Action at a distance

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Action at a distance consists of affecting a distant body instantaneously. At the atomic level, this is known as "non-locality".

Examples of action at a distance in physics are:

  • Newtonian gravity
  • Electrostatics (before Maxwell's equations in the 1800s)
  • Quantum entanglement within quantum mechanics (called "non-locality")

Some scientists have long resisted the possibility of action at at distance (non-locality), and the theory of relativity assumes that information traveling instantaneously, or faster than the speed of light, is impossible.

Several theories have been developed as ways of denying action at a distance (non-locality). These include:

  • theories positing the existence of gravitons
  • string theory
  • quantum field theory