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From Einstein's theorem to Bell's theorem: a history of quantum non-locality

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In this Einstein Year of Physics it seems appropriate to look at an important aspect of Einstein's work that is often down-played: his contribution to the debate on the interpretation of quantum mechanics. Contrary to physics ‘folklore', Bohr had no defence against Einstein's 1935 attack (the EPR paper) on the claimed completeness of orthodox quantum mechanics. I suggest that Einstein's argument, as stated most clearly in 1946, could justly be called Einstein's reality – locality – completeness theorem, since it proves that one of these three must be false. Einstein's instinct was that completeness of orthodox quantum mechanics was the falsehood, but he failed in his quest to find a more complete theory that respected reality and locality. Einstein's theorem, and possibly Einstein's failure, inspired John Bell in 1964 to prove his reality – locality theorem. This strengthened Einstein's theorem (but showed the futility of his quest) by demonstrating that either reality or locality is a falsehood. This revealed the full non-locality of the quantum world for the first time.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Centre for Quantum Dynamics, School of Science, Griffith University, Brisbane, Queensland, 4111, Australia

Publication date: 2006-03-01

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