Writing and citizen science: Big Bell Test

Gamers help physicists in massive experiment to challenge Einstein

More than half a million levels of a video game have provided random data for a global study testing the laws of quantum physics.

The Quantum Technology lab at the University of Queensland and ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems (EQUS) was one of 12 laboratories from five continents to participate in the Big Bell Test, coordinated by the Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO) in Barcelona.

The 100,000 participants generated more than 90 million human-generated random numbers, tripling expectations.

The Big Bell Test relied on the fact that people are unpredictable, and when using smartphones even more so. Players contributed unpredictable numbers, using smartphones.

Those random bits then determined how various entangled atoms, photons, and superconductors were measured in the experiments, closing a stubborn loophole in tests of Einstein’s principle of local realism.

The results are reported in Nature. An article in Australasian Science is due out in early September 2018.


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