Few would deny the brilliance of the physicist Albert Einstein, but it might surprise some people to learn that his contributions to science are still innovating long after his death.
According to The Australian, the principles of quantum mechanics, discovered by a team of scientists including Albert Einstein more than 80 years ago, are being applied to computer code to transfer information securely over the internet. This method of utilizing quantum physics can keep information safe from even the most skilled hackers.
The quantum phenomenon has been called “quantum steering” by another Nobel Prize winning scientist who’s not quite as famous as Albert Einstein, but you still might recognize the name – Erwin Schrodinger. Schrodinger is most famous for the Schrodinger’s Cat thought experiment which illustrates how a quantum particle can theoretically maintain two states at once.
This principle, along with the findings of Albert Einstein, can be exploited for the benefit of modern technology, thanks to the research of Griffith University physicist Geoff Pryde. Pryde claims Einstein’s discovery has been developed into a new advancement that could create virtually unhackable credit card payments.
“Quantum physics promises the possibility of absolutely secure information transfer, where personal data sent over the internet could be completely isolated from hackers,” said Professor Geoff Pryde.
Using Einstein’s discovery, Pryde says the advancement can generate “truly random and uncrackable codes.” The property is known as “quantum entanglement,” which occurs with groups of particles that interact in such a way that the state of each individual particle can’t be identified independently of one another. Pryde’s team discovered a way to circumvent Einstein’s quantum confusion with a confirmed, reliable method called “quantum steering.” While tests still need to be run to ensure the system is “security proof,” Professor Pryde is confident that Einstein’s principles have been successfully used to meet “ideal” security protocol.
While Pryde admitted there have been prototypes in the past using Einstein’s quantum physics to secure information, they only managed to protect the transmission channel, not the actual devices sending and receiving the information. In an age of increasingly skilled hackers, it is essential to find new ways to encrypt and transmit code so that malicious software can’t gain access.
Another recent innovation has also used Einstein’s discoveries about quantum mechanics to allow for larger exploration of optical networks. This method also used quantum steering, utilizing the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen (EPR) paradox to generate a new connection called the “EPR steering entanglement.” Albert Einstein called EPR Steering “spooky actions at a distance,” but it turns out those actions might be more useful than “spooky.”
“We used an optical network to experimentally confirm how this spooky type of entanglement can be shared over not just two, but three or more distinct optical systems,” said Dr. Seiji Armstrong of the Quantum Computing Centre Node at ANU.
It seems like Albert Einstein’s brain is still working for the benefit of human kind.
The new findings using Einstein’s old discoveries were published in the journal Nature Communications on January 7.