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The evolution of Bell's thinking about the Bell theorem in quantum mechanics

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The 1964 Bell nonlocality theorem did much to expand the foundations of quantum mechanics from philosophy seminars into mainstream physics. In this talk I will concentrate on how the theorem was conceived, and how later variations of the theorem led Bell to a wider notion of nonlocality, and a change in the significance of the theorem. I will also discuss whether Bell thought nonlocality is consistent or otherwise with special relativity, and address the wider question as to whether the Bell theorem, in any of its variants, shows that quantum mechanics is necessarily nonlocal, as is often claimed. (The talk will be for non-experts, but based on my paper with Christopher Timpson: “Bell on Bell’s theorem: The changing face of nonlocality”, in Quantum Nonlocality and Reality, Mary Bell and Shan Gao (eds.), Cambridge University Press, 2016, pp. 91-123. http://arxiv.org/abs/1501.03521)

This talk is part of the Cambridge University Physics Society series.

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