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So get used to it, John Bell (1928-1990). Quantum mechanics will never just settle down and get a job in the real world.

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Speakable and Unspeakable in Quantum Mechanics (Collected papers on quantum philosophy)In “Quantum Magic’ Without Any ‘Spooky Action at a Distance” (ScienceDaily, June 25, 2011), we learn:

Quantum mechanical entanglement is at the heart of the famous quantum teleportation experiment and was referred to by Albert Einstein as “spooky action at a distance.” A team of researchers led by Anton Zeilinger at the University of Vienna and the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information of the Austrian Academy of Sciences used a system which does not allow for entanglement, and still found results which cannot be interpreted classically.

Gets better:

The physicists used a “qutrit” — a quantum system consisting of a single photon that can assume three distinguishable states. “We were able to demonstrate experimentally that quantum mechanical measurements cannot be interpreted in a classical way even when no entanglement is involved,” Radek Lapkiewicz explains. The findings relate to the theoretical predictions by John Stewart Bell, Simon B. Kochen, and Ernst Specker.

Bell was an interesting Irish physicist who at first hoped to show that Einstein was right, that you could make quantum mechanics finally settle down and get a job in the real world. He managed to convince himself of the opposite:

The result is known variously as Bell’s inequality and Bell’s theorem. Although it proved impossible to test Bell’s inequality in terms of the reactions described in the 1964 paper, later workers have produced equivalent formulations that are testable. The most convincing of these, the Aspect experiment performed by Alain Aspect of the Institute of Optics at the University of Paris in 1982, using correlations between polarized photons, established that the inequality did not hold. The conclusion seemed to be that nature preferred to act ‘spookily’ at a distance rather than using Einstein’s reality principle.

At first Bell’s five-page paper was ignored. Only when experimentalists such as John Clauser at Berkeley in 1969 took his work up did Bell’s argument become widely known. Bell’s views on his own work, more tentative and less extreme than those of many of his followers and popularizers, were collected in his Speakable and Unspeakable in Quantum Mechanics (1987).

We don’t live in the world we think we do.

One Reply to “So get used to it, John Bell (1928-1990). Quantum mechanics will never just settle down and get a job in the real world.

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    Zeilinger is one of my favorite physicists of all time:

    Quantum Entanglement and Teleportation – Anton Zeilinger – video

    Double Slit Experiment – Explained By Prof Anton Zeilinger – video


    As a side light to this, leading quantum physicist Anton Zeilinger has followed in John Archibald Wheeler’s footsteps (1911-2008) by insisting reality, at its most foundational level, is ‘information’.

    “It from bit symbolizes the idea that every item of the physical world has at bottom – at a very deep bottom, in most instances – an immaterial source and explanation; that which we call reality arises in the last analysis from the posing of yes-no questions and the registering of equipment-evoked responses; in short, that things physical are information-theoretic in origin.” John Archibald Wheeler

    Why the Quantum? It from Bit? A Participatory Universe?
    Excerpt: In conclusion, it may very well be said that information is the irreducible kernel from which everything else flows. Thence the question why nature appears quantized is simply a consequence of the fact that information itself is quantized by necessity. It might even be fair to observe that the concept that information is fundamental is very old knowledge of humanity, witness for example the beginning of gospel according to John: “In the beginning was the Word.” Anton Zeilinger – a leading expert in quantum teleportation:

    Zeilinger’s principle
    The principle that any elementary system carries just one bit of information. This principle was put forward by the Austrian physicist Anton Zeilinger in 1999 and subsequently developed by him to derive several aspects of quantum mechanics.

    In the beginning was the bit – New Scientist
    Excerpt: Zeilinger’s principle leads to the intrinsic randomness found in the quantum world. Consider the spin of an electron. Say it is measured along a vertical axis (call it the z axis) and found to be pointing up. Because one bit of information has been used to make that statement, no more information can be carried by the electron’s spin. Consequently, no information is available to predict the amounts of spin in the two horizontal directions (x and y axes), so they are of necessity entirely random. If you then measure the spin in one of these directions, there is an equal chance of its pointing right or left, forward or back. This fundamental randomness is what we call Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle.

    further notes:

    The following articles show that even atoms (Ions) are subject to teleportation:

    Of note: An ion is an atom or molecule in which the total number of electrons is not equal to the total number of protons, giving it a net positive or negative electrical charge.

    Ions have been teleported successfully for the first time by two independent research groups
    Excerpt: In fact, copying isn’t quite the right word for it. In order to reproduce the quantum state of one atom in a second atom, the original has to be destroyed. This is unavoidable – it is enforced by the laws of quantum mechanics, which stipulate that you can’t ‘clone’ a quantum state. In principle, however, the ‘copy’ can be indistinguishable from the original (that was destroyed),,,

    Atom takes a quantum leap – 2009
    Excerpt: Ytterbium ions have been ‘teleported’ over a distance of a metre.,,,
    “What you’re moving is information, not the actual atoms,” says Chris Monroe, from the Joint Quantum Institute at the University of Maryland in College Park and an author of the paper. But as two particles of the same type differ only in their quantum states, the transfer of quantum information is equivalent to moving the first particle to the location of the second.

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