The ERP paradox

Einstein rejected the postulates of quantum mechanics that led to the uncertainty principle and the existence of phenomena that seemed to transmit information faster than the speed of light. It is ironic that the Nobel Prize was awarded to Einstein for his explanation of the photoelectric effect, a phenomenon of a quantum nature. His well-known phrase of skepticism in the face of the probabilistic nature of subatomic phenomena, “God does not play dice,” was answered with: “If God plays dice, he also cheats.”

The Nobel Prize in Physics in 2022, awarded to J. Clauser, A. Aspect and A. Zeilinger, recognizes the experimental and theoretical work of these researchers that made it possible to respond to one of the most accurate attacks on quantum theory: the EPR paradox, so called because it was formulated by Einstein, Podolsky and Rosen in 1935.

From the theory of relativity it follows that two objects far away from each other cannot influence each other instantaneously. Quantum theory allows us to deduce that if there are two “intertwined” particles, even if they are millions of kilometers apart, the disturbance of one of them, for example by measuring it, instantly modifies the state of the other.

The “thought” experiment that led to the EPR paradox seemed to be the coup de grace against quantum theory, since it violated the principle of relativity endorsed in the experimental field, which limits the speed at which information can be transmitted. Einstein concluded that quantum theory was incomplete and that hidden variables existed. Thirty years passed until J. Bell developed a model —called Bell’s inequality in his honor— that allowed showing that there are no hidden parameters in quantum theory and that there are entangled systems in which the concept of local theory does not apply; In addition, it shows the possibility of experimentally verifying which quantum processes do not follow classical physics. Until then, the dispute was theoretical, but in 1969 Clauser carried out an experiment that proved that the EPR paradox does not coincide with the experimental results. When he received the news from the Swedish Academy, he said: “Sorry, Einstein, Bohr was right.” In 1980, Aspect, another of the winners, found that entanglement persists despite the great distances that separate the particles.

Zeilinger, the third winner, showed, in the laboratories of the University of Vienna, the possibility of transmitting information from subatomic particles in coherent states (basic for quantum computing). In Innsbruck, a few kilometers away, physicists found that the information received was random.

The discrepancies are explained by the nonexistence of a theory that integrates gravity with quantum gravity, Einstein’s dream: the unified theory. A single theory integrates the electromagnetic force with the strong and the weak, the latter explain the existence of the atomic nucleus and its disintegration. There are new forces that are deduced from the accelerated expansion of the universe: dark matter and negative energy.

In the book Spaceflight and science fiction (Isaza and Campos) proposes an idea based on the existence of coherent states to allow instant communication between Captain Spock, from the ship Enterprise, with the distant base hundreds of light years away.

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The ERP paradox