Item #73 On the problem of hidden variables in quantum mechanics. JOHN S. BELL.

On the problem of hidden variables in quantum mechanics

FIRST EDITION of Bell’s paper proving that hidden variables can in fact describe quantum events if non-locality is included.

John Bell was the originator of Bell’s Theorem, one of the most important theorems in quantum physics. Bell’s Theorem draws a line in the sand between the world we know intuitively and that of quantum mechanics. Elegant and brief yet also called "the most profound in science," the theorem states simply that "no physical theory of local hidden variables can ever reproduce all of the predictions of quantum mechanics" (Stapp, 1975). In 1932, John von Neumann wrote a paper disproving de Broglie’s argument that there is a “hidden variable” that determines the precise position of the photon. Von Neumann was such a brilliant mathematician that no one bothered to check his maths; when Bell did in this 1966 paper, he showed that von Neumann had been wrong and there could be hidden variables after all, but only if particles could communicate faster than light (called “non-locality”).

IN: Reviews of Modern Physics, pp. 447-52, Vol. 38, 1966. Lancaster, PA and New York, NY: American Physical Society, 1966. Three-quarter red cloth over marbled boards, morocco spine labels. Slight scuffing to spine labels, otherwise fine.

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