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Physicists spooked by faster-than-light information transfer

Physicists spooked by faster-than-light information transfer : Nature News

Physicists at the University of Geneva achieved the weird result by creating a pair of ‘entangled’ photons, separating them, then sending them down a fibre optic cable to the Swiss villages of Satigny and Jussy, some 18 kilometres apart.

The researchers found that when each photon reached its destination, it could instantly sense its twin’s behaviour without any direct communication. The finding does not violate the laws of quantum mechanics, the theory that physicists use to describe the behaviour of very small systems. Rather, it shows just how quantum mechanics can defy everyday expectation, says Nicolas Gisin, the researcher who led the study. “Our experiment just puts the finger where it hurts,” he says.

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  1. Sakinho
    August 30th, 2008 at 16:32 | #1

    Well, since now anyone can comment on the site, I thought I’d come back to this post, even though I’m pretty sure no one will ever see it again =p

    There was no FTL communication in the experiment. Actually, there are quite a few news articles out there that took the experiment in the wrong way. It doesn’t disprove relativity at all. What it does is disprove a quantum mechanical theory some scientist came up with that did not involve uncertainty, or in other words, a deterministic quantum mechanical theory.

    They theory they helped disprove already went against much of what is widely accepted as truth in the scientific community, so it was never given much attention. This was like the final nail in a coffin though. The paper proved that, if a deterministic quantum mechanical theory is to exist, it must involve some sort of information transfer at speeds over ten thousand times the speed of light to account for quantum entanglement. Since special relativity has a huge experimental backing, it’s practically certain that a deterministic quantum theory is unreal.

    Here is a link with a better view on the experiment: http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20080813-bohms-bummed-wave-theory-needs-10000x-light-speed-to-work.html
    As it says in the last sentece of the third paragraph, with emphasis due to the importance, “Although this sounds like it can be used for information transfer, it cannot, so special relativity is safe.”

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