Decades ago, Albert Einstein famously dismissed quantum entanglement as a “spooky action from a distance,” seeing it as little more than a coincidence that two linked objects, no matter how far apart they are, change their properties one after the other faster than the speed of light. With recent experiments, as previously reported by the Inquisitr, having used varying methodologies to prove that such actions are possible, even in objects barely visible to the naked eye, an even bigger experiment appears to have done the trick as well, according to new reports.
As recalled by Live Science, the experiment took place on November 30, 2016, as a multinational team of researchers and over 100,000 volunteers participated in an online video game session that produced 97 million “binary digits,” or the smallest form of computer data unit. These randomized bits of data were then used in Bell tests, which are designed to prove how mysteriously linked, or “entangled” particles can transfer information faster than the speed of light, and change properties by “choosing” their states once they are measured.
According to Institute of Photonic Sciences professor of quantum optics Morgan Mitchell, a co-author on a study describing the experiment that was published Wednesday in the journal Nature, the findings go against Einstein’s “local realism” theory, and therefore disprove his statements about quantum entanglement being a “spooky,” coincidental action.
“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 an email to Live Science.
In another interesting takeaway, Mitchell said that the experiment’s results created a conundrum of sorts, where it isn’t clear whether our own observations change the way particles react, or if these particles are interacting in ways that are beyond our control, and impossible for us to see with the naked eye.
Further explaining the methodologies used in the large-scale experiment, Live Science wrote that Bell tests were first conducted in the 1970s to determine the plausibility of Einstein’s local realism theory. These tests involve the comparison of random measurements of particles that are located in two varying places. Should the two particles’ measurements be similar to each other a given number of times, that would hint that the particles only “choose” their properties when they are being measured, and that they are somehow “communicating” with each other at that time, a phenomenon described by Einstein as a “spooky action at a distance.”
In the example of the experiment, thousands of players, or “Bellsters,” took part in the “Big Bell Test,” playing an online tapping game where they tapped on two buttons on a screen with corresponding values of one and zero. The participants quickly tapped on the buttons at random, with their choices being relayed back to the researchers, who were located in laboratories across five different continents. Separately, the labs conducted their own quantum experiments, using varying types of particles, and it was through these smaller experiments that they concluded that there was a “strong disagreement with local realism.”
Commenting on how his team disproved Einstein’s “spooky action” conclusion and his theory of local realism in general, Mitchell told Motherboard that there are some limitations to, or “loopholes” in the experiment. While these need to be closed, he added that there was one important loophole closed by the fact that so many people volunteered for the experiment — the first-ever lack of a freedom-of-choice loophole in a Bell test, or one where the settings used in these tests can be colored or influenced by “hidden variables,” thus making it hard to prove whether local realism is plausible or not.