The spookiness of quantum mechanics has gone cosmic.
Physicists have used starlight to perform a “Bell test” to verify the strange nature of quantum mechanics. For decades, such tests have repeatedly confirmed quantum physics’s quirks, but the tests contained loopholes. While the major loopholes have already been closed (SN: 12/26/15, p. 24), a lingering caveat remained, regarding whether the measurement equipment’s settings were chosen randomly. To tackle that loophole, scientists used the starlight as a source of randomness. Quantum mechanics emerged unscathed, physicists from the United States and Austria reported online November 22 at arXiv.org.
“It’s a very elegant experiment and I think the results are quite beautiful,” says physicist Krister Shalm of the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colo., who was not involved with the measurement. “I think it’s an important loophole to consider.”
But, says physicist Matthew Leifer of Chapman University in Orange, Calif., “I don’t think it's going to radically change anyone’s worldview.” Scientists were already quite convinced of the counterintuitive nature of quantum physics.