Quantum Theory Wins over Einstein’s Objections

by Award-winning author, adventurer and scientist Mark Kingston Levin PhD

Excerpted from Live Science article By Mindy Weisberger, Senior Writer published May 9, 2018


Something travels faster than the speed of light, and it was called “spooky action-at-a-distance” by Einstein, who never quite believed in Quantum Theory.

Figure 1. Gamers around the world helped physicists crowdsource a reality check.

Credit: Shutterstock

  A groundbreaking quantum experiment recently confirmed the reality of “spooky  action-at-a-distance” — the bizarre phenomenon that Einstein hated — in which linked particles seemingly communicate faster than the speed of light.

And all it took was 12 teams of physicists in 10 countries, more than 100,000 volunteer gamers and over 97 million data units — all of which were randomly generated by hand. This confirms the properties known in the trade as entanglement. Yes, it is only one weird property of the fundaments of nature.

The volunteers operated from locations around the world, playing an online video game on Nov. 30, 2016, that produced millions of bits, or “binary digits” — the smallest unit of computer data.

 Physicists then used those random bits in so-called Bell tests, designed to show that entangled particles, or particles whose states are mysteriously linked, can somehow transfer information faster than light can travel, and that these particles seem to “choose” their states at the moment they are measured.

Their findings, recently reported in a new study, contradicted Einstein’s description of a state known as “local realism,” study co-author Morgan Mitchell, a professor of quantum optics at the Institute of Photonic Sciences in Barcelona, Spain, told Live Science in an email.

“We showed that Einstein’s world-view of local realism, in which things have properties whether or not you observe them, and no influence travels faster than light, cannot be true — at least one of those things must be false,” Mitchell said.

In this amazing universe there may be other ways to explain things. One way to start is to admit both theories need to be improved if possible. If the Einstein Rosen bridge is not just in black hole but in all entangled particles, which is an hypothesis being put forward. Will it lead to progress? Maybe Sean Carroll of Caltech can work it out if he is personally challenge by his admiring fans like me. He released a great book a few years ago that can be read by all.

Figure 2. Sean M. Carroll, born in Philadelphia, PA in October 5, 1966. Credit Wikipedia

He received his PhD from Harvard University in 1993. Currently he is a professor of physics at the California Institute of Technology. He is a strong contributor to the physics blog Cosmic Variance. Sear Carroll has published in many scientific journals such as Nature as well as other publications, including The New York Times, Sky & Telescope, and New Scientist.

He is also the author of three popular books: one on the arrow of time titled From Eternity to Here, one on the Higgs boson titled The Particle at the End of the Universe, and one on science and philosophy titled The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself. He began a podcast in 2018 called Mindscape, in which he interviews other experts and intellectuals on a variety of science-related topics.

Figure 3. Einstein wins Noble Prize in 1921 and received it 1922. Wikipedia Credit

This new data on entangled particles introduces the likelihood of two mind-bending scenarios: Either our observations of the world actually change it, or particles are communicating with each other in some manner that we can’t see or influence.

“Or possibly both,” Mitchell added. 

Einstein’s worldview — Is it true?

Since the 1970s, physicists have tested the plausibility of local realism by using experiments called Bell tests, first proposed in the 1960s by Irish physicist John Bell.

To conduct these Bell tests, physicists compare randomly chosen measurements, such as the polarization of two entangled particles, like photons, that exist in different locations. If one photon is polarized in one direction (say, up), the other will be going sideways only a certain percentage of the time.

If the number of times that the particle measurements mirror each other goes above that threshold — regardless of what the particles are or the order in which the measurements are selected — that suggests the separated particles “choose” their state only at the moment they are measured. And it implies that the particles can instantly communicate with each other — the so-called spooky action at a distance that bothered Einstein so much.

These synched responses thereby contradict the notion of genuinely independent existence, a view that forms the foundation of the principle of local realism upon which the rules of classical mechanics are based. But, time after time, tests have shown that entangled particles do demonstrate correlated states that exceed the threshold; that the world is, indeed, spooky; and that Einstein was wrong. [The 18 Biggest Unsolved Mysteries in Physics]

Figure 4. Gamers again can help physicists in these complex issue of Dirac vs. Einstein.

I think it may be possible to create another solution to the world of controversy that will works for both. In reality, (if there is such a thing) we look to explain this amazing entanglement by an Einstein Rosen bridge or often referred to as a wormhole. This solution is not first put forth by me but by others such Sean Carroll. If the information can be transferred through a wormhole, then both could be correct for the most part. Not everything works in current theory so both must have something wrong. If we can figure what is reality maybe we can work backward to find a solution. If we are very lucky, maybe we can find a way to combine General Relativity with Quantum Mechanics. We can get rid of the things that do not work but keep everything that does then develop a general equation that specifies limits when one goes to zero and is not used. These are common ways chemists and physicists work to develop equations.

Figure 5. Dirac after winning his Nobel Prize in 1933. Credit Wikipedia

Dirac and Schrodinger shared the Nobel Prize for developing quantum mechanics. Dirac also developed the Dirac equation and Schrodinger developed the Schrodinger equation. Dirac combined the special theory of relativity with quantum theory to predict anti-matter. Dirac and Schrodinger’s quantum mechanics have helped science learn about the fundamental particles and how they behave that gives humanity a mathematical microscope, which provides great insight into nature as I see it.

More than two men developed quantum mechanics; the evolution of humanity and all the inventors, scientists, engineers to get special mention have all worked together to build our knowledge of these things.

Figure 6. Erwin Schrodinger was born on August 12, 1887, in Vienna, Austria, and he died in 1961. Credit Wikipedia

Erwin Schrödinger served in the Austro-Hungarian military during WWI; however, after the war he married and later became a Nobel-winning physicist in 1933, sharing the Nobel Prize for his work in Quantum Mechanics. He is best known for his thought experiment with his cat. The cat could be both alive and dead if it were a fundamental particle or an atom. Using the Quantum Theory, he and Dirac and thousands of other scientists and engineers have continued to test it predictions. It is always correct when tested on small things moving slowly; for things that move near the speed of light, there is the Dirac equation, and for large things like planets and moons and galaxies, then Einstein’s equation works.  Schrödinger became director at Ireland’s Institute for Advanced Studies. He also studied life and published What Is Life? He was the person who first detailed the molecule that is now called DNA.

2018-12-10T22:05:57-08:00 October 19th, 2018|Blog, Science|