Dance of the Photons

Dance of the Photons

Einstein, Entanglement and Quantum Teleportation

Summary

A Nobel Laureate explains quantum entanglement and teleportation and why Einstein was wrong about the nature of reality

What is the true nature of reality? To find out, Nobel Laureate Anton Zeilinger takes us (along with his fictional students Alice and Bob) on a voyage through a quantum wonderland, explaining entanglement, teleportation, time-travel paradoxes and why our view of the world must change.

Originally published in America in 2012, a new Afterword in the light of the author's 2022 Nobel Prize means the book brings readers up-to-date with the most recent developments in quantum teleportation. This describes the author's collaboration to perform the first intercontinental video call encrypted using quantum cryptography, and how Chinese scientists teleported entangled quantum states to an orbiting satellite. Readers also learn how both volunteer humans and astronomical objects billions of light years away have been part of experiments to conclusively prove that quantum states cannot provide a full description of reality at a local level.

Einstein had always refused to accept aspects of quantum theory, deriding the notion of instantaneous communication between faraway 'entangled' particles as 'spooky action at a distance'. However, this playful yet deep book takes readers through a series of ingenious experiments conducted in various locations that demonstrate entanglement is indeed real, and speculates that information is an essential part of reality.

From a dank sewage tunnel under the River Danube to the balmy air between a pair of mountain peaks in the Canary Islands, with various time-travel paradoxes explained along the way, the author and his fictional physics students Alice and Bob demonstrate the true nature of quantum entanglement and teleportation using photons, or light quanta, created by laser beams. The ideas described have laid the foundations for a new era of quantum technology, including the development of quantum computers and much more.

Reviews

  • Using refined tools and long series of experiments, Anton Zeilinger ... has demonstrated a phenomenon called quantum teleportation, which makes it possible to move a quantum state from one particle to one at a distance ... A new kind of quantum technology is emerging
    The Nobel Prize Judges

About the author

Anton Zeilinger

Anton Zeilinger won the 2022 Nobel Prize for Physics for conducting "groundbreaking experiments using entangled light particles, photons". He has been Professor of Experimental Physics at the University of Vienna since 1999, and conducting research at the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information of the Austrian Academy of Sciences since 2004. But his fascination with science extends beyond the very smallest (quantum) level, to the very largest scales of astrophysics. You might even find him in a Viennese café or a Boston jazz club, pondering the meaning of life, the universe and everything, or on the sailboat he christened "42", which is part of the answer.

For around a decade he served as President of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, yet somehow he also finds time for Bach, Beethoven, Schubert and The Beatles, and much more besides. It remains a mystery how he jumps from one place to another so quickly to achieve all this, when the book claims human teleportation is impossible.
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