What is real? What is the universe made of? How does it work?
Physics has always been an attempt to understand
these questions. In the twentieth century, physics has developed
two very powerful ways of looking at the world. The first was General
Relativity, developed by Albert Einstein, which describes how gravity
works. This theory is very successful at describing the actions of
stars, galaxies, and objects on the largest scales. The other
theory is called Quantum Mechanics and it is used to describe objects
on microscopic scales - such as atoms, electrons, protons, etc.
Our understanding of how the universe works, in general, takes one of
two distinct forms: either one wishes to have a
conceptual understanding of nature, usually via analogies
with every day experiences, or one is searching for the ability
to quantitatively predict the future. Unlike classical
physics (ie, physics before the twentieth century),
quantum mechanics has defied, for several decades,
attempts to develop a conceptual picture of nature. It is hard to
argue that quantum mechanics is not a good description of
how nature works since physicists can use it to predict the
outcomes of experiments with a high degree of precision. Despite
this, quantum mechanics seems to be incompatible with both our
everyday experiences and with the theory of General Relativity.
These pages are an attempt to detail this conflict.
- The EPR Paradox
- The EPR Paper
- This section will go through the argument in the EPR paper.
- The paradox according to Einstein
- Athough officially Einstein published his critiques in the
famous EPR paper, his letters describing the paradox to his collegues seem
to put the paradox in a different light. What appears to be Einsteins
viewpoint is discussed here.
- John Bell and Hidden Variables
- This section will describe how John Bell proposed a
solution to the EPR paradox. This solution involves
hidden variables and some properties which they would
have to have in order to get around the EPR paradox.
- Aspect Experiments & the TEST
- A description of the experiment
- Quantum Mechanics - this section is an
analysis of this experiment from the quantum mechanical point of view,
including a prediction for the outcome.
- Hidden Variables - this section will
analyse the same experiment from a deterministic point of view (hidden
variables approach) and attempt to put constraints on the outcome.
- The results
- Where are we now?
- Given the results of the Aspect experiments, what are the
implications for modern physics, relativity, and the future of
- A list of works used in this paper, and other related
items which might be of interest