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The BIG Bell Test - F. A. Q.

What, when and where is the BIG Bell Test?

Next November 30 a series of cutting-edge quantum physics experiments will take place and they will need the help of the largest possible number of people.

The BIG Bell Test is coordinated by ICFO and there will be experiments in laboratories located all around the world: Barcelona (Spain), Brisbane-Griffith (Australia), Brisbane-Queensland (Australia), Concepción (Chile), Nice (France), Shanghai (China), Wien (Austria), Zurich (Switzerland). You can see the updated map with all the involved labs here.

What is a Bellster?

A Bellster (contraction of Bell tester) is anyone who participate to the BIG Bell Test through our videogame. Everyone can participate to the BIG Bell Test and become a Bellster! We hope you're going to be one!

How can I participate?

Everyone can participate: you just need to go to the BIG Bell Test website (thebigbelltest.org) and insert 0s and 1s (bits) through a videogame platform.
That's all you need to do to become a Bellster!
The version of the videogame you will find now is a provisional beta version: soon we will publish the final videogame with levels and rankings.

When you play the videogame, you generate random sequences of 0s and 1s that will get to the laboratories to help the scientists to study the behaviour of the quantum particles. You choose what happens in the laboratories as we test quantum physics using human unpredictability.

Remember: you can start playing right now, but it's only on November 30, 2016 that your bits will reach the laboratories!

Why are we doing these experiments?

From the origins of quantum physics, scientists have debated intensely about certain consequences that seemed to emerge from it, traditionally of the exclusive domain of philosophy:

  • Does the world exist independently of us, observers?
  • Is it possible that things around us can deceive our senses and show us a different reality when we decide to look at it?
  • Can we affect reality just by looking at it?

Believe it or not, there is a physics experiment that can decide once and for all these questions, without further discussion: The Bell Test, that was designed by physicist John Bell at CERN in 1964.

Why do we need Bellsters?

The Bell Test has been performed in several occasions, most of the times with favorable results for quantum physics and their counterintuitive predictions. One of such predictions is entanglement, or spooky action at a distance: no matter how far apart are two entangled particles, when we look at (and therefore affect) one of them, this effect will be immediately felt by the other.

But in order to convince the whole community, the Bell Test must be performed under strict conditions. One of such conditions is avoiding the use of machines or quantum objects for controlling the experiment settings, since they could be part of the big conspiracy of things against minds.

What do I need to know to be a Bellster?

You don't need to be a scientist to be a Bellster: you just have to connect to the website and start playing!

But if you want to learn more about the BIG Bell Test, you can have a look at:

  • the project website
  • the events organised in the Barcelona area
  • this collection of online videos and articles
  • this list of interesting books
  • if you're a teacher, here you can find suggestions and resources to bring the BIG Bell Tests to your classroom.