think of superposition as a state in which the particles can spin in two directions, both up and down at the same time. Once the particles are observed, they leave their state of superposition and begin to spin in only one direction. However, they don’t spin in the same direction! Quantum entangled particles spin in opposite directions. So, if you know that one particle is spinning upward, you automatically know that the other is spinning downward. These particles can be connected through vast expanses of space and time, and mirror each other’s movements. So, if we observe an entangled particle here on Earth, and cause it to fall out of superposition, its partner in a completely different solar system would also fall out of superposition. Metaphorically, if we “hit” one particle, its partner across the universe would feel that hit. There have been non-serious suggestions, notably in a 2017 play put on by MIT, that two beings could share quantum entangled particles, binding them together in a special, almost “soulmate” way. This artwork uses this suggestion as a metaphor through which to illustrate quantum entanglement. It shows a baby and a wolf, who sleep in incredibly similar ways, as being linked by quantum entangled particles. Like quantum entangled particles, the baby and the wolf move in sync, with the same motion. However, they do this in opposite directions. The shadows for each are opposite as well, and the background colors are complementary, further illustrating their inverse movement. At the center of the piece, we can see an enlarged version of the particles inside of the baby and wolf’s bodies. The link between these particles is highlighted at the center of the piece, and stretches from one being to the other, showing the unbreakable and connected nature of the entanglement.