Closing a Loophole in Physics Theorem of UniverseCategory: Science & Technology
Posted: February 21, 2014 10:02AM
There are multiple physical theories and mechanics that influence the world around us, and some of them even compete with each other, in certain scenarios. For decades now, physicists have been questioning which theories form the basis of the Universe, but finally we may be drawing close to an answer. Researchers at MIT have recently devised a way to test and potentially close a loophole in Bell's inequality, which could indicate if the classical or quantum mechanics are the foundation of the Universe.
Bell's inequality was developed fifty years ago to address the disparity of classical and quantum mechanics, as it pertains to certain phenomenon, such as entanglement. Entanglement is when two particles become so strongly coupled that measuring one will immediately affect the other, no matter how separated they are. Bell's inequality would limit entanglement, if classical mechanics is at the heart of the Universe. Since it was developed, researchers have been testing it, and finding loopholes. One major loophole still remains, the so-called 'free will' loophole. According to this loophole, the particle detectors measuring the particles may be biased towards certain measurements, due to some shared causal past. Therefore, the detectors, and the scientists operating them do not truly have free will, as the particles is concerned.
What the MIT researchers have proposed is taking advantage of distant quasars to make the measurements. By selecting two quasars, which can be nearly the age of the Universe, on opposite sides of the visible Universe, one should be able to assume that they and the light they emit have not shared any information since the Universe was born. The light from these quasars would be used to determine the settings of the particle detectors, and after enough measurements it should be possible to say if the particles are more strongly entangled than classical mechanics allows, thus indicating the Universe is based on quantum mechanics. Usefully, the proposed experiment can be completed with current technology, so it could happen in a few years.