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Is Teleportation a (quantum) mystery?

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Jeremy Nicholas Butterfield.

Since its discovery quantum teleportation has often been seen as a manifestation, indeed the epitome, of the very paradoxical and mysterious nature of quantum theory itself. It is commonly regarded as genuinely quantum and essentially paradoxical. Although a common approach to teleportation amongst physicists nowadays is a somewhat operational one, some researchers are making an effort to deflate the above views. An excellent example is the article by C. Timpson from which we will start our discussion. According to Timpson the paradox of information transfer taking place in teleportation is dissolved if one notices our tendency to regard information as a thing or stuff, thereby expecting that information flows via a continuous spatio-temporal path. Timpson argues that this treatment of information is incorrect. We will continue by shifting our attention to a classical analogue of teleportation and discussing its various versions. Surprisingly for some people, it will be demonstrated that the major features of teleportation that are often considered as genuinely quantum are shared by the classical versions. Therefore, even if one considers teleportation as mysterious, this mystery is a purely classical one. Finally, I will present a special version of a quantum teleportation protocol which is in a sense split into classical and quantum counterparts. This picture provides us with a unified picture of teleportation in both domains.

References: C. Timpson, The Grammar of Teleportation, Brit. J. Phil. Sci. 57, 587 (2006);;

L. Hardy, Disentangling Nonlocality and Teleportation, quant-ph/9910028.

This talk is part of the Philosophy of Physics series.

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