What quantum physics tells us about reality

The writer is a scholarly commentator

The four-page paper was so popular that it became known by the initials of its authors. The EPR paradox, published by Albert Einstein, Boris Podolsky and Nathan Rosen in 1935, argued that quantum physics collides with reality and is therefore illogical or incomplete.

The research paper began, over many decades, a series of arguments and experiments that culminated in the 2022 Nobel Prize in Physics. Awarded last week To three experimenters who, against Einstein’s instincts, asserted the strange effects of quantum mechanics, the laws describing the subatomic world. While the work of Laureates Alan Aspect, John Clauser, and Anton Zeilinger is rightly celebrated for helping pave the way for quantum computing and cryptography, their insights also drive philosophical reflection on the alien nature of the universe. “what or what [this Nobel Prize] It shows that any serious philosopher who wanted to talk about the nature of reality would have been better off paying close attention to quantum physics,” says Flatko Federal, professor of quantum information science at Oxford University.

Einstein and his colleagues were upset by quantum theory because it apparently broke the principle of “locality,” which states that an event occurring in one place cannot instantaneously affect something very far away. Another way to say it is that nothing, not even information, can travel faster than the speed of light.

To recall the paradox: Imagine a pair of interconnected (or “entangled”) particles, A and B, ejecting from a radioactive nucleus at the same instant, and moving at the same speed but in opposite directions. Quantum theory dictates that each particle exists in multiple observable states simultaneously – until the moment it is observed, when it “collapses” into a single state with specific properties (such as location). One of these properties is called rotation. And it is possible to produce A and B in such a way that the rotation of A is related to the rotation of B. -Determined.

But what if A and B ended up being on opposite sides of the universe? Measurement of A would immediately reveal B rotation, perhaps trillions of light-years, violating the local area. How might the measurement here affect the way the particles are there? Einstein himself derided the scenario as a “distance scare”, suggesting that there might be non-quantum factors, or “hidden variables,” at play.

The winners were able to demonstrate, through a series of complex experiments, that this frightening alignment – now called quantum entanglement – between two specially produced particles does exist across vast distances without any recourse to non-quantum factors. The original inspiration for the experiments goes back to the brilliant Northern Irish physicist John Bell, who worked mostly on the design of the accelerator at Cern but was admirably involved in quantum theory by the time of his hiatus. (Bell, who died in 1990 at the age of 62, would surely have won the Nobel Prize had he been alive today.)

In the 1960s, Bell marked a way to solve the EPR paradox, by explaining how to sniff out non-quantitative factors. Clauser was the first to pick up these ideas experimentally, showing that bound particles exhibited a frighteningly high degree of alignment when observed by detectors. Aspect and Zeilinger went further, with the latter continuing to show a phenomenon called quantum teleportation. Between them, they proved that quantum entanglement is real – and that Einstein’s interpretation was wrong.

Quantum physics annoyed Einstein because it bumped into his intuitive grasp of physical reality. In the quantum world, nothing can be said to exist until it is measured or observed. These jars are with our belief that particles have intrinsic properties: Sure, bananas are curved and yellow even when we’re not looking at them? Federal explains: “There is no implicit reality of the kind that Einstein imagined. However, quantum physics does not say that reality does not exist. It just happens to be quantum.”

Quantum entanglement takes this non-rebellion to new heights. Philip Ball, author of beyond strangeA popular commentary in quantum physics gives this description: “Once two particles are entangled, then . . . they are no longer different things. They are the same entity that you cannot smash.”

It is absolutely insane to live in a world that exhibits phenomena that contradict our daily experience. However, on another level, quantum reality is neither here nor there.

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