Posted on 10 August 2020
Quantum theory is a powerful theory with a wide range of applications, and its discovery necessitated an overhaul of how we think about the world at a microscopic level, for instance there appears to be a "spooky action at a distance". However, the theory is founded on a series of mathematical axioms whose deep meaning is unclear.
New work by Mirjam Weilenmann and Roger Colbeck, published in the 'Physical Review Letters' journal, lays out an approach to gaining a sharper understanding of quantum mechanics by initiating the search for a task in which the optimal performance can be achieved if the correct theory of nature allows only quantum correlations. Finding such a task would lead to the possibility of an experiment that directly favours quantum mechanics at the expense of alternatives and could lead to the discovery of an underlying physical principle that underpins the mathematical axioms and provides an answer to the question of why the laws of physics follow them.