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November 2 2012

Quantum entanglement shows that reality can't be local


Quantum entanglement stands as one of the strangest and hardest concepts to understand in physics. Two or more particles can interact in a specific ways that leave them entangled, such that a later measurement on one system identifies what the outcome of a similar measurement on the second systemóno matter how far they are separated in space.

Repeated experiments have verified that this works even when the measurements are performed more quickly than light could travel between the sites of measurement: there's no slower-than-light influence that can pass between the entangled particles. However, one possible explanation for entanglement would allow for a faster-than-light exchange from one particle to the other. Odd as it might seem, this still doesn't violate relativity, since the only thing exchanged is the internal quantum stateóno external information is passed.

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