Einstein was Wrong, Quantum Spookiness Confirmed

Sep 23, 2015

By Umer Abrar

An international group effort and a recently issued research paper may have just settled a century old physics debate. Quantum mechanics is, indeed, spooky. Quantum Entanglement, a part of quantum mechanics, tells us that two particles can be openly linked even across huge distances. If you measure the rotation of one particle, you will instantly know the spin of its entangled particle. Physicists have considered this behavior as “spooky” as it doesn’t follow our daily logic at all. Common sense tells us that objects across the cosmos cannot possibly be linked, but in the quantum world, they are. Quantum mechanics also states that properties of particles are only stable when the particle is perceived.

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12 comments on “Einstein was Wrong, Quantum Spookiness Confirmed

  • not saying anything new.

    I read a longer explanation somewhere else. There were previous studies that indicated it was likely, but it had to pass some test called Bell’s Inequality which I don’t understand. I believe the accuracy of this experiment has achieved that threshold, so another small step of mankind.

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  • Knowing very little about quantum physics still leaves me with a question about the ‘observer’. Just looked it up but as usual there is no finish line. The OP says that this is ‘confirmed but is it? The ‘observer effect’ bothered me (in more ways than one as I do not understand it) so can anyone find the time to explain or point me to somewhere a more layman explanation can help me?

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  • I compare the observer to energy being put in. Observer IMO is a misnomer. An observer by definition is not interfering, and from what I’ve gathered, this is not the case when an ‘observer’ is referred to in QM. The so-called observer interacts in some way with the experiment.

    But hey, I’m no expert myself. Way above my paygrade, so I’d be glad to be corrected.

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  • All scientific theories are contingent. This latest research significantly increase the likelihood that Bell’s Theorem is correct. Bell’s theorem says is that it isn’t possible for any currently unknown (hidden) attributes (variables) of ‘classic’ physics (realism), operating over a significant distance, but obeying the relativistic limitation that nothing can travel faster than speed of light (localism), can ever account for certain quantum effects (e.g., entanglement) observed over the given distance. While Bell’s Theorem has been widely accepted by the scientific community, uncertainty remains, mainly because it has not yet proved possible to devise an experiment that demonstrates Bell’s Theorem, but which also simultaneously eliminates various potential ‘loopholes’. This research significantly reduces the uncertainty, though it doesn’t eliminate it entirely. It does so by, for the first time, closing the two main loopholes simultaneously. This greatly reduces reasons to doubt ‘spooky action at distance’. However some additional loopholes still exist in principle. Hence, some of the press reports are a little exaggerated. What we can say is that it seems the universe is almost certainly as weird as we think.

    Hope that helps.

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  • 10
    Robert Firth says:

    Thank you, DanDare. Yes, locality can indeed be preserved if one assumes advanced causality. This was laid out clearly by John Cramer in his “Transactional Interpretation” (Rev Mod Phys 58 pp 647 – 688).

    Incidentally, Bell’s Inequality was first confirmed by Alain Aspect in 1982 (Phys Rev Lett 49 pp 1804-7); for most people that settled the issue, but ever since the doubters have bee asserting there are various “loopholes”. I think this makes about as much sense as looking for loopholes to save Ptolemy’s astronomy, but your mileage may vary.

    Nature takes no account of credentials, but as it happens I do have a PhD in quantum mechanics from the University of Cambridge. I studied under Paul Dirac.

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  • Einstein and Schrödinger both believed that the ‘spooky’ phenomena associated with quantum entanglement could be explained by “hidden variables” – quantities or properties of the involved particles that we had not (as yet) discovered, but once understood would explain entanglement in classical terms. That the entanglement phenomena occurred was irrefutable; Einstein merely doubted that each entangled particle really affected the other instantaneously and without energy traveling between them. Physicist John Bell was the first to conceive of an experiment that could test this idea, though when he first described it, the technology required to perform the experiment had not yet been developed. In the years since, new technologies have allowed scientists to perform Bell’s experiment with growing degrees of precision. Results have nearly always favored the “spooky action” theory over the “hidden variables” theory, but until recently there was enough “slop” in the apparatus that the results could reasonably be called inconclusive. Now a new technique has been developed which allows the experiment to be run in a way that removes any doubt. Quantum entanglement does not operate by classical rules.

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