Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Quantum lottery

Use quantum entanglement to make things really random
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When you buy a lottery "scratch off" ticket, it's already a winner or loser, but you don't know which until you scratch the stuff off. What if you had "tickets" which were basically little quantum computers, each of which contained an electron or some quantum object, and all the tickets for a given lottery had their electrons quantum entangled. Then at a preset time, everybody presses the button on the box, which leads to a collapse of the wave function, and only one of the tickets actually gets the winning quantum state.

Now, I don't know enough physics to understand how quantum entanglement works or how you might implement this. I know if you have two electrons and one is spin up and the other is spin down, but they have been joined in one quantum state so you don't know which one is up, then you can separate them and neither will actually be up or down until you measure one, and then the other gets the opposite state.

Maybe you can take a whole bunch of electons, only one of which has the "winning spin" (hey, you could call the lottery the "Big Spin"...) and put them all in a box or magnetic trap or something, and then take them out one by one. Maybe they have to be supercooled. I don't know...

What would be the advantage of this? Well, you could hold something in your hand which would intrinsically contain "winningness" or not (that is, not a number that will be determined by some external force to be the winner) except it won't actually be decided and hidden from you, but really not decided ... Yeah, I guess that's not such a good motivation ...

wayne606, Mar 01 2003

Schrodinger's cat http://whatis.techt...9_gci341236,00.html
Schrodinger's cat is a famous illustration of the principle in quantum theory of superposition... [liamdelahunty, Oct 04 2004]

Photon self-identity problems http://www.nearingz...nres/quantum007.jpg
[omegatron, Jun 01 2005]


       I half-baked a "True Random Number Generator" here once. But then the only application I could think of for it was number selection for lotteries. But then I realized that nobody's complaining about bad lottery results due to insufficiently complex physics or number theory.   

       I do like the overkill here. +
snarfyguy, Mar 04 2003

       Perhaps this could be created by using rapidly spinning particles which would be spontaneously shot with a weak blast of energy when the ticket is activated. According to quantum theory, since you no longer know whether or not the pulse was enough to knock the particle into spinning on direction or the other, it spins both ways at once; the user of the ticket observes the particle and forces it to drop into a given quantum state of +/- 1/2. +1/2 could be a binary 1 and -1/2 could be a binary 0; you can have 36 particles and get 6 6-bit numbers, allowing each number to be from 1 to 63. All the randomness is generated by the user, making any kind of fraud completely impossible.   

       Well, I suppose that works anyway.
Macwarrior, Mar 04 2003

       Schrodinger's Lottery? You've got a winning or losing ticket, or more acurately a winning AND losing ticket. But you don't know what state it will remain in until you check it... but checking it may change the state ... Hmmmm, maybe we've got that already. How can we tell?
liamdelahunty, Mar 04 2003

       re liamdelahunty: AAAAAAA!!!!!
tkeyser, Mar 05 2003

       Then shirley its state will change when the lottery officials re-check it?
egbert, Mar 05 2003

       Since I wrote this half-baked suggestion I read a book called Nymphomation by Jeff Noon - it has a very similar idea. Not so easy to read but worth it...
wayne606, Mar 26 2004

       How about this.. make ALL LOTTERY TICKETS WINNING TICKETS. The rub is... you don;t know ahead of time WHEN it will win.. You scratch it off and see you've just won $1000 payable in the year 3020. (and not indexed for inflation) This is equivalent to a losing ticket, but you get the happy joy joy feeling of being a future winner.
sirching, Mar 26 2004

       For one, this would make it difficult for someone to tamper with the tickets.
jutta, May 31 2004

yamahito, May 31 2004

       I would buy a ticket just for the coolness of having an entangled particle setup in my hands.
Quantum_P, Jun 02 2005


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