The popcorn experiment and spooky action-at-a-distance

Macroscopic EPR experiment

In 1964, John Bell became fascinated by the EPR paradox, an idea that Einstein had dreamt up to highlight what he saw as a major flaw in quantum mechanics.

The paradox (called EPR after Einstein and his mates Boris Podolsky and Nathan Rosen) is a thought experiment involving two particles that share the same quantum state. The particles become separated. Then a measurement is made on one particle which immediately determines the state of the other, regardless of the distance between them. This, said Einstein, violates special relativity and is in an act of “spooky action-at-a-distance”.

For thirty years or so, physicists ignored this paradox, all that is, except Bell, a physicist at CERN, the European particle physics laboratory near Geneva.

Bell developed a set of inequalities that could be tested against experiment. If violated, Bell’s inequalities would prove that quantum mechanics and relativity really were at odds.

At first everbody ignored Bell’s ideas but in 1984, a French team succeeded in showing that quantum mechanics did violate the inequalities. Today Bell’s inequalities are routinely violated in quantum laboratories all over the world, leaving little doubt over the issue.

Except for Joy Christian at the University of Oxford, who says that Bell’s inequalities ought to be violated on a macroscopic scale as well as the quantum level.

His assertion is based on an argument about the topology of space. In particular, he relies on a bizarre property of space that, like the EPR paradox,  physicists have tended to  ignore. It is this: turn an object through 360 degrees and it returns to its starting position, right? Actually, no. Not if you’re dealing with fermions such as protons and electrons which have a 720 degree symmetry. To get back to the start, you actually need to rotate them through two full turns.

Christian’s argument is that Bell’s inequalities take no account of this property, which he likens to taking an image apart pixel by pixel but without numbering them and then trying to put them back together again. He says this is the reason why Bell’s inequalities are violated, because they do not take account of the toplogy of space, not because of any spooky action-at-a-distance (although this doesn’t rule that out).

He suggests a somewhat tricky experiment that could be done on the macroscopic scale which would also violate Bell’s inequalities as strongly as on the microscopic scale. It involves measuring how balls pop apart when they’re heated,  like popcorn (this is not a joke, see the paper for full details).

So is Christian implying that there’s nothing strange about the quantum world that isn’t also strange about the macroscopic world? And that perhaps Einstein was onto something after all?

Obviously, we need to take a closer look at this “macroscopic world” everybody is talking about.

Ref: Can Bell’s Prescription for Physical Reality Be Considered Complete?
His says that a macroscopic test of Bell’s inequalities and today he explains why.

9 Responses to “The popcorn experiment and spooky action-at-a-distance”

  1. Diggers says:

    Reference one of this paper sounds really solid. This could be hot shit…

  2. ZEPHIR says:

    By Aether Wave Theory the quantum mechanics is simply Newtonian mechanics of multicomponent systems. Some macroscopic experiments are demonstrating this interpretation already.

    If so, which mechanical analogy of quantum entanglement can we use for explanation of non-locality of entangled particles? For example, we can imagine the pair of entangled photons as a pair of levitating superfluous droplets, which are prepared by splitting of single undulating droplet into two halves by thin wire. During this action the surfaces of resulting droplets will remain undulate “in phase” with respect to common center of mass, so they can fuse & recover the original droplet without lost of information after occasional contact. From certain perspective, these droplets are having a rudimentary “memory”, as they’re “remembering” their common origin, despite of their mutual distance (“spooky action at distance”) and as such they’re forming the separated piece of Universe (the reminiscence to Everett’s “many words” concept is apparent here). Note that the undulation frequency and amplitude itself aren’t sufficient for complete restoration of the original state of droplet. The phase of quantum waves serves here as a “hidden variable” – it’s required for complete description of system state, but it’s unmeasurable by common techniques. This is because every attempt to detect/measure the phase of surface undulation will result into desynchronizing of the surface undulations under the lost of entanglement of the original droplet pair (this is the principle of “quantum cryptography”). By AWT the real particles are formed by complex dense clusters of quantum fluctuations with many surface levels (“droplets of droplets”), so they can be entangled in many hidden dimensions at the same moment.

  3. Dave Bacon says:

    Um, isn’t there like a gigantic hole in this idea: which is that violations of local realism are thought to hold for objects above and beyond spins?

  4. Blake Stacey says:

    There is nothing in this world so helpless and depraved as a man in the depths of a luminiferous æther binge.

    Other than that, what Dave Bacon said.

  5. Aaron says:

    Dave: can you explicitly give one? The only thing that comes to my mind is decay products. From the CoM frame, they should have equal and opposite momenta, and at a fixed time t later equal and opposite positions. I haven’t worked out the math to show that this will violate bell’s inequality, and it seems like measuring at an “angle” that’s not 90 degrees would be difficult.

    Can we make a non-spin analog of the GHZ state?

  6. Zephir says:

    Re Blake: Forget the impertinent “Aether” word and try to answer simple question for yourself: “In which extent the pair of droplets undulating “in phase” differs from pair of photons entangled “at distance”?

    It’s as easy, as it is.

  7. Zephir says:

    How we can understand the sentence “…by providing a purely classical, topological explanation for the EPR-Bohm type spin correlations, it is demonstrated why Bell inequalities must be violated in the manifestly local, macroscopic domain, just as strongly as they are in the microscopic domain”?

    By AWT the Aether motion inside of particles is simmilar to “boiling fluid”, where the virtual particles are moving along nested spiral paths, fullfilling the SO(3) conformal symmetry of half-integer insintric spin. This enables the particle to behave like two-axis gyroscope with respect to the rotation in every direction (compare the Fig1 from article discussed). This behavior follows from the fact, the surface of every particle/dropplet is formed by density gradient of vacuum, where the environment has two degrees motion freedom.

    If we consider the presence of “surfaces”, maintaining the undulating/spin state of particles, we can explain the entanglement by “purely classical way” – i.e. by Newtonian/Aether mechanic way without tachyon based “action at distance” and other mysterious interpretations. And this is exactly, what Joy Christian has said. It doesn’t mean, the other explanations are wrong, they’re simply dual/plural to classical explanations – which can be usefull sometimes, sometimes not.

  8. R.Mirman says:

    QM does not require action-at-a-distance (that would violate an uncertainty principle). It is classical mechanics that does. The ordinary analysis is full of mistakes and misunderstandings. See the QM,QFT book for detailed analyses (and classical experiment showing this?). Let us stop all this nonsense.

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    Existence, of the universe, structure, life, intelligence, is unthinkable, really impossible. Incredibly, intriguingly, we are here. From the universe itself to humans, that we are, what we are, what we have accomplished, we find implausibility upon implausibility making us as reasoning beings (at least almost) unique in the universe, quite fortunate, but quite dangerous. SETI is nonsense. Reasons range from mathematically rigorous — unavoidable — to extremely strong to highly likely. These force the question: does the word God exist?

    This discussion is aimed at all interested in not only science, but in the world in which we (strangely can and do) live, the laws of nature, in what humanity is and why. It has in addition much material of value to specialists, and because of its breadth and coherence, its attempts to provoke thought, it, besides being a popularization, should be an excellent text for courses in science for non-scientists and as a (perhaps necessary) supplement for science courses.

    Existence is the greatest mystery, not only that it is but that it can be. Conditions are too many, too strict, too conflicting. Outlandishly we are, yet that we are impose upon us the responsibilities of loneliness. Horrendously our most basic need is to hate, hurt and kill, to horribly misuse that awesome, and likely unique, gift of intelligence — destroying, dishonoring, the most magnificent constituent of nature.

    The most elementary arithmetic, just counting, should make a universe impossible. Why then does one actually exist? Just counting, not even concepts of numbers and arithmetic are needed, just nothing, but in that nothing there is so much, so much that is so necessary. Nothing, but that nothing gives everything, existence itself. Why can, why should, our invention, mathematics, tell nature that it can be, what it must be? Is it counting or is it physics? Is it physics or just mere numbers? Yet mathematics extends almost infinitely beyond numbers, our mathematics that we create. That is the strangest part of being human: we can — and do — create rules for nature. And nature obeys. There is no reason that we should even have mathematical talent, no reason for it to have developed. Humans have immense, but quite unreasonable, talents not only in mathematics — totally unreasonable but true. Why? And they work.

    We look, we see, but do not notice. The nothingness that is space much requires noticing — the opulent structure of the emptiness is essential, even for just a universe. There is so much to see, especially because there is nothing to see. We should learn, and we should look.

    What do we mean when we say that space is 3+1-dimensional, that the space part of space is 3-dimensional, and that there is also another dimension, time? Couldn’t we say that space is 3-dimensional and that time is an independent dimension? Why do we even say that space is 3-dimensional rather then space having 3 independent dimensions? And why is temperature not like time? So we have to consider how to turn around, even between space and time. If space is 3+1-dimensional some distances, and masses, are real, some imaginary. There must be a boundary: the boundary cone, unfortunately called the light cone. Light and gravity (these only) travel on it and only on it. Why?

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    It is shocking to see what leaders of the “physics” community, from the top universities, whose work appears in the leading journals, are working on, supported by taxpayer money. Do “physicists” really believe that an object (including a “physicist”) can be in two places at the same time; that “physicists” are so extremely important that just by looking at something they cause the entire universe to split into many universes; that gravity can leak out of the universe; that our universe was started by “another universe” smashing into it (perhaps periodically); that part of the universe is rolled up into a tiny tube and that the dimension is actually 10 or 11 rather than the obvious (and necessary) 3+1; that 1 can have different values in different parts of the universe or at different times; that particles pop out of the vacuum to change solutions of equations; that the vacuum has energy; that a function (which depends on space so has different values at different points) equals a constant (which has the same value at all points); that they are melting the vacuum? Does the American Physical Society advocate that its member lie to Congress to get money, showing deep contempt for Congress, taxpayers, physics and honesty, or do they claim that they have crystal balls in their offices? Evidence is compelling. IS IT ALL A DELIBERATE MULTI-BILLION DOLLAR FRAUD? Taxpayers should be concerned.

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  9. Diggers says:

    Jesus, why are there all these cranks?
    Blake: Nice Fear and Loathing reference 🙂