Sunday, January 25, 2009

Bad Headline on "Quantum Teleportation Between "Distant" Matter Qubit"

Now, when you pick up a phone, and the sound of your voice traveled to another phone in another location, do you then conclude that you yourself have been transported to that location?

Of course not!

So if you read about the report on the recent demonstration of quantum teleportation between distance matter, do you think people draw up the SAME conclusion? Some news agency do. Look at the headline from this site reporting on the same quantum teleportation result.

Scientist Teleport Matter More Than Three Feet

That's bogus! It is even misleading at best!

Matter did not get "teleported" in this experiment. The ions were THERE already when one of them got measured. It is A PROPERTY of the ions that was the one that got "teleported".

That headline not only does not match the paper being reported on, it also does not match the content of the news article! If you read it carefully, the clearly mentioned that ".... Now the JQI team, along with colleagues at the University of Michigan, has succeeded in teleporting a quantum state directly from one atom to another over a meter...." This is correct, and it clearly showed that only STATE of ion that got teleported, i.e. a particular property, and not the ion itself. So they either wrote this down without knowing what it means, or they simply copy-and-paste what was given to them.

And of course, people who don't know any better will not get this subtle difference and will simply latch on to the headline. And we wonder why we often come across people with very faulty understanding of physics and science.

Zz.

5 comments:

YKhan said...

Absolutely right, I've talked to some of these journalists, and they've told me that often the headline writer is not the same as the article writer. So even if the article writer knew what he was talking about, the headline writer will always choose the most sensational headline to put on it, actual contents of the article be damned!

ZapperZ said...

That's sad. Unfortunately, they get away with it, because there's no one to point out their stupidity.

Zz.

Tom said...

Not at all surprised that they led with the Star Trek comment. Ugh.

ZapperZ said...

That connection with Star Trek is expected, and the blame for that should partly fall onto those in this field that coined the phrase quantum "teleportation". That inevitably will conjure up the teleportation device in Star Trek, which is what most people can associate with.

We often are saddled with the various inappropriate terminologies that we have to live with. This is just one of them.

Zz.

\epsilon said...

It's not the first time something like that has happened and unfortunately I don't expect it to be the last time either.