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Previous Programs

2018 Agency in the Physical World
Awardees; RFP download

2016 Physics of the Observer
Awardees; RFP download

2015 The Physics of What Happens
Awardees; RFP download

2013 Physics of Information
Awardees; RFP download

2010 The Nature of Time
Awardees; RFP download

2008 Foundational Questions in Physics and Cosmology
Awardees; RFP download

2006 Foundational Questions in Physics and Cosmology
Awardees; RFP download

Dr. Paul G. Kwiat
University of Illinois


Joseph Benjamin Altepeter, University of Illinois

Project Title

Loophole-free Test of Bell's Inequalities

Project Summary

In 1935, Einstein, Podolsky, and Rosen (EPR) proposed one of the greatest scientific paradoxes of the 20th century: quantum mechanics, an extremely successful physical theory, appeared to violate the basic principles of locality (which states that distant objects can have no direct influence on each other) and realism (which requires that - given enough information - it be possible to predict the result of any measurement). This mystery was so complete that it took 30 years for a resolution to be proposed. In 1964, John Bell discovered that not only did the quantum mechanical phenomenon of entanglement violate local realism, an experiment could be performed which would rule out all local realistic theories. Myriad experiments have been performed which support this bizarre quantum mechanical conclusion, yet in fact no experiment to date has incontrovertibly ruled out local realism -every experiment thus far has possessed one or more loopholes arising from auxiliary experimental assumptions. Now, due to recent advances in the science of creating and detecting entanglement, it may finally be possible to perform a completely "loophole-free" test of Bell's theory. We propose to perform this test and - 70 years after it was proposed - to unambiguously resolve the EPR paradox.

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