Bird navigation: The Quantum Around You. Ep1

Bird navigation- The Quantum Around You You may have heard about bird navigation.
There are some species of birds that in some seasons of the year, migrate, for example
from north to south or from south to north, to follow the seasons and the climate that
they prefer. And for a long time, people have been wondering how do these birds navigate?
How do they know which way to fly? There is a very fascinating hypothesis in science,
in biology, and in quantum mechanics nowadays, that certain types of birds use quantum effect
to find what is the direction of the Earth’s magnetic field going from north to south.
So to understand how this works, I’m going to start from a very, very basic principle
of physics and of quantum mechanics, which is the Pauli Exclusion Principle. Let’s take for example a helium atom. A helium
atom has two positive charges in the nucleus and two electrons orbiting around the nucleus.
Now, you shouldn’t think of these two electrons as moons orbiting around a planet, they are
actually waves of probability around the nucleus and so in fact, they occupy the same space,
the same cloud around the nucleus and because of that, they need to obey what’s called the
Pauli Exclusion Principle which tells that their magnetic dipole needs to be anti-aligned.
Electrons not only have a negative charge, but they also have a magnetic moment that’s
called the spin, although nothing is spinning in this case and the Pauli Exclusion Principle
tells you that the spins must be pointing in the opposite direction. Now let me clarify
here, that when I draw one spin pointing up and one spin pointing down, this is not a
proper representation of the state that the electrons are in. These states, these electrons,
are in what is called an entangled quantum state. Entanglement is a very special form
of correlation that exists only in quantum mechanics where two particles are correlated
with each other but they lose their individuality. So in this case, when I draw a spin pointing
up and a spin pointing down, this is not the true entangled state. The true entangled state
is one where the two spins are opposite to each other but they don’t have a state of
their own. It’s like taking two people and saying they have the opposite gender but they
don’t have a gender of their own. Their gender is only defined in the correlation between
each other, but not in the individual. This is in fact, the kind of quantum state that
two electrons sharing an orbit will have to be into. � Now imagine you can separate these two electrons
by some means, then these electrons can move individually and flop around and precess and
move and so after some time, you might find yourself in a situation where the two electrons
are now pointing parallel. �Now, if that were the case, these two electrons could no
longer go back together onto the helium atom. �The Pauli Exclusion Principle excludes
that. �The interesting thing is that there is a hypothesis, and I might stress, this
is just a hypothesis, it’s not easy to prove it although there is some good evidence, that
certain birds, in particular the European Robins, use these quantum mechanical correlation
to find the direction of the Earth magnetic field. And the way it’s presumed to work is
this: the receptor is the eye of the bird. Imagine, this is the eye of the bird. There
is a retina in the eye of the bird. This retina contains some complicated molecules that are
connected to the optical nerve of the bird and these molecules may have some pairs of
electrons that share the same orbit. So imagine there’s two electrons that are bound together
and share the same orbit. Because of the Pauli Exclusion Principle, they have to have opposite
spin, which I’m drawing like this, but remember this drawing is not the real thing because
I cannot classically draw an entangled state. The next thing that happens is that if a quantum
of light, a photo, hits the retina of the bird, the energy of that quantum of light
can split the two electrons apart. So now I have these two electrons that are pointing
in opposite directions. But now on Earth, we have a magnetic field. It’s the Earth’s
magnetic field so I can draw (I draw it as an arrow like this) magnetic field is normally
indicated with the letter B and in this magnetic field, these spins will start to precess.
They will wobble around like a gyroscope. It’s difficult to explain it in a drawing
and it is very likely to involve more spins than just these two ones, but the hypothesis
is that depending on the orientation of the bird with respect to the Earth’s magnetic
field, these two spins may or may not remain in this quantum correlated quantum entangled
state. So now you have two possibilities. If they remain in the entangled state where
they have the opposite spin, they can recombine together in their molecular orbital and when
they do so, they release back the original energy that was given by the photon. So in
doing so, in recombining, they give out a stimulus to the optical nerve of the bird.
Whereas, if the orientation is wrong, these two spins end up parallel and they can no
longer recombine so the optical nerve of the bird does not receive the stimulus. The reason why this is so fascinating is not
only because it is a possible quantum phenomenon that takes place in a living creature, in
a bird, but also, because it makes you think that there is an intelligent living creature
that can see the quantum entanglement. I will keep talking about the quantum entanglement
over and over in this series of videos, but every time I will try to do so, I will struggle
to visualise it for you because we cannot see the quantum entanglement. I cannot draw
on the board a pair of entangled particles. Our eyes don’t see it. But maybe, the eyes
of these birds can see it. You see, our eyes can only see light photons of the colours
of the rainbow from red to violet. Whereas this hypothesis is that these birds can see
more than we can see and through the sensitivity to the quantum correlations between the electrons
in their retina, they can actually see with their eyes whether they’re going west or they’re
going north.

100 thoughts on “Bird navigation: The Quantum Around You. Ep1

  1. ASoc Professor Morello will comment as often as he can. But please keep a note of your questions. We may do a Google Hangout down the track so we can answer many of the questions the series raises.

  2. I'd like more evidence for the hypothesis, even if its just a link in the description. 
    As i feel that many people viewing this don't grasp that its only purposed that some birds can do this.

  3. Hey nice channel, I've sent you a message about a partnership with TGN/BBTV, check it out at I'd love to help you out in any way I can!.

  4. +nonnels here are some links to peer-reviewed literature that discusses evidence for the quantum effects in the avian compass:
    The first two are behind paywall, the third is free to read.
    I did try my best to clarify in the video that what I was describing is a hypothesis, not a completely proven fact: (0:29) (3:37) (7:23)

  5. The part where you say when it "hits the retina" the engery of that quantum of light can split …  etc …  is it the retina that enables this or what?

  6. I know Mr. Professor from Veritasium channel and I really liked his way of explaining things. I'm subscribing and looking forward to seeing more from him!

  7. Sounds interesting, but I don't think they can see it, that is not very nature like, maybe that energy discharge stimulate pleasure receptors kind off when you get a good feeling about something but with out a logical process to question it.

  8. Wow that is so hard to accept. But well we have to be open minded; after all No one ever believes in the beginning of all discoveries.

  9. A more plausible hypotheses might be that the way the animal's brain processes the sensory input filters out and utilizes data that enable it to determine magnetic north. 

    Our brain does much more curious and complex interpretations of the data from the sensory apparatus – for example, asides from really cool data manipulation at the terminal point of sensing, optical information is later filtered by specialized neuron locus in the brain(line orientation and color information) and then pushed into semantic and priority reconstruction before being measured by the limens of perception and then shuffled on either towards the higher cognitive states or sideways for use by other institutions.

    Some data, in earlier stations, is moved into other processing functions like daytime measurement, the direction of gravity etc. 

  10. Very nice video, what a pleasure it is to learn about science when the narrator is not going "uhhh" and "ahhhh" every 5 seconds. Really good, look forward to watching the next few videos 🙂

  11. Why does this mechanism have to be in the bird's eye? If all it needs is to be able to be hit by photons, then it could be on any part of the bird's body…

  12. I am not at all a physics student but this man successfully sit me through this entire video and i think he explains better than Michio Kaku.

  13. I was thinking that birds might fly based on the position of the sun in the morning and the evening? has this been proven implausible?
    Another thought I had was that maybe young birds get guided by adult birds that have made the trip before?

    Great video nonetheless. I really enjoyed watching it. Thank you!
    Going to watch Episode 2 now.

  14. Many thanks for your efforts and clarity of explanation! I am wondering two things: (1) what would limit the phenomenon we presume, as functioning through some other sensory means, other than, or, in tandem with vision; that is, as though there were some sort of honing mechanism within the bird's physiology; this explanation seems something very equivalent to a kind of internal magnetism.. from here it seems easy to wonder (2) what other sort of quantum entanglements could be perceivable, consciously or otherwise, in any living matter; this is to, somewhat strangely, suggest the existence of other senses for the environment at the quantum level.

  15. So technically those birds can see the magnetic field, or more precisely sense the orientation of it. Cool, what about the mantis shrimp, then? That little animal has some amazing eyes as well, possibly the most amazing eyes in all animal kingdom.

  16. I'm a butcher. I really work on that. This seems so fascinating. I am not able to fully understand it, but I wanted to give thanks for all these efforts to bring this knowledge to those who know nothing.. thanks

  17. It kind of feels like explaining quantum mechanics is like explaining sound to someone that has been deaf since birth.
    You can't visualize, you can't smell it, you can't hear it and you can't touch it. But it's there.

  18. wow!!! you very well understand that poor folk like us cannot see quantum entanglement and that's why unlike our stupid college profs you yourself don't fake to have a complete mastery over it… mazza aagaya

  19. They'd basically be "seeing" photonic currents moving in the earth's magnetic field the same way we might observe water currents flowing in rivers and the ocean.

  20. When the bird receives the stimulus I will assume that to them it will likely appear as a colour, likely red or blue, depending upon the pole as one is divergent and the other convergent.

  21. looks easy to build, so lets build it. take their molecule arrange it on camera sensor

    if i try to visualize then i think north should look brighter… we could create a video game to make north always bright

  22. This guy is brilliant. i love the stupid drawings (i'm being frank), its hard to visualise, he admits this himself. love it. following from now on, so much to learn.

  23. You are a teaching "God", keep up the nice work sir. Very simple explanations for very complex issues.

  24. According to quantum mechanics if the electrons are entangled their properties will remain linked no matter where they are then how the two electrons can be split apart and their properties become parallel or their spins become parallel? Please explain.

  25. Hi! Thank you for your wonderful presentation. I wonder whether the process that you have explained can affect basic molecular cellular process (such as apoptosis, proliferation, selective transcription…). What magnitude order should have (i believe in A/m) should have the magnetic field that you have hypothesized? Further, what instrument should be used to induce the magnetic field to which subject eventually the cells? Thank you in advance for your attention. Best regards, Giuseppe

  26. .oneffunes. If you have ever felt the presence of a spirit around you this is a form of quantum biology/quantum entanglement. When the last inside the beginning of the alpha becomes first, of the Omega, then the reflection of the end becomes a mirror image inside the last reflected into the beginning. So if you discern a spirit around you, then the last inside you has become first, reflecting the energy of that spirit through the last by way of the first insight you into the beginning, giving you the Illusion that the energy is only outside of you but in actuality you are feeling the energy of that spirit also inside of you.

  27. Dr. Morello, please take a look at my MYSTERY33 video and see if I am the victim of a concerning rig. Very worried but wanting to do positive work for the world.

    Much love from Mississippi
    Terry John Tyler of Tupelo Mississippi

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