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  • How ‘spooky’ is quantum physics? The answer could be incalculable

Albert Einstein famously said that quantum mechanics should allow two objects to affect each other’s behaviour instantly across vast distances, something he dubbed “spooky action at a distance”1. Decades after his death, experiments confirmed this, but to this day, it remains unclear exactly how much coordination nature allows between distant objects. Now, five researchers say they have solved a theoretical problem that shows that the answer is, in principle, unknowable.

The team’s 165-page paper appeared on the arXiv preprint repository2, and has yet to be peer reviewed. If it checks out, it solves a number of related problems in pure mathematics, quantum mechanics and a branch of computer science known as complexity theory in one fell swoop. In particular, it answers a mathematical question that had been unsolved for more than 40 years.

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