Einstein’s Quantum Riddle
Join scientists as they grab light from across the universe to prove quantum entanglement is real
Over the past century, scientists have made huge strides in understanding the mind-bending rules that govern the microworld of atoms and subatomic particles. But these rules, called quantum mechanics, contain one particularly bizarre, unexplained phenomenon: quantum entanglement.
Imagine two subatomic particles that mirror changes in each other instantaneously over any distance – apparently without communicating. Einstein called it “spooky action at a distance” and although no one can explain how it works, scientists have already begun to harness its power.
So-called quantum computing could give rise to computers that can shatter existing data encryption in minutes – and use the laws of physics to create a totally secure, unhackable network. But even as researchers are poised to transform the digital world with entanglement, a few doubts about it remain, and to rule them out will take a ground-breaking experiment.
NOVA takes you to a frigid mountaintop in the Canary Islands where physicists will use massive telescopes to catch light from quasars at opposite ends of the universe to control detectors in a record-breaking experiment that might settle the remaining questions once and for all.