Quantum correlations do not imply instant causation—10 August 2016

Research by an international team from Australia, the United Kingdom and Germany, supported by ARC funding at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems (EQuS), has shown that the gap between quantum phenomena and classical intuition is even bigger than previously thought. In 2015, the universe was officially shown to be weird when a series of experiments demonstrated that entangled quantum particles remain instantly connected, no matter how far apart they are, through what Einstein famously dismissed as “spooky action at a distance”. While it was shown that entanglement does not follow the classical rules of cause and effect, researchers continue to puzzle over how it really works. Martin Ringbauer from EQuS said, “Picture yourself in a room where someone is flicking a light switch. Intuition and experience lets you establish a simple causal model: the switch causes the lights to turn on and off. In this case, correlation implies causation. If we could entangle two lights, you would see them turn on and off at random, regardless of how far apart they are, with no obvious switch and in perfect lockstep. Einstein’s preferred explanation of this mysterious effect was that there must be a hidden light switch which acts as a common cause for our entangled lights.”


Media issued by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems.
Image: Martin Ringbauer at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems. Image credit: PhD student Christina Giarmatzi

Original Published Date: 
Wednesday, August 10, 2016