New quantum paradox throws the foundations of observed reality into question

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? Perhaps not, some say.



a star filled sky: abstract quantum particle


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abstract quantum particle

And if someone is there to hear it? If you think that means it obviously did make a sound, you might need to revise that opinion.

We have found a new paradox in quantum mechanics — one of our two most fundamental scientific theories, together with Einstein’s theory of relativity — that throws doubt on some common-sense ideas about physical reality.

Quantum mechanics vs. common sense

Take a look at these three statements:

  • When someone observes an event happening, it really happened.
  • It is possible to make free choices, or at least, statistically random choices.
  • A choice made in one place can’t instantly affect a distant event. (Physicists call this “locality”.)

These are all intuitive ideas, and widely

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