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EPR paradox[1] of 1935 is a thought

experiment in quantum mechanics with

which Albert Einstein and his colleagues

Boris Podolsky and Nathan Rosen (EPR)

claimed to demonstrate that the wave

function does not provide a complete

description of physical reality, and hence

that the Copenhagen interpretation is

unsatisfactory; resolutions of the paradox

have important implications for the

interpretation of quantum mechanics.

Albert Einstein

particles can interact in such a way that it

is possible to measure both their position

and their momentum more accurately than

Heisenberg's uncertainty principle allows,

unless measuring one particle

instantaneously affects the other to

prevent this accuracy, which would involve

information being transmitted faster than

light as forbidden by the theory of relativity

("spooky action at a distance"). This

consequence had not previously been

noticed and seemed unreasonable at the

time; the phenomenon involved is now

known as quantum entanglement.

that quantum theory was incomplete and

should be extended with hidden variables,

the usual modern resolution is to say that

due to the common preparation of the two

particles (for example the creation of an

electron-positron pair from a photon) the

property we want to measure has a well

deﬁned meaning only when analyzed for

the whole system while the same property

for the parts individually remains

undeﬁned. Therefore, if similar

measurements are being performed on the

two entangled subsystems, there will

always be a correlation between the

outcomes resulting in a well deﬁned global

outcome i.e. for both subsystems

together. However, the outcomes for each

subsystem separately at each repetition of

the experiment will not be well deﬁned or

predictable. This correlation does not

imply any action of the measurement of

one particle on the measurement of the

other, therefore it does not imply any form

of action at a distance. This modern

resolution eliminates the need for hidden

variables, action at a distance or other

structures introduced over time in order to

explain the phenomenon.

supported by experiments suggested by

Bell's theorem of 1964, which exclude

some classes of hidden variable theory.

some conditions, a pair of quantum

systems may be described by a single

wave function, which encodes the

probabilities of the outcomes of

experiments that may be performed on the

two systems, whether jointly or

individually. At the time the EPR article

discussed below was written, it was

known from experiments that the outcome

of an experiment sometimes cannot be

uniquely predicted. An example of such

indeterminacy can be seen when a beam

of light is incident on a half-silvered mirror.

One half of the beam will reﬂect, and the

other will pass. If the intensity of the beam

is reduced until only one photon is in

transit at any time, whether that photon

will reﬂect or transmit cannot be predicted

quantum mechanically.

at that time, provided by Heisenberg's

uncertainty principle. Physical quantities

come in pairs called conjugate quantities.

Examples of such conjugate pairs are

(position, momentum), (time, energy), and

(angular position, angular momentum).

When one quantity was measured, and

became determined, the conjugated

quantity became indeterminate.

Heisenberg explained this uncertainty as

due to the quantization of the disturbance

from measurement.

The EPR paper, written in 1935, was

intended to illustrate that this explanation

is inadequate. It considered two entangled

particles, referred to as A and B, and

pointed out that measuring a quantity of a

particle A will cause the conjugated

quantity of particle B to become

undetermined, even if there was no

contact, no classical disturbance. The

basic idea was that the quantum states of

two particles in a system cannot always

be decomposed from the joint state of the

two, as is the case for the Bell state,

Heisenberg's principle was an attempt to

provide a classical explanation of a

quantum effect sometimes called non-

locality. According to EPR there were two

possible explanations. Either there was

some interaction between the particles

(even though they were separated) or the

information about the outcome of all

possible measurements was already

present in both particles.

explanation according to which that

information was encoded in some 'hidden

parameters'. The ﬁrst explanation of an

effect propagating instantly across a

distance is in conﬂict with the theory of

relativity. They then concluded that

quantum mechanics was incomplete since

its formalism does not permit hidden

parameters.

theorem are generally understood to have

demonstrated that the hypotheses of Bell's

theorem, also assumed by Einstein,

Podolsky and Rosen, do not apply in our

world.[2] Most physicists who have

examined the issue concur that

experiments, such as those of Alain

Aspect and his group, have conﬁrmed that

physical probabilities, as predicted by

quantum theory, do exhibit the phenomena

of Bell-inequality violations that are

considered to invalidate EPR's preferred

"local hidden-variables" type of

explanation for the correlations to which

EPR ﬁrst drew attention.[3][4]

The article that ﬁrst brought forth these

matters, "Can Quantum-Mechanical

Description of Physical Reality Be

Considered Complete?" was published in

1935.[1] The paper prompted a response

by Bohr, which he published in the same

journal, in the same year, using the same

title.[5] There followed a debate between

Bohr and Einstein about the fundamental

nature of reality. Einstein had been

skeptical of the Heisenberg uncertainty

principle and the role of chance in

quantum theory. But the crux of this

debate was not about chance, but

something even deeper: Is there one

objective physical reality, which every

observer sees from his own vantage?

(Einstein's view) Or does the observer co-

create physical reality by the questions he

poses with experiments? (Bohr's view)

a theory that could better comply with his

idea of causality, protesting against the

view that there exists no objective physical

reality other than that which is revealed

through measurement interpreted in terms

of quantum mechanical formalism.

However, since Einstein's death,

experiments analogous to the one

described in the EPR paper have been

carried out, starting in 1976 by French

scientists Lamehi-Rachti and Mittig[6] at

the Saclay Nuclear Research Centre.

These experiments appear to show that

the local realism idea is false,[7] vindicating

Bohr.

interpretation

Since the early twentieth century, quantum

theory has proved to be successful in

describing accurately the physical reality

of the mesoscopic and microscopic world,

in multiple reproducible physics

experiments.

the aim of describing atoms and

explaining the observed spectral lines in a

measurement apparatus. Although

disputed especially in the early twentieth

century, it has yet to be seriously

challenged. Philosophical interpretations

of quantum phenomena, however, are

another matter: the question of how to

interpret the mathematical formulation of

quantum mechanics has given rise to a

variety of different answers from people of

different philosophical persuasions (see

Interpretations of quantum mechanics).

do not provide single measurement

outcomes in a deterministic way.

According to the understanding of

quantum mechanics known as the

Copenhagen interpretation, measurement

causes an instantaneous collapse of the

wave function describing the quantum

system into an eigenstate of the

observable that was measured. Einstein

characterized this imagined collapse in the

1927 Solvay Conference. He presented a

thought experiment in which electrons are

introduced through a small hole in a

sphere whose inner surface serves as a

detection screen. The electrons will

contact the spherical detection screen in a

widely dispersed manner. Those electrons,

however, are all individually described by

wave fronts that expand in all directions

from the point of entry. A wave as it is

understood in everyday life would paint a

large area of the detection screen, but the

electrons would be found to impact the

screen at single points and would

eventually form a pattern in keeping with

the probabilities described by their

identical wave functions. Einstein asks

what makes each electron's wave front

"collapse" at its respective location. Why

do the electrons appear as single bright

scintillations rather than as dim washes of

energy across the surface? Why does any

single electron appear at one point rather

than some alternative point? The behavior

of the electrons gives the impression of

some signal having been sent to all

possible points of contact that would have

nulliﬁed all but one of them, or, in other

words, would have preferentially selected

a single point to the exclusion of all

others.[8]

Einstein's opposition

Einstein was the most prominent

opponent of the Copenhagen

interpretation. In his view, quantum

mechanics was incomplete. Commenting

on this, other writers (such as John von

Neumann[9] and David Bohm[10])

hypothesized that consequently there

would have to be 'hidden' variables

responsible for random measurement

results, something which was not

expressly claimed in the original paper.

The 1935 EPR paper[1] condensed the

philosophical discussion into a physical

argument. The authors claim that given a

speciﬁc experiment, in which the outcome

of a measurement is known before the

measurement takes place, there must

exist something in the real world, an

"element of reality", that determines the

measurement outcome. They postulate

that these elements of reality are local, in

the sense that each belongs to a certain

point in spacetime. Each element may only

be inﬂuenced by events which are located

in the backward light cone of its point in

spacetime (i.e., the past). These claims

are founded on assumptions about nature

that constitute what is now known as local

realism.

taken as an exact expression of Einstein's

views, it was primarily authored by

Podolsky, based on discussions at the

Institute for Advanced Study with Einstein

and Rosen. Einstein later expressed to

Erwin Schrödinger that, "it did not come

out as well as I had originally wanted;

rather, the essential thing was, so to speak,

smothered by the formalism."[11] In 1936,

Einstein presented an individual account

of his local realist ideas.[12]

Description of the paradox

The original EPR paradox challenges the

prediction of quantum mechanics that it is

impossible to know both the position and

the momentum of a quantum particle. This

challenge can be extended to other pairs

of physical properties.

EPR paper

what must happen to "two systems I and

II, which we permit to interact ...", and, after

some time, "we suppose that there is no

longer any interaction between the two

parts." As explained by Manjit Kumar

(2009), the EPR description involves "two

particles, A and B, [which] interact brieﬂy

and then move off in opposite

directions."[13] According to Heisenberg's

uncertainty principle, it is impossible to

measure both the momentum and the

position of particle B exactly. However, it is

possible to measure the exact position of

particle A. By calculation, therefore, with

the exact position of particle A known, the

exact position of particle B can be known.

Alternatively, the exact momentum of

particle A can be measured, so the exact

momentum of particle B can be worked

out. Kumar writes: "EPR argued that they

had proved that ... [particle] B can have

simultaneously exact values of position

and momentum. ... Particle B has a

position that is real and a momentum that

is real."

means to establish the exact

values of either the momentum or

the position of B due to

measurements made on particle

A, without the slightest possibility

of particle B being physically

disturbed.[13]

EPR tried to set up a paradox to question

the range of true application of Quantum

Mechanics: Quantum theory predicts that

both values cannot be known for a

particle, and yet the EPR thought

experiment purports to show that they

must all have determinate values. The EPR

paper says: "We are thus forced to

conclude that the quantum-mechanical

description of physical reality given by

wave functions is not complete."[13]

While we have thus shown that

the wave function does not

provide a complete description of

the physical reality, we left open

the question of whether or not

such a description exists. We

believe, however, that such a

theory is possible.

Measurements on an

entangled state

positron pairs, with the electron sent to

destination A, where there is an observer

named Alice, and the positron sent to

destination B, where there is an observer

named Bob. According to quantum

mechanics, we can arrange our source so

that each emitted pair occupies a

quantum state called a spin singlet. The

particles are thus said to be entangled.

This can be viewed as a quantum

superposition of two states, which we call

state I and state II. In state I, the electron

has spin pointing upward along the z-axis

(+z) and the positron has spin pointing

downward along the z-axis (−z). In state II,

the electron has spin −z and the positron

has spin +z. Because it is in a

superposition of states it is impossible

without measuring to know the deﬁnite

state of spin of either particle in the spin

singlet.[14]:421–422

positron pairs. A source (center) sends particles

toward two observers, electrons to Alice (left) and

positrons to Bob (right), who can perform spin

measurements.

axis. She can obtain one of two possible

outcomes: +z or −z. Suppose she gets +z.

According to the Copenhagen

interpretation of quantum mechanics, the

quantum state of the system collapses

into state I. The quantum state determines

the probable outcomes of any

measurement performed on the system. In

this case, if Bob subsequently measures

spin along the z-axis, there is 100%

probability that he will obtain −z. Similarly,

if Alice gets −z, Bob will get +z.

choosing the z-axis: according to quantum

mechanics the spin singlet state may

equally well be expressed as a

superposition of spin states pointing in the

x direction.[15]:318 Suppose that Alice and

Bob had decided to measure spin along

the x-axis. We'll call these states Ia and IIa.

In state Ia, Alice's electron has spin +x and

Bob's positron has spin −x. In state IIa,

Alice's electron has spin −x and Bob's

positron has spin +x. Therefore, if Alice

measures +x, the system 'collapses' into

state Ia, and Bob will get −x. If Alice

measures −x, the system collapses into

state IIa, and Bob will get +x.

along, they are always found to be

opposite. This can only be explained if the

particles are linked in some way. Either

they were created with a deﬁnite

(opposite) spin about every axis—a

"hidden variable" argument—or they are

linked so that one electron "feels" which

axis the other is having its spin measured

along, and becomes its opposite about

that one axis—an "entanglement"

argument. Moreover, if the two particles

have their spins measured about different

axes, once the electron's spin has been

measured about the x-axis (and the

positron's spin about the x-axis deduced),

the positron's spin about the z-axis will no

longer be certain, as if (a) it knows that the

measurement has taken place, or (b) it has

a deﬁnite spin already, about a second axis

—a hidden variable. However, it turns out

that the predictions of Quantum

Mechanics, which have been conﬁrmed by

experiment, cannot be explained by any

local hidden variable theory. This is

demonstrated in Bell's theorem.[16]

spin are "incompatible observables",

meaning the Heisenberg uncertainty

principle applies to alternating

measurements of them: a quantum state

cannot possess a deﬁnite value for both of

these variables. Suppose Alice measures

the z-spin and obtains +z, so that the

quantum state collapses into state I. Now,

instead of measuring the z-spin as well,

Bob measures the x-spin. According to

quantum mechanics, when the system is

in state I, Bob's x-spin measurement will

have a 50% probability of producing +x and

a 50% probability of -x. It is impossible to

predict which outcome will appear until

Bob actually performs the measurement.

measures the x-spin of his positron, he

would get an answer with absolute

certainty, since prior to this he hasn't

disturbed his particle at all. But it turns out

that Bob's positron has a 50% probability

of producing +x and a 50% probability of

−x, meaning the outcome is not certain.

It's as if Bob's positron "knows" that Alice

has measured the z-spin of her electron,

and hence his positron's own z-spin must

also be set, but its x-spin remains

uncertain.

know which way to point if Alice decides

(based on information unavailable to Bob)

to measure x (i.e., to be the opposite of

Alice's electron's spin about the x-axis) and

also how to point if Alice measures z,

since it is only supposed to know one

thing at a time? The Copenhagen

interpretation rules that say the wave

function "collapses" at the time of

measurement, so there must be action at a

distance (entanglement) or the positron

must know more than it's supposed to

know (hidden variables).

measurement of the ﬁrst particle's

momentum affects uncertainty in its own

position, but to say that measuring the ﬁrst

particle's momentum affects the

uncertainty in the position of the other is

another thing altogether. Einstein,

Podolsky and Rosen asked how can the

second particle "know" to have precisely

deﬁned momentum but uncertain

position? Since this implies that one

particle is communicating with the other

instantaneously across space, i.e., faster

than light, this is the "paradox".

but many types of physical quantities—

referred to as "observables" in quantum

mechanics—can be used. The EPR paper

used momentum for the observable.

Experimental realisations of the EPR

scenario often use photon polarization,

because polarized photons are easy to

prepare and measure.

physical processes occurring at one place

should have no immediate effect on the

elements of reality at another location. At

ﬁrst sight, this appears to be a reasonable

assumption to make, as it seems to be a

consequence of special relativity, which

states that information can never be

transmitted faster than the speed of light

without violating causality. It is generally

believed that any theory which violates

causality would also be internally

inconsistent, and thus

useless.[14]:427–428[17]

combining quantum mechanical and

classical descriptions violate the principle

of locality without violating

causality.[14]:427–428[17] Causality is

preserved because there is no way for

Alice to transmit messages (i.e.,

information) to Bob by manipulating her

measurement axis. Whichever axis she

uses, she has a 50% probability of

obtaining "+" and 50% probability of

obtaining "−", completely at random;

according to quantum mechanics, it is

fundamentally impossible for her to

inﬂuence what result she gets.

Furthermore, Bob is only able to perform

his measurement once: there is a

fundamental property of quantum

mechanics, known as the "no cloning

theorem", which makes it impossible for

him to make a million copies of the

electron he receives, perform a spin

measurement on each, and look at the

statistical distribution of the results.

Therefore, in the one measurement he is

allowed to make, there is a 50% probability

of getting "+" and 50% of getting "−",

regardless of whether or not his axis is

aligned with Alice's.

powerfully to physical intuition, and

Einstein, Podolsky and Rosen were

unwilling to abandon it. Einstein derided

the quantum mechanical predictions as

"spooky action at a distance". The

conclusion they drew was that quantum

mechanics is not a complete theory.[18]

cast on EPR's conclusion due to

developments in understanding locality

and especially quantum decoherence. The

word locality has several different

meanings in physics. For example, in

quantum ﬁeld theory "locality" means that

quantum ﬁelds at different points of space

do not interact with one another. However,

quantum ﬁeld theories that are "local" in

this sense appear to violate the principle of

locality as deﬁned by EPR, but they

nevertheless do not violate locality in a

more general sense. Wavefunction

collapse can be viewed as an

epiphenomenon of quantum decoherence,

which in turn is nothing more than an

effect of the underlying local time

evolution of the wavefunction of a system

and all of its environment. Since the

underlying behaviour doesn't violate local

causality, it follows that neither does the

additional effect of wavefunction collapse,

whether real or apparent. Therefore, as

outlined in the example above, neither the

EPR experiment nor any quantum

experiment demonstrates that faster-than-

light signaling is possible.

Hidden variables

paradox. The one suggested by EPR is that

quantum mechanics, despite its success

in a wide variety of experimental

scenarios, is actually an incomplete

theory. In other words, there is some yet

undiscovered theory of nature to which

quantum mechanics acts as a kind of

statistical approximation (albeit an

exceedingly successful one). Unlike

quantum mechanics, the more complete

theory contains variables corresponding to

all the "elements of reality". There must be

some unknown mechanism acting on

these variables to give rise to the observed

effects of "non-commuting quantum

observables", i.e. the Heisenberg

uncertainty principle. Such a theory is

called a hidden variable

theory.[13]:334[19]:357–358

very simple hidden variable theory for the

above thought experiment. One supposes

that the quantum spin-singlet states

emitted by the source are actually

approximate descriptions for "true"

physical states possessing deﬁnite values

for the z-spin and x-spin. In these "true"

states, the positron going to Bob always

has spin values opposite to the electron

going to Alice, but the values are otherwise

completely random. For example, the ﬁrst

pair emitted by the source might be "(+z,

−x) to Alice and (−z, +x) to Bob", the next

pair "(−z, −x) to Alice and (+z, +x) to Bob",

and so forth. Therefore, if Bob's

measurement axis is aligned with Alice's,

he will necessarily get the opposite of

whatever Alice gets; otherwise, he will get

"+" and "−" with equal probability.[20]:239–240

to the z- and x-axes, such a hidden variable

theory is experimentally indistinguishable

from quantum mechanics. In reality, there

may be an inﬁnite number of axes along

which Alice and Bob can perform their

measurements, so there would have to be

an inﬁnite number of independent hidden

variables. However, this is not a serious

problem; we have formulated a very

simplistic hidden variable theory, and a

more sophisticated theory might be able

to patch it up. It turns out that there is a

much more serious challenge to the idea

of hidden variables.

Bell's inequality

predictions of quantum mechanics in the

EPR thought experiment are signiﬁcantly

different from the predictions of a

particular class of hidden variable theories

(the local hidden variable theories).

Roughly speaking, quantum mechanics

has a much stronger statistical correlation

with measurement results performed on

different axes than do these hidden

variable theories. These differences,

expressed using inequality relations

known as "Bell's inequalities", are in

principle experimentally detectable. After

the publication of Bell's paper, a variety of

experiments to test Bell's inequalities were

devised. These generally relied on

measurement of photon polarization. All

experiments conducted to date have found

behavior in line with the predictions of

standard quantum mechanics theory.

Later work by Henry Stapp showed that a

key property of local hidden variable

theories which lead to Bell's inequalities

was counter-factual deﬁniteness. Building

on Stapp's observations, P.H. Eberhard

showed that any local counter-factual

model results in Bell's inequality even

without the assumption of there being

hidden variables unknown to physics upon

which the relevant observables depend.

Arthur Fine subsequently showed that any

theory satisfying the inequalities can be

modeled by a local hidden variable theory.

(Although Eberhard referred to his result

as "Bell's theorem without hidden

variables", Fine used a more general

deﬁnition of "hidden variables" that

includes the possibility of the observables

being elementary.) Fine went on to show

that any stochastic factorizable model

leads to Bell's inequality. Itamar Pitowsky

showed that Bell's inequality was a special

case of an inequality discovered by George

Boole which provides a consistency check

on whether data can be represented by

variables on a single classical probability

space. He interpreted this to be an

indication that the locality assumption

prevented the data from being represented

as events on such a space.[21]

As Eberhard's proof made use of both

locality and counter-factual deﬁniteness it

was assumed that an interpretation could

reject either one of these to escape Bell's

inequality. Violation of locality is difﬁcult to

reconcile with special relativity, and is

thought to be incompatible with the

principle of causality, nevertheless there

was renewed interest in the Bohm

interpretation of quantum mechanics

which keeps counter-factual deﬁniteness

while introducing a conjectured non-local

mechanism in the form of the 'quantum

potential' that is deﬁned as one of the

terms of the Schrödinger equation.

Mainstream physics preferred to keep

locality and reject counter-factual

deﬁniteness. Fine's work showed that,

taking locality as a given, there exist

scenarios in which two statistical variables

are correlated in a manner inconsistent

with counter-factual deﬁniteness, and that

such scenarios are no more mysterious

than any other, despite the fact that the

inconsistency with counter-factual

deﬁniteness may seem 'counter-intuitive'.

Lawrence J. Landau. Landau showed that

if it is assumed that there is a single

classical probability space underlying all

the observables under consideration in the

EPR experiment, Bell's inequality will

result.[22] Thus the fundamental issue is

that Quantum mechanical probabilities

cannot be modeled using classical

(Kolmogorovian) probability regardless of

whether Quantum Mechanics is

considered a complete description of

reality or not. Regarding Landau's proof

Ray Streater notes that it shows that

Bohmian mechanics is inconsistent with

Quantum mechanics and succumbs to

Bell's inequality despite claims to the

contrary by its proponents. Streater notes

that Landau's proof only requires the

assumption of a single classical

probability space (a condition still satisﬁed

by Bohm's theory) and the fact that

Bohmian mechanics additionally

postulates the existence of a non-local

mechanism, cannot prevent Bell's

inequality from applying to it.[23]:99–102

Karl Hess, Walter, Philipp, Hans de Raedt

and Kristel Michielsen, who note that in

Bell's proof, Bell's assumption of a space

of hidden variables behaving as a classical

probability space is sufﬁcient to produce a

contradiction with the predications of

Quantum mechanics via a consistency

theorem of N. N. Vorob'ev, a statistician

who had built on the same work of Boole

used by Pitowsky. The additional

assumption of locality used by Bell is

redundant and indeed Fine's work had

included a derivation of Bell's inequality

that did not require the assumption of

locality .[24] [25] Non-locality is not

sufﬁcient to escape Bell's inequality, any

interpretation of Quantum mechanics

needs to reject counter-factual

deﬁniteness to be consistent with the

Quantum mechanical predications. The

authors also produced a model of an EPR

experiment that is local but which violates

Bell's inequality, thus demonstrating that

non-locality is also not necessary for

escaping Bell's inequality.[26] They also

note a loophole regarding models of EPR

experiments whereby even a counter-

factual deﬁnite model can result in data

that violates Bell's inequality if as in actual

experiments there is a time window based

post-selection of results due to the need to

identify particles belonging to an emitted

pair.[26] Robert Grifﬁths has shown that

according to a quantum mechanical

analysis, the instrument settings for the

measurement of one of the particles in the

EPR scenario, does not inﬂuence

subsequent measurement results on the

second, thus ruling out non-locality as a

viable explanation for the EPR

correlations.[27]

However, Bell's theorem does not apply to

all possible philosophically realist

theories. It is a common misconception

that quantum mechanics is inconsistent

with all notions of philosophical realism.

Realist interpretations of quantum

mechanics are possible, although as

discussed above, such interpretations

must reject counter-factual deﬁniteness.

Examples of such realist interpretations

are the consistent histories interpretation

and the transactional interpretation (ﬁrst

proposed by John G. Cramer in 1986).

Grifﬁths notes that it is not "local realism"

that is ruled out by quantum mechanics

but "classical realism".[27] Some workers in

the ﬁeld have also attempted to formulate

hidden variable theories that exploit

loopholes in actual experiments, such as

the assumptions made in interpreting

experimental data, although no theory has

been proposed that can reproduce all the

results of quantum mechanics.

review article based on the Wheeler–

Feynman time-symmetric theory rewrites

the entire theory in terms of retarded

Liénard–Wiechert potentials only, which

becomes manifestly causal, and,

establishes a conservation law for total

generalized momenta held

instantaneously for any closed system.[28]

The outcome results in correlation

between particles from a "handshake

principle" based on a variational principle

applied to a system as a whole, an idea

with a slightly non-local feature but the

theory is nonetheless in agreement with

the essential results of quantum

electrodynamics and relativistic quantum

chemistry.

experiments that have no local hidden

variables explanation. Examples have

been suggested by David Bohm and by

Lucien Hardy.

Einstein's hope for a purely

algebraic theory

mechanics hypothesizes that the state of

the universe evolves smoothly through

time with no collapsing of quantum

wavefunctions. One problem for the

Copenhagen interpretation is to precisely

deﬁne wavefunction collapse. Einstein

maintained that quantum mechanics is

physically incomplete and logically

unsatisfactory. In "The Meaning of

Relativity", Einstein wrote, "One can give

good reasons why reality cannot at all be

represented by a continuous ﬁeld. From

the quantum phenomena it appears to

follow with certainty that a ﬁnite system of

ﬁnite energy can be completely described

by a ﬁnite set of numbers (quantum

numbers). This does not seem to be in

accordance with a continuum theory and

must lead to an attempt to ﬁnd a purely

algebraic theory for the representation of

reality. But nobody knows how to ﬁnd the

basis for such a theory." If time, space, and

energy are secondary features derived

from a substrate below the Planck scale,

then Einstein's hypothetical algebraic

system might resolve the EPR paradox

(although Bell's theorem would still be

valid). If physical reality is totally ﬁnite,

then the Copenhagen interpretation might

be an approximation to an information

processing system below the Planck

scale.

experiment

situation, quantum mechanics ﬂatly

contradicts Einstein's philosophical

postulate that any acceptable physical

theory must fulﬁll "local realism".

realised that quantum mechanics was

inconsistent with their assumptions, but

Einstein nevertheless thought that

quantum mechanics might simply be

augmented by hidden variables (i.e.,

variables which were, at that point, still

obscure to him), without any other change,

to achieve an acceptable theory. He

pursued these ideas for over twenty years

until the end of his life, in 1955.

showed that quantum mechanics and the

class of hidden variable theories Einstein

favored[29] would lead to different

experimental results: different by a factor

of 32 for certain correlations. So the issue

of "acceptability", up to that time mainly

concerning theory, ﬁnally became

experimentally decidable.

those of Alain Aspect and others. They

support the predictions of quantum

mechanics rather than the class of hidden

variable theories supported by Einstein.[4]

mechanics

quantum mechanics is correct, and that

the EPR paradox is a "paradox" only

because classical intuitions do not

correspond to physical reality. How EPR is

interpreted regarding locality depends on

the interpretation of quantum mechanics

one uses. In the Copenhagen

interpretation, it is usually understood that

instantaneous wave function collapse

does occur. However, the view that there is

no causal instantaneous effect has also

been proposed within the Copenhagen

interpretation: in this alternate view,

measurement affects our ability to deﬁne

(and measure) quantities in the physical

system, not the system itself. In the many-

worlds interpretation, locality is strictly

preserved, since the effects of operations

such as measurement affect only the state

of the particle that is measured.[17]

However, the results of the measurement

are not unique—every possible result is

obtained.

understanding of quantum mechanics by

exposing the fundamentally non-classical

characteristics of the measurement

process. Before the publication of the EPR

paper, a measurement was often

visualized as a physical disturbance that

had to be inﬂicted directly upon the

measured subsystem. For instance, when

measuring the position of an electron, one

imagines shining a light on it, thus

disturbing the electron and producing the

quantum mechanical uncertainties in its

position. Such pat and convenient but

unhelpful explanations of quantum

mechanics remain commonplace

today,[30][31] but they fail to explain (among

other things) the EPR paradox, which

shows that a "measurement" can be

performed on a particle without disturbing

it directly, by performing a measurement

on a distant entangled particle. In fact,

Yakir Aharonov and his collaborators have

developed a whole theory of so-called

Weak measurement.[15]:181–184

entanglement are now being developed. In

quantum cryptography, entangled particles

are used to transmit signals that cannot be

eavesdropped upon without leaving a

trace. In quantum computation, entangled

quantum states are used to perform

computations in parallel, which may allow

certain calculations to be performed much

more quickly than they ever could be with

classical computers.[32]:83–100

Mathematical formulation

The above discussion can be expressed

mathematically using the quantum

mechanical formulation of spin. The spin

degree of freedom for an electron is

associated with a two-dimensional

complex vector space V, with each

quantum state corresponding to a vector

in that space. The operators

corresponding to the spin along the x, y,

and z direction, denoted Sx, Sy, and Sz

respectively, can be represented using the

Pauli matrices:[20]:9

(or the Planck constant divided by 2π).

and the eigenstates of Sx are represented

as

pair is , the tensor product of the

electron's and positron's vector spaces.

The spin singlet state is

where the two terms on the right hand side

are what we have referred to as state I and

state II above.

that the spin singlet can also be written as

what we have referred to as state Ia and

state IIa.

of local realism, we need to show that

after Alice's measurement of Sz (or Sx),

Bob's value of Sz (or Sx) is uniquely

determined, and therefore corresponds to

an "element of physical reality". This

follows from the principles of

measurement in quantum mechanics.

When Sz is measured, the system state ψ

collapses into an eigenvector of Sz. If the

measurement result is +z, this means that

immediately after measurement the

system state undergoes an orthogonal

projection of ψ onto the space of states of

the form

Similarly, if Alice's measurement result is

−z, the system undergoes an orthogonal

projection onto

for Bob's positron is now determined. It

will be −z in the ﬁrst case or +z in the

second case.

cannot simultaneously possess deﬁnite

values in quantum mechanics. One may

show in a straightforward manner that no

possible vector can be an eigenvector of

both matrices. More generally, one may

use the fact that the operators do not

commute,

relation

See also

Bell test experiments

Bell's theorem

Bra–ket notation

CHSH Bell test

Coherence (physics)

Correlation does not imply causation

Counter-factual deﬁniteness

ER=EPR

Ghirardi–Rimini–Weber theory

GHZ experiment

Interpretations of quantum mechanics

Local hidden variable theory

Many-worlds interpretation

Measurement in quantum mechanics

Measurement problem

Penrose interpretation

Philosophy of information

Philosophy of physics

Popper's experiment

Quantum decoherence

Quantum entanglement

Quantum gravity

Quantum information

Quantum pseudo-telepathy

Quantum teleportation

Quantum Zeno effect

Sakurai's Bell inequality

Synchronicity

Wave function collapse

Ward's probability amplitude

Wheeler–Feynman absorber theory

Zero-point ﬁeld

Notes

1. Einstein, A; B Podolsky; N Rosen (1935-

05-15). "Can Quantum-Mechanical

Description of Physical Reality be

Considered Complete?" (PDF). Physical

Review. 47 (10): 777–780.

Bibcode:1935PhRv...47..777E .

doi:10.1103/PhysRev.47.777 .

2. Gaasbeek, Bram (Jul 22, 2010).

"Demystifying the Delayed Choice

Experiments". arXiv:1007.3977v1 [quant-

ph ].

3. Bell, John. On the Einstein–Poldolsky–

Rosen paradox , Physics 1 3, 195–200, Nov.

1964

4. Aspect A (1999-03-18). "Bell's inequality

test: more ideal than ever" (PDF). Nature.

398 (6724): 189–90.

Bibcode:1999Natur.398..189A .

doi:10.1038/18296 .

5. Bohr, N. (1935-10-13). "Can Quantum-

Mechanical Description of Physical Reality

be Considered Complete?". Physical

Review. 48 (8): 696–702.

Bibcode:1935PhRv...48..696B .

doi:10.1103/PhysRev.48.696 .

6. Advances in atomic and molecular

physics, Volume 14 By David Robert Bates

7. Gribbin, J. (1984). In Search of

Schrödinger's Cat. Black Swan. ISBN 0-

7045-3071-6.

8. The Einstein–Podolsky–Rosen Argument

in Quantum Theory (Stanford Encyclopedia

of Philosophy)

9. von Neumann, J. (1932/1955). In

Mathematische Grundlagen der

Quantenmechanik, Springer, Berlin,

translated into English by Beyer, R.T.,

Princeton University Press, Princeton, cited

by Baggott, J. (2004) Beyond Measure:

Modern physics, philosophy, and the

meaning of quantum theory, Oxford

University Press, Oxford, ISBN 0-19-852927-

9, pages 144–145.

10. Bohm, D. (1951). Quantum Theory ,

Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, page 29,

and Chapter 5 section 3, and Chapter 22

Section 19.

11. Quoted in Kaiser, David. "Bringing the

human actors back on stage: the personal

context of the Einstein–Bohr debate",

British Journal for the History of Science 27

(1994): 129–152, on page 147.

12. Einstein, Albert (1936). "Physik und

realität" . Journal of the Franklin Institute.

Elsevier. 221 (3): 313–347.

doi:10.1016/S0016-0032(36)91045-1 .

Retrieved 9 December 2012. English

translation by Jean Piccard, pp 349–382 in

the same issue, doi:10.1016/S0016-

0032(36)91047-5 ).

13. Kumar, Manjit (2011). Quantum:

Einstein, Bohr, and the Great Debate about

the Nature of Reality (Reprint ed.). W. W.

Norton & Company. pp. 305–306. ISBN 978-

0393339888.

14. Grifﬁths, David J. (2004), Introduction to

Quantum Mechanics (2nd ed.), Prentice

Hall, ISBN 0-13-111892-7

15. Laloe, Franck (2012), Do We Really

Understand Quantum Mechanics,

Cambridge University Press, arXiv:quant-

ph/0209123 ,

Bibcode:2002quant.ph..9123L , ISBN 978-1-

107-02501-1

16. George Greenstein and Arthur G. Zajonc,

The Quantum Challenge, p. "[Experiments in

the early 1980s] have conclusively shown

that quantum mechanics is indeed orrect,

and that the EPR argument had relied upon

incorrect assumptions."

17. Blaylock, Guy (January 2010). "The EPR

paradox, Bell's inequality, and the question

of locality". American Journal of Physics. 78

(1): 111–120. arXiv:0902.3827 .

Bibcode:2010AmJPh..78..111B .

doi:10.1119/1.3243279 .

18. Bell, John (1981). "Bertlmann's socks

and the nature of reality" . J. Physique

colloques. C22: 41–62.

Bibcode:1988nbpw.conf..245B .

19. John Archibald Wheeler; Wojciech

Hubert Zurek (14 July 2014). Quantum

Theory and Measurement. Princeton

University Press. ISBN 978-1-4008-5455-4.

20. Sakurai, J. J.; Napolitano, Jim (2010),

Modern Quantum Mechanics (2nd ed.),

Addison-Wesley, ISBN 978-0805382914

21. Pitowsky, Itamar (1989). "From George

Boole To John Bell — The Origins of Bell's

Inequality". Bell’s Theorem, Quantum Theory

and Conceptions of the Universe. Dordrecht:

Springer Netherlands. pp. 37–49.

doi:10.1007/978-94-017-0849-4_6 .

ISBN 978-90-481-4058-9.

22. Landau, L. J. (1987). "On the violation of

Bell's inequality in quantum theory" .

Physics Letters. 120 (2): 4–6.

Bibcode:1987PhLA..120...54L .

doi:10.1016/0375-9601(87)90075-2 .

23. Streater, R.F. (2017). Lost Causes in and

beyond Physics. Springer Berlin Heidelberg.

ISBN 9783540365822.

24. Hess, Karl (2005). Bell’s theorem:

Critique of proofs with and without

inequalities. AIP. pp. 150–157. arXiv:quant-

ph/0410015 . doi:10.1063/1.1874568 .

ISSN 0094-243X .

25. Hess, Karl; Raedt, Hans De; Michielsen,

Kristel (2012-11-01). "Hidden assumptions

in the derivation of the theorem of Bell".

Physica Scripta. IOP Publishing. T151:

014002. arXiv:1108.3583 .

Bibcode:2012PhST..151a4002H .

doi:10.1088/0031-

8949/2012/t151/014002 . ISSN 0031-

8949 .

26. De Raedt, Hans; Michielsen, Kristel;

Hess, Karl (2016). "The digital computer as

a metaphor for the perfect laboratory

experiment: Loophole-free Bell

experiments". Computer Physics

Communications. Elsevier BV. 209: 42–47.

Bibcode:2016CoPhC.209...42D .

doi:10.1016/j.cpc.2016.08.010 . ISSN 0010-

4655 .

27. Grifﬁths, Robert B. (2010-10-21).

"Quantum Locality". Foundations of

Physics. Springer Nature. 41 (4): 705–733.

doi:10.1007/s10701-010-9512-5 .

ISSN 0015-9018 .

28. Scott, T. C.; Andrae, D. (2015). "Quantum

Nonlocality and Conservation of

momentum" . Phys. Essays. 28 (3): 374–

385. Bibcode:2015PhyEs..28..374S .

doi:10.4006/0836-1398-28.3.374 .

29. "Clearing up mysteries: the original

goal" (PDF).

30. Furuta, Aya. "One Thing Is Certain:

Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle Is Not

Dead" . Scientiﬁc American. Retrieved

16 January 2017. “Yet the uncertainty

principle comes in two superﬁcially similar

formulations that even many practicing

physicists tend to confuse. Werner

Heisenberg's own version is that in

observing the world, we inevitably disturb it.

And that is wrong, as a research team at the

Vienna University of Technology has now

vividly demonstrated.”

31. Jha, Alok (10 November 2013). "What is

Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle?" . The

Guardian. Retrieved 16 January 2017. “One

way to think about the uncertainty principle

is as an extension of how we see and

measure things in the everyday world... the

act of observation affects the particle being

observed”

32. Haroche, Serge; Raimond, Jean-Michel

(2006). Exploring the Quantum: Atoms,

Cavities, and Photons (1st ed.). Oxford

University Press. ISBN 978-0198509141.

References

Selected papers

hidden variables. Nuovo Cimento 38B1

75 (1977).

P. H. Eberhard, Bell's theorem and the

different concepts of locality. Nuovo

Cimento 46B 392 (1978).

A. Einstein, B. Podolsky, and N. Rosen,

Can quantum-mechanical description of

physical reality be considered complete?

Phys. Rev. 47 777 (1935). [1]

A. Fine, Hidden Variables, Joint

Probability, and the Bell Inequalities.

Phys. Rev. Lett. 48, 291 (1982).[2]

A. Fine, Do Correlations need to be

explained?, in Philosophical

Consequences of Quantum Theory:

Reﬂections on Bell's Theorem, edited by

Cushing & McMullin (University of Notre

Dame Press, 1986).

L. Hardy, Nonlocality for two particles

without inequalities for almost all

entangled states. Phys. Rev. Lett. 71

1665 (1993).[3]

M. Mizuki, A classical interpretation of

Bell's inequality. Annales de la Fondation

Louis de Broglie 26 683 (2001)

Peres, Asher (2005). "Einstein, Podolsky,

Rosen, and Shannon" . Foundations of

Physics. Kluwer Academic Publishers.

35 (3): 511–514. arXiv:quant-

ph/0310010 .

Bibcode:2005FoPh...35..511P .

doi:10.1007/s10701-004-1986-6 .

ISSN 0015-9018 .

P. Pluch, "Theory for Quantum

Probability", PhD Thesis University of

Klagenfurt (2006)

M. A. Rowe, D. Kielpinski, V. Meyer, C. A.

Sackett, W. M. Itano, C. Monroe and D. J.

Wineland, Experimental violation of a

Bell's inequality with efﬁcient detection,

Nature 409, 791–794 (15 February

2001). [4]

M. Smerlak, C. Rovelli, Relational EPR [5]

Books

Unspeakable in Quantum Mechanics.

Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-

521-36869-3.

Arthur Fine (1996) The Shaky Game:

Einstein, Realism and the Quantum

Theory, 2nd ed. Univ. of Chicago Press.

Selleri, F. (1988) Quantum Mechanics

Versus Local Realism: The Einstein–

Podolsky–Rosen Paradox. New York:

Plenum Press. ISBN 0-306-42739-7

Leon Lederman, L., Teresi, D. (1993). The

God Particle: If the Universe is the

Answer, What is the Question? Houghton

Mifﬂin Company, pages 21, 187 to 189.

John Gribbin (1984) In Search of

Schrödinger's Cat. Black Swan.

ISBN 978-0-552-12555-0

External links

Wikiquote has quotations related to: EPR

paradox

The Einstein–Podolsky–Rosen

Argument in Quantum Theory; 1.2 The

argument in the text;

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qt-

epr/#1.2

The original EPR paper.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

"The Einstein–Podolsky–Rosen

Argument in Quantum Theory " by

Arthur Fine.

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

"The Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen Argument

and the Bell Inequalities ".

Abner Shimony (2004) "Bell’s Theorem. "

EPR, Bell & Aspect: The Original

References.

Does Bell's Inequality Principle rule out

local theories of quantum mechanics?

From the Usenet Physics FAQ.

Theoretical use of EPR in teleportation.

Effective use of EPR in cryptography.

EPR experiment with single photons

interactive.

Spooky Actions At A Distance?:

Oppenheimer Lecture by Prof. Mermin.

Retrieved from

"https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?

title=EPR_paradox&oldid=822496479"

otherwise noted.

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