Was Einstein wrong about quantum entanglement?

  • Einstein's local realism phenomena does not apply to quantum mechanics.
  • 100,000 gamers were used to generate 90 million random numbers.
  • The Bell Test once again approves of quantum entanglement.
Albert Einstein was proven wrong by a research conducted by the Institute of Photonic Sciences, Barcelona. The research contradicted his ideas regarding “spooky action at a distance” also known as quantum entanglement, which is the cornerstone of quantum mechanics -- or the physics of subatomic particles.

The research, conducted by an international team of physicists from 12 institutions, managed to close a loophole, which supporters of Einstein's theory have long cited.

Quantum entanglement is the term coined for a special connection between pairs or groups of photons, or any objects described by quantum mechanics. Einstein described quantum entanglement as “spooky action at a distance” because the particles which are entangled can communicate over vast distances. He did agree with quantum mechanics, but he found quantum entanglement to be impossible in terms of the traditional laws of physics.

He said that such quantum behavior was impossible and it could only be explained by “instructions” that are embedded in the entangled particles at the time of their generation,

according to the principle he proposed, called local realism. The concept expressed by Einstein is incompatible with quantum mechanics. Quantum mechanics shows that observing particles in the universe can change their characteristics, thereby violating the principle.

Moreover, particles that are linked or can communicate over vast distances in an instant — the “spooky action at a distance” — violate the principle that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light.

The Experiment

The experiment, called The Bell Test, was conducted to look for the presence of “hidden” variables, that are not a part of the quantum theory, to explain the behaviour of subatomic particles, like photons.

The test involved two sites, named “Alice” and “Bob”. In the experiment, a pair of entangled particles is generated. These generated entangled particles are then sent to these stations and parallel measurements are made. Now, if the measurements agree with one-another (i.e if one has a positive spin the other should have a negative spin and vice-versa) then Einstein's principle of local realism is disapproved.

The study, published in the journal “Nature”, involved more than 100,000 gamers around the world, who played a custom-made online game called The Big Bell Quest. The game was all about generating random numbers. This provided the scientists with more than 90 million randomly human-generated binary digits, which were then used in the experiments to measure the state of the particles.

The results of the experiment showed that the quantum particles that are separated by a large distance, can concurrently affect each other, which in turn contradicts Einstein's principle of local realism.

The wide and totally random data used makes sure that the results are correct. Furthermore, these results agree with those of experiments conducted in 2015, in which other groups of researchers also developed loophole-free Bell tests.
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