IN OCTOBER 2016, while working in Rwanda, a biologist named Jordi Galbany heard about a new online game on one of his favorite podcasts, a Catalan-language radio show called “Versió Rac 1.” Playing was simple, he learned: All you did was frantically press 1’s and 0’s as randomly as possible. Galbany was in. Between days of fieldwork, where he would enter the Rwandan forest to measure the growth of wild mountain gorillas, he logged on to his computer to play the game for an hour. “I put it in my agenda,” Galbany says. “I really wanted to do it.”
He wasn’t the only one. In the next month—mostly on November 30—about 100,000 people around the world would play the simplistic keyboard-mashing game in response to a publicity campaign run by physicists. It turns out, the random bits they generated would be used in an ambitious new experiment to test the weirdest predictions of quantum mechanics.