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6/4/13

Spooky Action at a Distance & Reinhold Bertlmann's Socks

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John Bell said there was no mystery in Albert Einstein's Hidden Variables. In the 1935 Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen Paradox, the four scientists posited that spooky action at a distance --nonlocal interaction of objects spatially separated-- could be explained by Hidden Variables. That is, two entangled particles could affect one another though light years apart, and this mutual influence was due to something hidden from observation. In 1981 John Bell said it could be explained by the socks on his friend's feet.
If he saw one of Reinhold Bertlmann's feet coming around the corner, and it had an orange sock, Bell could safely predict the other sock wouldn't be orange. No mystery there. You just had to know Bertlmann, who liked mismatched socks.

Welcome to Quantum Theory, home of everything you want as mysterious. As more than one physicist has said in some form-- from Richard Feynman to John Wheeler--if you are not confused by Quantum Mechanics, you don't understand it.

Physicists have a long standing discipline. They do not try to interpret why it works as it does. To describe such puzzles as Wave Function Collapse is enough.

"Because of its bizarre implications, quantum theory has been used to investigate everything from free will and the paranormal to the enigma of consciousness. Several serious physicists have devoted their lives to the study of such ideas, including Bernard d'Espagnat. In March, the 87-year-old Frenchman won the prestigious $1.5 million Templeton Prize for years of work affirming 'life's spiritual dimension.'

Based on quantum behavior, Dr. d'Espagnat's big idea is that science can only probe so far into what is real, and there's a "veiled reality" that will always elude us.

D’Espagnat remained troubled by the scant attention most physicists paid to the interpretational questions raised by quantum mechanics. His first book, Conceptions of Contemporary Physics (1965), asked these questions and sketched possible resolutions, underscoring his insistence that scientists face the issues raised by their own pursuits."

D’Espagnat does not hesitate to interpret the deep philosophical significance of research in quantum physics. He thinks that Quantum Theory has marginalized philosophers as well as fellow physicists in that they skirt using it to interpret the nature of reality.

His thinking addresses the mystery. "While Dr. d'Espagnat concedes that he can't prove his theory, he argues that it's about the notion of mystery. 'The emotions you get from listening to Mozart,' he says, 'are like the faint glimpses of ultimate reality we get' from quantum experiments. 'I claim nothing more.' " More

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