Invisible hand, and a quick one at that

Any alternative to quantum weirdness would require faster-than-light communication.

2:11pm, August 13, 2008

It’s another bad day for Einstein. He either has to give up relativity or embrace quantum mechanics.

Reality seems governed by the kind of randomness that Einstein loathed and that quantum theory is rooted in. But any alternative explanation would have to allow information to travel at least 10,000 times faster than light, physicists have now shown in the most stringent such test to date.

Nicolas Gisin and his team at the University of Geneva sent pairs of photons traveling separately along optical fibers. Without weirdness of quantum mechanics, the photons’ behavior could only be explained if photons separated by 18 kilometers could influence each other virtually instantaneously. That would be a blatant violation of the solidly tested principle that nothing travels faster than light — part of Einstein’s theory of relativity.

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