Quantum Nonlocality versus Einstein’s Locality Essay
Quantum Nonlocality versus Einstein’s Locality
In the article by David Z. Albert and Rivka Galchen entitled Was Einstein Wrong? : A Quantum Threat to Special Relativity, certain points were established which relate to the conflicting perspectives between nonlocality in Quantum Mechanics and locality in Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity. The argument is focused on the possibility that Einstein might be wrong in his scientific notion that the “physical world comes from each of the smallest and most elementary particle constituents” which could be summed up to provide us “the full story of the world” (Albert and Galchen).
First, let us establish the idea of locality and nonlocality: dynamic locality (or Einstein locality) means that there is no possible action at a distance. Contrary to this, Quantum Mechanical nonlocality assumes that “a pair of particles could be […] feet apart and yet neither particle on its own has a definite position” (Albert and Galchen). In these definitions, we can establish that the there is an absolute difference in terms of particle motion and characteristics pertaining to position or distance.
Furthermore, it was also mentioned in the article that in Quantum Mechanics, it is possible for a pair of particles to “spin in opposite ways yet with neither one definitely spinning clockwise” (Albert and Galchen) wherein we can deduce that the spin or polarization of the particles involved in an entanglement could happen regardless of particle property or position. Entanglement “may connect particles irrespective of where they are, what they are, and what forces they may exert on one another” (Albert and Galchen).
This seemingly incompatible notion of nonlocality had been thought of and written about by Einstein as a flaw to the principles of Quantum Mechanics, yet as it was received with much enthusiasm by the scientific world, it remained unrefuted and supported by many other works, including Bohr’s belief that the apparent nonlocality cannot read Quantum Mechanics in a “realistic picture of the world” (Albert and Galchen). However, in the ensuing years, Bell was able to muster confidence over the apparent nonlocality that is in question.
He proposed that “if any manifestly and completely local algorithm existed that made the same predictions for the outcomes of experiments as the Quantum Mechanical algorithm does, then [it] would have been right to dismiss nonlocalities” (Albert and Galchen). Conversely, he induced that since there are no algorithms which could avoid nonlocalities, it follows that these nonlocalities must be genuine and not just apparent. Considering so, Aspect was able to provide experimental confirmation.
He noted that “if the actual physical world is nonlocal, then locality as an incompatible concept affects the principle of locality” (Albert and Galchen) and therefore points to Special Relativity as it relies in this principle. In Einstein’s Special Relativity, it is believed that there is an “impossibility of transmitting messages faster than the speed of light” since in this case, the message would have “arrived before it was [even] sent” (Albert and Galchen).
Relative to Bell’s and Aspect’s proofs on the existence of nonlocalities, Maudlin was able to claim three significant points that relate to quantum nonlocality and dynamic locality. For one, Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity is enclosed within the “geometric structure of space-time” (Albert and Galchen) wherein there is only a consideration of the space and time dimensions in the principle of locality.
Second, the Special Relativity Theory is “compatible with hypothetical mechanisms for faster than light transmission of mass, energy, information, and causal influence” (Albert and Galchen); meaning, it is possible for some particles like tachyons to travel faster than the speed of light. Lastly, particles can “nonlocally influence one another” in the sense that their “spatial arrangements [nor their] intrinsic physical characteristics” do not matter as long as the particles in question are “entangled with one another” (Albert and Galchen).
Conclusively, the authors would like to claim two findings: one, “quantum locality could [still] be compatible with Special Relativity” and two, Quantum Mechanics and Special Relativity strike “against our deepest intuitions” (Albert and Galchen). In the first finding, there has been support established by Tumulca’s modification of the GRW Theory, wherein it “is nonlocal and yet compatible with space-time geometry of Special Relativity” (Albert and Galchen). Meanwhile, Tumulca’s evidence is said to be in its infancy period as it still has to be developed further in order to provide thorough explanation about the inquiry.
The second finding comes from Albert (one of the authors) who says that Special Relativity mixes up space and time, such that it could be useful to rely not just in three-dimensional or four-dimensional space, but in a bigger configuration space that could include the smaller dimensional spaces. The wave function may be important in analyzing and inferring “the possibility (indeed, the necessity) of entanglement, of particles having indefinite positions, and so forth” (Albert and Galchen).
Personally, I would like to believe that as long as there is no completely established correspondence of nonlocality to reality, I think it is safer to believe in the simpler principle of locality. Reality is engaged not just in algorithmic perceptions but more of what is perceptibly real and tangible. The existence of Einstein’s locality is already a justification of reality, such that actions are explained by a series of connecting particle movements.
Of course, I am open to the possibility of a bigger-scale nonlocality explaining reality, but right now, I am firm that the principle of locality is inherent in our daily living. The complex attributes of nonlocality indeed is “spooky” in its sense, as Einstein must have denoted, and I agree with him.
Albert, David Z. and Rivka Galchen. “Was Einstein Wrong? : A Quantum Threat to Special Relativity. ” Scientific American. February 2009. 17 March 2009 <http://www. sciam. com/article. cfm? id=was-einstein-wrong-about-relativity>.
University/College: University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 3 May 2017