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Scientists Disprove Einstein's Local Realism Theory With The Help Of 100,000 Gamers

May 12, 2018 01:35 AM EDT
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In a mission to prove Albert Einstein's idea of quantum physics wrong, scientists enlisted the help of 100,000 online gamers.

Armed with nothing more, gaming enthusiasts around the world can participate in The BIG Bell Test to offer the element of unpredictability in quantum entanglement experiments.

Einstein's Principle Of Local Realism

Einstein's local realism depends on a universe independent of human observations, where influences can't travel faster than light.

The Bell Test, named after physicist John Stewart Bell, was designed to prove Einstein's local realism wrong by sending pairs of entangled particles to different locations where their properties — colors, time of arrival, etc. — are measured.

If the measurements tend to match regardless of which properties the scientists choose to measure, it means that either the measurement of one particle affects the other despite the distance between them or the properties never existed and were only created by the measurements themselves.

Countless of experiments have shown entangled particles being in sync across considerable distances, which Einstein dubbed "spooky action at a distance."

However, for the Bell Test to truly prove the argument against local realism, complete randomness in what properties are being measured is necessary — and true randomness is a difficult notion to achieve, Live Science notes. After all, invisible factors can affect a researcher's seemingly unbiased selections and so-called random computer-generated data isn't even truly random at all. Physical systems, such as computer data and a roll of a die, still offer the possibility of being coordinated with the entangled particles.

This flaw in the test is called the "freedom of choice loophole."

The BIG Bell Test

Enter, the BIG Bell Test. Starting the experiments in November 2016, the researchers introduced the human element with participants making their choice independent of the entangled particles.

The BIG Bell Test, which is described in the website as "worldwide quantum physics experiments powered by human randomness," has participants playing a game with the goal of being as random as possible in tapping out sequences of ones and zeroes.

The players' random choices were used to select the measurement settings for the comparison of the entangled particles. The data was then sent to 12 laboratories around the world to be measured.

The findings demonstrated correlated measurements that, according to the study published on May 9 in the journal Nature, "strongly contradict local realism and other realistic positions in bipartite and tripartite scenarios."

"What is most amazing for me is that the argument between Einstein and Niels Bohr, after more than 90 years of effort to make it rigorous and experimentally testable, still retains a human and philosophical element," Morgan Mitchell, project leader from the Institut de Ciències Fotòniques in Spain, says in a statement. "We know that the Higgs boson and gravitational waves exist thanks to amazing machines, physical systems built to test the laws of physics. But local realism is a question we can't fully answer with a machine. It seems we ourselves must be part of the experiment, to keep the Universe honest."

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