Do we have free choice or are our decisions predetermined? Is physical reality local, or does what we do here and now have an immediate influence on events elsewhere? The answers to these questions are sought by physicists in the Bell inequalities. It turns out that free choice and local realism can be skilfully measured and compared. The results obtained reveal surprising relationships of a fundamental and universal nature, going far beyond quantum mechanics itself.
Causality, locality, and free choice are related by a few simple formulas known as Bell's inequalities. Sophisticated experiments in quantum optics over the past few decades have unquestionably proved that these inequalities are broken. Today, physicists are faced with a dilemma: should we accept a vision of the real world in which we question the assumption about the free choice of the experimenter, or reject the assumption of locality of the experiments? Scientists from the Institute of Nuclear Physics of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Cracow (IFJ PAN), the British City University of London (CUL) and the German Technische Hochschule Mittelhessen in Giessen (THM) have confronted this problem. The results of their research that go far beyond physics alone are discussed in an article just published in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
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