Dance of the Photons: From Einstein to Quantum Teleportation [NOOK Book]


Einstein?s steadfast refusal to accept certain aspects of quantum theory was rooted in his insistence that physics has to be about reality. Accordingly, he once derided as ?spooky action at a distance? the notion that two elementary particles far removed from each other could nonetheless influence each other?s properties?a hypothetical phenomenon his fellow theorist Erwin Schr?dinger termed ?quantum entanglement.? In a series of ingenious experiments conducted in various locations?from a dank sewage tunnel ...
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Dance of the Photons: From Einstein to Quantum Teleportation

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Einstein’s steadfast refusal to accept certain aspects of quantum theory was rooted in his insistence that physics has to be about reality. Accordingly, he once derided as “spooky action at a distance” the notion that two elementary particles far removed from each other could nonetheless influence each other’s properties—a hypothetical phenomenon his fellow theorist Erwin Schrödinger termed “quantum entanglement.” In a series of ingenious experiments conducted in various locations—from a dank sewage tunnel under the Danube River to the balmy air between a pair of mountain peaks in the Canary Islands—the author and his colleagues have demonstrated the reality of such entanglement using photons, or light quanta, created by laser beams. In principle the lessons learned may be applicable in other areas, including the eventual development of quantum computers.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

A complex but ultimately rewarding exploration of the weird world of quantum physics, which describes the behavior of atomic and subatomic particles.

For example, light moves in both waves and particles, depending on the experiment. Quantum measurements can't precisely locate a particle such as an electron, and a researcher can only give statistical odds that it's in a particular spot (anywhere in the universe!). Einstein detested this idea, insisting that the description of light is wrong and that every electron is someplace. In his first book in English, Austrian physicist Zeilinger (Physics/Univ. of Vienna) defends the majority view: Quantum descriptions seem bizarre, but that's the reality. Treading carefully, the author introduces two college freshmen, Bob and Alice, eager for a taste of quantum physics. Obligingly, their professor places each in distant rooms with a detector connected to a central source that emits light particles that trigger both detectors. Their assignment is to explain what's happening—not a simple goal because each pair of photons is "entangled," a quantum concept that means they are linked no matter how far they are separated. A change in one is instantly reflected in the other. Einstein dreamed up entanglement in 1935, explaining that it's consistent with quantum laws but so absurd that it shows the theory's defects. Amazingly, experiments proved that entanglement not only exists but has practical applications in computing, cryptography and even teleportation—of subatomic particles. Zeilinger uses simple diagrams and cheerful dialogues between Bob and Alice to make a difficult concept somewhat less difficult.

Not for the scientifically disinclined, but readers who pay close attention will grasp a strange but fascinating scientific principle.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781429963794
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 10/12/2010
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,031,464
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Anton Zeilinger is a professor of physics at the University of Vienna, where he heads the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information of the Austrian Academy of Sciences.
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Read an Excerpt

SPACE TRAVELWhen we hear of teleportation, we often think it would be an ideal means of traveling. We would simply disappear from wherever we happened to be and reappear immediately at our destination. The tantalizing part is that this would be the fastest possible way of traveling. Yet, a warning might be in order here: teleportation as a means of travel is still science fiction rather than science.Thus far, people have only been able to travel to the Moon, which on a cosmic scale is extremely close, the equivalent of our backyard. Within our solar system, the closest planets, Venus and Mars, are already roughly a thousand times more distant than the Moon, to say nothing of the planets farther out in the solar system.It is interesting to consider how long it would take to go to other stars. As we all remember from the Apollo program, which put the first men on the Moon, it takes about four days to go from Earth to the Moon. Traveling by spaceship from Earth to the planet Mars would take on the order of 260 days, one way. It is evident that our space travelers would get quite bored during that time, so they might make good use of their time by performing experiments involving quantum teleportation.In order to get even farther out, we might use the accelerating force of other planets or even of Earth itself, as has been done with some of the unmanned spacecraft exploring outer planets. The idea is simply to have the spaceship pass close by a planet so that, by means of a sort of slingshot action, it can be accelerated into a new orbit that carries it much farther outward. For example, using these methods, the spacecraft Pioneer 10 took about eleven years to travel past the outermost planets of the solar system on its probably unending journey into thespace between the stars. We can thus estimate that it will, for example, take Pioneer 10 about 100,000 years to get to Proxima Centauri, the closest star except for the Sun, at its current speed.Perhaps, therefore, it would be good to have some other way to get around, to cover large distances. What we want is to travel anywhere instantly, without any limitation on how far we can go. Is that possible, at least in principle? This is why science-fiction writers invented teleportation. Magically, you disappear from one place, and, magically, you reappear at another place, just an instant later.Copyright © 2010 by Anton Zeilinger
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2014

    Amazing book!

    Prof. Zeilinger and his group on Austria have pioneered a lot of techniques in Quantum teleportation and quantum communications.

    This book is the authoritative account of the mind bending science and reality of these pioneers in quanum computers and communication for the informed lay person.

    Zeilinger missed the 2012 Nobel Prize to Serge Haroche and American scientist but his contributions are in that stratospheric level.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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