Monday, December 14, 2015

Teleportation gets breakthru award

Physics World announces:
The Physics World 2015 Breakthrough of the Year goes to Jian-Wei Pan and Chaoyang Lu of the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei, for being the first to achieve the simultaneous quantum teleportation of two inherent properties of a fundamental particle – the photon. Nine other achievements are highly commended and cover topics ranging from astronomy to medical physics

Synonymous with the fictional world of Star Trek, the idea of teleportation has intrigued scientists and the public alike. Reality caught up with fiction in 1993, when an international group of physicists proved theoretically that the teleportation of a quantum state is entirely possible, so long as the original state being copied is destroyed. Successfully teleporting a quantum state therefore involves making a precise measurement of a system, transmitting the information to a distant location and then reconstructing a flawless copy of the original state. As the "no cloning" theorem of quantum mechanics does not allow for a perfect copy of a quantum state to be made, it must be completely transferred from one particle onto another, such that the first particle is no longer in that state.
From a strictly scientific view, this work is of only very minor significance. It only gets attention because of the Star Trek terminology.

Some info is being transmitted, and it is wrapped in quantum terms to make it sound like a big deal.

Likewise, Nature mag made a big deal out of some physics problem being undecidable. See Aaronson and Motl for their slants on it. It all sounds very profound as unknowable math has surfaced as unknowable physics. But it is really not. It is just a minor curiosity with little significance for math or physics.

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