back to article Physics Nobel Prize in a superposition between three quantum physicists

Physicists Alain Aspect, John Clauser and Anton Zeilinger were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics this week for performing breakthrough quantum entanglement experiments. Quantum entanglement is a phenomenon in which a group of particles share a quantum state even when they are physically separate over some distance. Measuring …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Measuring a property does not set it...

    You're not even looking at a photon, you're looking at the net effect of a photon on a detector.

    That's why you have red-shift/blue-shift, because the motion of the detector forms part of the property of the photon. The energy imparted depends on the motion of the matter, hence blue light has more energy than red.

    So in your head, you set the properties of the photon by measuring them, but in reality those were neither properties of the photon, nor independent of one another....

    The light doesn't carry all of the properties (here I'm mentioning its apparent energy changing for red/blue shift), it's properties are NET EFFECTS between the photon and the detectors.

    Its also true for other properties too, not just the photons energy, and the corresponding net frequency.

    Take two such net oscillations, one in the photon and one in the detector, you now have a net spin, (a photons circular polarization property, or the spin of a particle).

    So when measured by detector electron D1, the photon has NetSpin(D1,Photon), but when measured relative to electron D2, our photon has a different value NetSpin(D2,Photon) and so on.

    The photon appears to have lots of different NetSpin properties, all at the same time, depending on which detecting electron it is being measured with.

    This is the mechanism of Superposition. The photon has lots of spin properties all at the same time.

    When the photon is captured by a particular electron, e.g. D2, then NetSpin(D2, Photon) will dominate and it appears to have that spin property.

    So two 'entangled' photons, P and Q. They can have the same component of oscillation, and yet when you measure them with different detectors the spin property is different, for different detectors.

    What's more if you compare spin property to other properties, there appears to be no correlation.

    Properties that, common sense should be related (e.g. up/down left/right polarization and spin), don't seem to correlate to others (like circular polarization).

    So you hypothesize that NetSpin must be an independent property.

    P and Q head in different directions across the universe.

    Photon P is measured by a detector DP, and each time the experiment is performed you get a result (DP1, DP2, DP3, ...DPn) for n experiments.

    Photon Q is measured by a detector DQ, and each time the experiment is performed you get a result (DQ1, DQ2, DQ3,....DQn)

    Now the magic happens, you want P and Q to be entangled, so you filter for some net properties that are the same.

    Perhaps its frequency, perhaps some other motion, some net property NetProp, that you have decided doesn't correlate to NetSpin and thus is 'independent'.

    So perhaps in experiment 3, NetProp(P3, DP3) = to NetProp(Q3, DQ3), you decide that the third experiment was successful entanglement, while the others were unsuccessful entanglement.

    And now you find also that other properties, like our spin property NetSpin(P,DP3) is equal to NetSpin(Q,DQ3).

    AMAZING! you say, for entangled photons P3 and Q3, the act of measuring NetSpin(P3) set the NetSpin to be the same for Q3!

    Yet it's impossible, P and Q are across the universe and not connected, but it must be true, because there is no other explanation! (bs).

    But P and Q always had the same oscillating component, they were really always 'entangled'.

    What you did was filter for the subset of where the *detectors* are oscillating the same way.

    The photons, had the same properties, and you've filtered for the detectors that had the same properties, so now ALL the DERIVED properties between photon and detector are now the same.

    The only information that travelled across the universe was your "filter for experiment 3" signal!

    THE ACT OF MEASURING NetSpin(P3,DP3) DID NOT SET THAT PROPERTY IN PHOTON Q3. The spin property was never a property of P and Q, it was a NET EFFECT of P and Q on a detector.

    You could calculate the energy in this net spin too. You could pretend the energy of that spin is carried in the photon. Some sort of angular momentum, or spin momentum perhaps?

    But the spin is a net effect, and the apparent energy in that spin is a net effect. Each detector would detect a different 'spin momentum' energy in the photon.

    THERE IS NO ENERGY STORES LIKE MOMENTUM, ANGULAR MOMENTUM, and so on, that somehow cause a motion to occur. Because each detector detects different spins, the energy would be different for each, the energy is not carried solely by the photon.

    Hence blue light imparts more energy than red-light, even if the blue-light is the same red-light shifted by motion of the detector.

    [All entanglement experiments have two flaws: some sort of filtering and the statistical test (e.g. Bells) done on the filtered subset after you've filtered. The information that travels is the filtering signal.]

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Measuring a property does not set it...

      While we're here, have a look at one of those motions of the photon, its apparent "constant speed" in a vacuum property.

      c cannot be a constant.

      Given the above (motion effects are net effects, a particle's net motion appears to differ depending on which detector is viewing it), the apparent position of a particle or photon is also a net effect.

      [A particles cannot start in one place, move in different directions, and yet end up at the same place.

      Since the motion depends on the detector, and the same particle can appear to have different motion for different detectors, so the position those detectors see is different].

      You see this as tunneling effects in semiconductors, relative to individual atoms, the electron appears to be in different places. Position must be another net effect.

      So, now lets look at the photon, its position depends on the detector detecting it, it cannot be travelling at a constant speed c independent of the matter around it, because different detectors would detect the photon in different places.

      So c is not a constant.

      Yet it appears to be.

      Imagine the earth flying through space, left to right, the velocity of light relative to the earth should depend on which direction you measure it.

      Measure IN THE SAME DIRECTION OF THE MOTION OF THE EARTH and it should be less, racing along side earth.

      Measure IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION and it should be more, the earth and light moving apart, both contributing to the motion.

      But it doesn't. It always appears to be c.

      If it moves 100 atoms in time t, those 100 atoms much be squashed in the direction of travel, such that when you measure light in that direction, its motion is slower, and the atoms must be squashed, so it still travels 100 atoms in that time in that direction. And conversely in the opposing direction, atoms must be stretched.

      So the mechanism of motion that gives atoms their size and dimensions must be the *same* mechanism that light moves with. So that the two properties are affected equally. Both types of motion are the same type of motion, one a repeating pattern that loops back, matter, the other not, light.

      Hence light only *appears* to be a constant when compared to matter, because both are changed by the motion.

      Hence the magical constant c is not the actual speed of light, but only the same when you measure it against the local matter it is travelling alongside.

      [Side note: Black hole guys, boundary case: you think the event horizon is in a fixed position relative to the black hole? Nope. From the above, the real speed-of-light depends on the observer. A different observer with a different motion, has a different speed-of-light, and perceives the event horizon in a different place.

      So as you fall into the black hole the event horizon moves, it shifts with you. The set of stars you see, are a sliding window around you, new stars appear and disappear, they still exist, they're just not within your local event horizons.]

      1. Little Mouse Silver badge

        Re: Measuring a property does not set it...

        If physics was just a series of "logical" deductions extrapolated from flawed assumptions, we'd have had it all sorted out a long time ago.

        Unfortunately for your arguments, the actual* cornerstones of modern Physics are: lots and lots of hard to understand Maths, the scientific method, and the results of a few centuries of replicable experimentation.

        Caveat - IANAP either. Actual physicists are more than welcome to correct the above paragraph as necessary.

      2. DJO Silver badge

        Re: Measuring a property does not set it...

        Any supposition containing the phrase "c is not a constant" is inevitably going to be full of other mistakes.

        That c is a constant has been tested over and over again and there has not been even a scintilla of a hint to suggest it is not so.

        Time however does not run at the same rate in every circumstance, speed and gravity can both affect the passage of time which is where it gets complicated because even if you are in a location where time runs slower, you still will measure c to be around 300,000 km/s (in a vacuum).

        The event horizon or Schwarzschild Radius is easy to calculate: 2GM/c² (2 x the gravitational constant x the Mass of the object all divided by the square of the speed of light) and is the same for all observers.

        1. Fifth Horseman

          Re: Measuring a property does not set it...

          I've been a bit snarky and down-vote happy with this poster, but perhaps I have been a bit harsh. 'c', defined as being the speed of light *in a vacuum* (as you point out) is a pretty much unassailable constant. If it isn't, the whole of modern physics falls to bits very quickly. The actual speed of light does change depending on the medium it passes through, though, but the constant 'c' never changes, and the observed speed is always lower than this. This gives rise to some interesting phenomenon like Cherenkov radiation, the warm fuzzy blue glow you see around spent nuclear fuel rods in a cooling pool - essentially the light version of a "sonic boom" where some energetic particles are travelling faster than the *local* speed of light. But always below 'c'. Some condensed matter physics experiments have dropped the local speed of light down to a comfortable walking pace...

          So, maybe this is where the confusion is coming from. However the rest of the poster's arguments still make little sense, so I think perhaps resitting first year Relativity might not be a bad idea, then reading a good physical cosmology text for the black hole stuff.

      3. Jan 0 Silver badge

        Re: Measuring a property does not set it...

        Are you the same Anonymous Coward or an entangled pair?

        ObReg: == Bring us Dabbsy back! ==

      4. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Measuring a property does not set it...

        Thanks so much AC. But if it’s OK I’ll stick to Susskind.

      5. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Measuring a property does not set it...

        Ah, that's some good kookery. Keep it up, you nut!

    2. lglethal Silver badge

      Re: Measuring a property does not set it...

      I see that you have heard of paragraphs, but I'm not sure if you've quite understood how they actually work...

      Anyway, I havent bothered to read what you've written because clearly anyone who writes like that cannot be relied upon to make a salient and accurate point. The only thing missing is multiple exclamation marks...

    3. DJO Silver badge

      Re: Measuring a property does not set it...

      I don't think you quite understand what the term "spin" means when applied to sub-atomic particles.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: Measuring a property does not set it...

        I don't think you quite understand what the term "spin" means when applied to sub-atomic particles.

        Quantum physics is often like that. Just when you thought you understood the fundamental nature of the universe, Planck, Einstein et al come along with concepts like a 'quantum', then the photon, which has no mass or charge, yet carries energy. Then really fun concepts like getting a quantum field all excited by an imaginary mass, and violating causality in interesting ways.

        But entaglement has always fascinated me ever since hearing about the potential of quantum teleportation, which has the potential to disrupt telecommunications rather drastically.

        1. Il'Geller

          Re: Measuring a property does not set it...

          My Quantitative theory totally proves all the constructions of Einstein, Schrodinger, Poincare, and all Quantum Physics, while I started on the Avogadro number. That is, I came to exactly the same conclusions purely theoretically, having proved it with a lot of experiments. For example by double-slit, as well as Lebedev's on light pressure and "displacement current" experiments.

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: Measuring a property does not set it...

            See, this is why Ilya is a Grade A kook, and not a second-tier one like the OP (though OP is off to a decent start). Concise, not anonymous, almost coherent, yet still nonsensical – that's what we like to see.

            1. Il'Geller

              Re: Measuring a property does not set it...

              Ok, I am “ a Grade A kook”. What about the fact that quantum entanglement proves the need to abandon the notion of material points in Physics, which have clearly defined boundaries and the same defined number of their elements? Which the notion was introduced more than 300 years ago? Indeed, the fact that the entanglement exists clearly indicates that photons are accumulation points without any quantitative restrictions. I can be crazy, insane, whatever! But explain why my proposed interpretation of quantum entanglement is confirmed by the two-slit experiment, which also confirms my claim to abandon material points in Physics? Why we must continue to be with material points?

        2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Measuring a property does not set it...

          >I don't think you quite understand what the term "spin" means when applied to sub-atomic particles.

          Similarly the thaum is made up of so called resons, which are themselves made up of at least five flavours (including up, down, sideways, sex appeal and peppermint

      2. Fifth Horseman

        Re: Measuring a property does not set it...

        I don't think he/she understands any of it, frankly.

        1. Tessier-Ashpool

          Re: Measuring a property does not set it...

          To be honest, I’m not sure anyone “understands” quantum mechanics. “Shut up and calculate” appears to be the standard paradigm.

          Human concepts like “measure” and “particle” really become unstuck when the quantum world is involved, so I’m not sure it’s even valid to say that measuring one particle has an instant effect on the other. Too many rabbit holes involved there.

          But… if you say that nobody knows the state of a particle until you look, but when you do look it’s entangled counterpart must by definition be in an opposite state, how is that different to saying that you don’t actually have two particles at all? Rather, instead you have an extremely long entity with two disparate ends? And you don’t know if it’s A…B or B…A until you have a peek. No hidden variables, just something being something. Note that I am necessarily applying human concepts and words here. Under the hood the universe doesn’t really care about how we think.

    4. TheRealRoland

      Re: Measuring a property does not set it...

      You feel you deserved the prize, didn't you?

      1. Il'Geller

        Re: Measuring a property does not set it...

        Yes, I am. I created a theory and proved it experimentally.

        1. Fifth Horseman

          Re: Measuring a property does not set it...

          You will be more than happy to provide us with citations of your published and peer-reviewed research then, I assume?

          1. Il'Geller

            Re: Measuring a property does not set it...

            Citations you can find in English and Russian.

            The Quantitative theory coincides with Einstein's and is its continuation; without space, speed, acceleration, energy, and so on and so forth; the Set Theory is used, there photon is a smallest element.

            Postulate I: In this volume there is only this exact number of elements. (See the periodic table.)

            Postulate II: The inclusion time of the minimum element in any set is the minimum possible. (The speed of light.)

            And everything is deduced from a single axiom:

            — There are one, two, three or more elements into any point of accumulation. (Cantor)

            Which makes photon an exception and material point, which doesn’t exist among points of accumulation (string, the String Theory).

            1. Il'Geller

              Re: Measuring a property does not set it...

              Therefore, quantum entanglement is explained very simply: accumulation points have no boundaries, any such the point interacts with everything in the universe. The fact that “everything in our universe is an accumulation point” is proved by a lot of experiments; for example, by double-slit. That is, the Nobel Prize was awarded for proving that photons are not material, but points of accumulation, since being observed they become parts of the sets. Whereas material points are not sets.

  2. lglethal Silver badge

    Whenever I hear about Quantum Entanglement, I cant help but think of the following Terry Pratchett quote:

    "The only thing known to go faster than ordinary light is monarchy, according to the philosopher Ly Tin Wheedle. He reasoned like this: you can't have more than one king, and tradition demands that there is no gap between kings, so when a king dies the succession must therefore pass to the heir instantaneously. Presumably, he said, there must be some elementary particles -- kingons, or possibly queons -- that do this job, but of course succession sometimes fails if, in mid-flight, they strike an anti-particle, or republicon. His ambitious plans to use his discovery to send messages, involving the careful torturing of a small king in order to modulate the signal, were never fully expanded because, at that point, the bar closed.”

    May the bar remain wide open for these bright Boffins...

    1. Anonymous Coward

      This whole quantum thing

      I blame it on the History Monks who go around altering space and time as needed to create the right history.

      But a pint of Turbot's Really Odd Ale for the boffins, nevertheless.

      1. Il'Geller

        Re: This whole quantum thing

        In Set Theory there is no "distance between", and there is no such thing for all inanimate substance. Atom or stone, planet Earth know nothing about the distance. Therefore, it is necessary to change Physics to Set Theory.

  3. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    79, 75, 77

    It's called work, whippersnappers. A lifetime of it.

    Kardashians they are not.

    1. MiguelC Silver badge

      Re: 79, 75, 77

      They are now, when they were awarded the Nobel prize.

      But, Clauser did his first experiment in 1972, Aspect in the 80's and Zellinger made his contribution in 1997.

      So, they were quite younger when they did their thing.

      1. Jan 0 Silver badge

        Re: 79, 75, 77

        > So, they were quite younger when they did their thing.

        Will anyone remember, yet alone reward, the Kardashians when they are that old?

        ObReg: == Bring us Dabbsy back! ==

      2. Fifth Horseman

        Re: 79, 75, 77

        Quite. Most physicists (probably Nobel Laureates in other disciplines too) ultimately win the prize for their earliest works, and then ultimately struggle to achieve anything else of note - Einstein being the classic example, and perhaps John Bardeen the classic exception. Shin'ichiro Tomonaga, joint recipient of the 1965 prize - Quantum Electrodynamics - with Richard Feynmann and Julian Schwinger was quite amused that he was the "old man" of the three.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: 79, 75, 77

          >Quite. Most physicists (probably Nobel Laureates in other disciplines too) ultimately win the prize for their earliest works,

          I wonder how much this is true of the work, or does the committee look around and see there was nothing noteworthy+reliable+believable this year (gravitational waves, event horizon telescope, Higgs) and so they dig through the file of old discoveries that haven't been recognised yet ?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 79, 75, 77

          Einstein is almost exactly the opposite of someone who won "...the prize for their earliest works, and then ultimately struggle[d] to achieve anything else of note". His 1921 Nobel was for his work on the Photoelectric Effect. His work on Relativity was done afterwards.

          1. Il'Geller

            Re: 79, 75, 77

            Why do you need Einstein? I took his throne. From now on you can discuss what I did and what I didn't do instead. My Quantitative theory, as a continuation of Einstein's Relativistic but without relativism, gives me the right to sit on his and Newton's throne: my theory has already been proven experimentally.

      3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: 79, 75, 77

        As Scott Aaronson put it in his blog post the other day:

        As usual, the recipe for winning the Nobel Prize in Physics is this:

        (1) Do something where anyone who knows about it is like, “why haven’t they given the Nobel Prize in Physics for that yet?”

        (2) Live long enough.

        1. Il'Geller

          Re: 79, 75, 77

          The guys have no theory, just an experiment without it; but Einstein had a constant at the basis of his Relativity. I looked at his constant from the reverse side: instead of the speed of light I have a photon acceptance time in the set. Also, in my theory, I have only one watch. Around this time-constant, through the Avogadro number, a theory confirmed, for example, by this Nobel quantum entanglement is built: everything is an accumulation and not a material point. Which is trivial, right? But the guys got a Nobel for this!.. knowing not for what they got the Prize.

  4. Potemkine! Silver badge

    So subspace is for real?

    If instantaneous communication is indeed possible, it will be a revolution for space communications.

    == Bring us Dabbsy back! ==

    1. DJO Silver badge

      Re: So subspace is for real?

      You cannot use entanglement to transmit data. It's not possible to set a property of one particle to affect a separate one, you can read one and infer the properties of the other but not in a way that can pass data between the two. Once the waveform is collapsed and the properties of one particle read and the other inferred the entanglement is permanently broken.

      It's a shame but physics is like that.

      1. badflorist Silver badge

        Re: So subspace is for real?

        "It's not possible..."

        Just send it home.

  5. TeeCee Gold badge

    Alain Aspect, John Clauser and Anton Zeilinger

    ..may be happy now, but just wait until the prize collapses into a known state and two of them miss out.

    1. b0llchit Silver badge

      That is why you can never look or collect your prized prize!

      Or,... one will get the prize, one will get the anti-prize and one will have peeked and gone empty.

  6. twellys

    [...] sequenced the genomes of Neanderthals and discovered Denisovans

    Ah, B Ark then?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: B Ark then?


  7. Il'Geller

    The interference pattern, in Young's 200-and-something years old double-slit experiment, appears on the screen when the width of the slits approaches the wavelength of the emitted monochromatic light. If the width of the slots is increased, then the illumination of the screen will increase, but the severity of the minima and maxima of the interference pattern will fall until it completely disappears. This experiment is practically the same as the all for quantum entanglement.

    In the double-slit experiment, we are talking about the excitation of atoms at the edges of the slits, due to the photoelectric effect. That is, due to the inclusion of extra photons in the atoms, which takes them out of a more-or-less stationary state. Under the influence of it the direction of movement of photons changes: instead of the shortest they choose other. Also obvious that the minima and maxima are set by the spins of electrons, as well as by a doubtable possibility that other nucleons (forming atoms) influence the process.

    This photoelectric exists because these atoms are accumulation but not material points, with not somehow limited-fixed number of elements (for material there is no such). Indeed, the fact that the interference pattern blurs (with the increase in the width) clearly confirms that, where the capture force on passing by photons (due to excitation) decreases depending on the distance to the center of the atoms; which is confirmed by a rewritten for accumulation Newton's and Coulomb's laws.

    In the case of quantum entanglement photons can interact because they are accumulation points; which the interaction can be seen because they are sets with a very few elements. Hence atoms aren't material points too! But it's problematic to fix the same entangelemnt due to their number of elements, even if there is one.

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