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Experiment Proves Einstein's 'Spooky Actions' Happen


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When quantum mechanics was still in its infancy, many scientists took up positions for and against it, with Albert Einstein initially against it. The reason he was against it is because he and another scientist worked out a scenario that would require "spooky action at a distance" to be possible under the new rules. Today we know that phenomenon to be quantum entanglement, but we have still been checking that there are no non-quantum answers, and researchers at NIST have settled the question.

The scenario Einstein helped develop was that two quanta could be made to share a state, such that revealing the state of one would instantly affect the other. That problem is that instant effect because according to Relativity, information cannot travel faster than the speed of light, so some 'spooky action' must be involved. While on paper entanglement is the answer, in reality there are other ways to replicate the phenomenon without invoking quantum mechanics, such as by having sampling biases, not having detection separated enough. The NIST experiment was able to rule out these loopholes though, thanks to new technologies that can efficiently detect photons faster than light-speed communication could reach from one detector to another, and with settings picked by random number generators.

The results technically do not prove quantum mechanics is the answer, but leave only a one in 170 million chance that some local hidden action is the solution. This exceeds the five sigma confidence level needed to declare a discovery to the particle physics community.

Source: NIST



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