Gheorghe Curelet-Balan Blog

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Even Einstein could be wrong.

If you want to know how he was wrong... come and see on March 2nd, Anton Zeilinger's ("Mr. Beam") Perimeter Institute public lecture "From Einstein to Quantum information".

For reference I'm quoting below from the lecture page:

"Anton Zeilinger has worked in top level universities and research centres around the world. In 1997, Zeilinger and his colleagues confirmed aspects of quantum teleportation by actually teleporting light particles – earning him the nickname ‘Mr. Beam.’

The year 2005 is the World Year of Physics, because 100 years ago, Albert Einstein published his first ground-breaking papers including two on the theory of relativity. Actually, the first paper published deals with quantum physics, where Einstein proposes that light consists of particles, today called photons. This is the only paper from that year which he himself called “revolutionary”, and it is the one for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize.

Despite having opened up an important door for quantum physics, Einstein remained a critic of the new quantum theory for all his life. His criticism focused around three points. Firstly, he did not accept the new role played by randomness, which implies that for the individual event in quantum physics, no causal chain exists. Secondly, he criticized the phenomenon of entanglement, where measurement of one particle changes the quantum state of another one instantly, no matter how far away. Thirdly, and most generally, he criticized the notion of complementarity as proposed by Niels Bohr, which ultimately implies that it is wrong to assign quantum objects well-defined properties without actually performing an experiment allowing us to determine them.

Following Einstein’s criticism, a number of experiments have been performed, which confirm quantum mechanics even for individual particles. Most surprisingly, these have given rise to a new field, quantum information science, where just the points criticized by Einstein, randomness, entanglement and complementarity are applied to transmit and to process information in novel ways. The most interesting applications are quantum communication, quantum cryptography, quantum teleportation and quantum computation."


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