Options catching the big guy s thoughts
The weirdest idea in quantum physics is catching on: There may be endless worlds with countless versions of you. Even if you'll never meet those other yous, some physicists say they're out there. According to the "many worlds" interpretation of quantum mechanics, there may be multiple copies of us living in multiple worlds. Powell Ever wonder what would have happened if you'd taken up the "Hey, let's get coffee" offer from that cool classmate you once had?
Multiple splits, multiple worlds
Maybe a version of you in another world did go on that date, and is now celebrating your 10th wedding anniversary. The idea that there are multiple versions of you, existing across worlds too numerous to count, is a long way from our intuitive experience. It sure looks and feels like each of us is just one person living just one life, waking up every day in the same, one-and-only world.
Things get downright bizarre when you realize that all those subatomic splits would also apply to bigger things, including ourselves. Or maybe in another, you tripped at the top of a cliff and fell to your death — oops.
But in the quantum realm, objects exist in a smudge of probability, snapping into focus only when observed. Even Einstein struggled with the notion: What happened to all of the other possible locations where the object could have been, and all the other different outcomes that could have ensued?
Any simple theory will be worded in the most complicated way. Barr's Inertial Principle: Asking scientists to revise their theory is like asking cops to revise the law.
He proposed that all possible outcomes bitcoins easy money do occur — but that only a single version plays out in the world we inhabit.
All the other possibilities split off from us, each giving rise to its own separate world. Nothing ever goes to waste, in this view, since everything that can happen does happen in some world. Options catching the big guy s thoughts a result, many contemporary physicists — including David Deutsch at Oxford University and Max Tegmark at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — have come to agree with Carroll that the many worlds interpretation is the only coherent way to understand quantum mechanics.
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A field guide to many worlds The many worlds interpretation raises all kinds of puzzling questions about the multiple versions of reality, and about the multiple versions of you that exist in them. Carroll has some answers. It's better to think of it as taking a big thick universe and slicing it.
Everyone in every world thinks that they're in that world. Crossing over is like traveling faster than the speed of light. It's not something that you can do.
Fuchs favors an alternative called Quantum Bayesianismwhich offers a path back to an old-fashioned single reality. He argues that the universe changes when you look at it not because you are creating new worlds but simply because observation requires interacting with your surroundings.
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No coffee dates, no other lives for you. Related Science Scientists are searching for a mirror universe.
How did we get here?
It could be sitting right in front of you. In a more complete quantum theoryPenrose argues, gravity helps anchor reality and blurry events will have only one allowable outcome.
He points to a potentially decisive experiment now being carried out at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and Leiden University in the Netherlands that's designed to directly observe how an object transforms from many possible locations to a single, fixed reality.
Carroll is unmoved by these alternative explanations, which he considers overly complicated and unsupported by data. The notion of multiple yous can be unnerving, he concedes.