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50 Years of the Multiverse Interpretation

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the one-of-my-favorite-verses dept.

Sci-Fi 198

chinmay7 writes "There is an excellent selection of articles (and quite a few related scientific papers) in a special edition of Nature magazine on interpretations of the multiverse theory. 'Fifty years ago this month Hugh Everett III published his paper proposing a "relative-state formulation of quantum mechanics" — the idea subsequently described as the 'many worlds' or 'multiverse' interpretation. Its impact on science and culture continues. In celebration, a science fiction special edition of Nature on 5 July 2007 explores the symbiosis of science and sf, as exemplified by Everett's hypothesis, its birth, evolution, champions and opponents, in biology, physics, literature and beyond.'

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198 comments

So in another universe of the multiverse... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19775633)

There was no Sliders, no Crisis on Infinite Earths, no quantum mirror in Stargate?!

Re:So in another universe of the multiverse... (1)

DoraLives (622001) | more than 6 years ago | (#19775679)

And apparently no article, either.

Who wants to loan me their account at Nature so I can log in?

Re:So in another universe of the multiverse... (5, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 6 years ago | (#19775823)

Who wants to loan me their account at Nature so I can log in?

Try one username/password combination at random. At least one of your instances will get in.

Re:So in another universe of the multiverse... (2, Funny)

DoraLives (622001) | more than 6 years ago | (#19775929)

It appears to be working just like you said it would, but unfortunately I don't seem to be able to access the universe that it's working in.

Can I now borrow your username and password for that universe?

Re:So in another universe of the multiverse... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19776015)

Just trick some people in the other universe into invoking Cthulhu, and ask Him to spit the information at you in this continuum.
You'll be edified, right before you're "e'tified".
Fool.

Re:So in another universe of the multiverse... (4, Funny)

qbwiz (87077) | more than 6 years ago | (#19776085)

Just rig up your computer to kill you instantaneously if you don't get access. Then, you'll never experience the problem of not having access.

I am embarrassed to say.. (1)

Brad1138 (590148) | more than 6 years ago | (#19775635)

That the first thing I thought of when reading the title was, "50 years of anime?"

Moving Dimensions Theory (1)

22RealMcCoy (864375) | more than 6 years ago | (#19776109)

The fourth dimension is expanding relative to the three spatial dimensions.

This simple postulate offers a physical model underlying and unifiying:

RELATIVITY:

1) length contraction 2) time dilation 3) the equivalence of mass and energy 4) the constant velocity of light 5) the independence of the speed of light from the velocity of the source

QUANTUMN MECHANICS 1) action at a distance 2) wave-particle duality 3) interference phenomena 4) EPR paradox

THERMODYNAMICS 1) Time's arrow 2) Entropy

STRING THEORY'S MANY DIMENSIONS / KALUZA/KLEIN THEORY 1) a fourth expanding dimension can be interepreted as many dimensions, each time it expands

THE UNITY OF THE DUALITIES 1) wave/particle duality 2) time/space duality 3) energy/mass duality 4) E/B duality

GENERAL RELATIVITY 1) Gravitational redshift 2) Gravity waves 3) Gravitation attraction

THE SPACE-TIME BACKGROUND 1) quantum foam 2) the smearing of space and time at small distances 3) Hawking's imaginary time

PARADOXES 1) MDT explains away Godel's Block Universe 2) MDT unfreezes time 3) Resolves Zeno's Paradox

ONE GETS ALL OF THIS FROM A SIMPLE POSTULATE:

The fourth dimension is expanding relative to the three spatial dimensions in a sphereically symmetric manner, in units of the Planck length, at the rate of c.

This means that every point in three dimnesional space is always expanding into a fourth dimensional sphere with a radius of the plank length. A photon is mater caught on the surface of this quantized expansion, and thus energy is quantized. The expansion of the fourth dimension occurs at the rate of c, and thus he velocity of all photons is c.

Check out the t-shirt with a simple proof of MDT:

http://www.cafepress.com/autumnrangers.72464949 [cafepress.com]

"The only way to stay stationary in the fourth dimension is to move at the speed of light through the three spatial dimensions. Ergo the fourth dimension is expanding at the rate of c relative to the three spatial dimenions."

How sad it is that when truth stares modern physicists in the face, they must close their eyes so as to get a postdoc or raise more funds for String Theory.

Moving Dimensions Theory is in complete agreement with all experimental tests and phenomena associated with special and general relativity. MDT is in complete agreement with all physical phenomena as predicted by quantum mechanics and demonstrated in extensive experiments. The genius and novelty of MDT is that it presents a common physical model which shows that phenomena from both relativity and quantum mechanics derive from the same fundamental physical reality.

Nowhere does String Theory nor Loop Quantum Gravity account for quantum entanglement nor relativistic time dilation. MDT shows these derive from the same underlying physical reality. Nowhere does ST nor LQG account for wave-particle duality nor relativistic length contraction. MDT shows these derive from the same underlying physical reality. Nowhere does ST nor LQG account for the constant speed of light, nor the independence of the speed of light on the velocity of the source, nor entropy, nor time's arrow. MDT shows these derive from the same underlying physical reality. Nowhere does String Theory nor Loop Quantum Gravity resolve the paradox of Godel's Block Universe which troubled Eisntein. MDT resolves this paradox.

Simply put, MDT replaces the contemporary none-theories with a physical theory, complete with a simple postulate that unifies formerly disparate phenomena within a simple context.

THE GENERAL POSTULATE OF DYNAMIC DIMENSIONS THEORY The fourth dimension is expanding relative to the three spatial dimensions.

If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it. -Albert Einstein

But after thirty years of the absurdity of String Theory, millions of dollars from the NSF, and billions of complementary dollars from tax and tuition and endowments spent on killing physics and indie physicists, perhaps it's time for something that makes sense-for a physical theory that actually accounts for a deeper reality from which both Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, from which time, entanglement, gravity, entropy, interference, the constant speed of light, relativistic time dilation, length contraction, and the equivalence of mass and energy emerge. It's time for Moving Dimensions Theory-MDT. -The Physicist with No Name

I know what you're thinking. Did he say there were thirty-six dimensions or only thirty-five? Well to tell you the truth in all this excitement I've kinda lost track myself. But being this is a .45 Revolver-the most powerful hand gun in the world and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question--Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya punk!? -Clint Eastwood

I'm interested in the fact that the less secure a man is, the more likely he is to have extreme prejudice. -Clint Eastwood

Go ahead. Make my day. -Clint Eastwood

MDT IN BRIEF Without further adieu, allow me to present the beauty and elegance of MDT by showing both its simplicity and far-reaching ability to account for and answer fundamental questions. All of the below will be elaborated on throughout the book.

Questions Addressed by MDT:

Why does light have a maximum, constant speed independent of the source? The fourth dimension is expanding relative to the three spatial dimensions. A photon is momenergy that exists orthogonal to the three spatial dimensions. It is carried along by the expanding fourth dimension. So no matter how fast the source is moving when the photon is emitted, the photon travels at the rate with which the fourth dimension is expanding relative to the three spatial dimensions. Thus c is always independent of the movement of the source.

Why are light and energy quantized? The fourth dimension is expanding in a quantized manner relative to the three spatial dimensions. Light and energy are matter rotated completely into the fourth expanding dimension, and as it expands in a quantized manner, light and energy are thus quantized.

Why is the velocity of light constant in all frames? Time is an emergent phenomena that arises because the fourth dimension is expanding relative to the three spatial dimensions. The flow of time is inextricably wed to the emission and propagation of photons. In all biological, mechanical, and electronic clocks, the emission and propagation of photons is what determines time. The velocity of light is always measured with respect to time, which is inextricably linked to the velocity of light. This tautology ensures that the velocity of light, measured relative to the velocity of light, will always be the same.

How can photons display both wave and particle properties? The fundamental photon propagates as a spherical wave-front, surfing the fourth expanding dimension. This is because the fourth expanding dimension appears as a spherical wavefront as it expands through the three spatial dimensions. The act of measurement localizes the photon's momenergy, taking it out of the expanding fourth dimension and trapping it in the three stationary spatial dimensions, and it appears as a localized particle, trapped by electrons as it blackens a grain on a photographic plate.

How can matter display both wave and particle properties? The fundamental electron is abuzz with photons. Photons are continually being emitted into the fourth expanding dimension and reabsorbed by the electron. The continual dance with these photons gives the electron its wave properties. Nothing moves without photons which up the net probability that the combine momenergy will be in the expanding fourth dimension. The more photons one adds to an object, the greater the chance it has of existing in the expanding fourth dimension, and thus it moves.

Why are there non-local effects in quantum mechanics? The fourth dimension is expanding relative to the three spatial dimensions. That means that what begins as a point in the fourth dimension is a sphere with a 186,000 mile radius one second later. So it is that the entire spherical wavefront of the photon exists in the exact same place in time. Hence the non-locality observed in double slit experiments, the EPR effect, and quantum entanglement. Take two interacting spin ½ photons and let them propagate at the speed of c in opposite directions. They are yet at the exact same place in time! And too, they are yet in the exact same place of the fourth expanding dimension.

Why does time stop at the speed of light? Time depends on the emission and propagation of photons. If no photons are emitted, time does not occur. This holds true whether the clock is an unwinding copper spring, a biological system such as a heart, or an oscillating quartz crystal. No photom emission=no time! As an object approaches the speed of light, its ability to emit photons without reabsorbing them diminishes. An object traveling at the speed of light cannot emit a photon.

How come a photon does not age? A photon represents momenergy rotated entirely into the fourth expanding dimension. A photon stays the exact same place in the fourth dimension, no matter how far it travels. A photon stays the exact same place in time, no matter how far it travels. Again, time is not the fourth dimension, but in inherits properties of the fourth dimension.

Why are inertial mass and gravitational mass the same thing?

Why do moving bodies exhibit length contraction? Movement is always accompanied by a shortening in length. This is because the only way for a body to move is for it to undergo a rotation into the forth dimension, which is expanding relative to the three spatial dimensions. The more energy an electron has, the more photons it possesses, and the higher probability it exists in the expanding fourth dimension. Hence its length appears contracted as perceived from the three spatial dimensions.

Why are mass and energy equivalent? The fourth dimension is expanding relative to the three spatial dimensions. That means that a baseball sitting on a lab table stationary in our three-dimensional inertial reference frame, is yet moving at a fantastic velocity relative to the fourth dimension. Hence every seemingly stationary mass has a vast energy, as given by E=mc2. In a nuclear reaction matter is rotated into the expanding fourth dimension, appearing as high-enegry photons (gamma rays) propagating at the same velocity of the fourth expanding dimension-c.

Why does time's arrow point in the direction it points in? The fourth dimension is expanding relative to the three spatial dimensions. Hence every photon naturally expands in a spherically symmetric manner. Hence every electron, or piece of matter that interacts with photons, is naturally carried outward from a central point in a spherically symmetric manner. Hence the particles in a drop of dye in a swimming pool dissipate in a spherically symmetric manner, and are never reunited. Hence time's arrow and entropy. Why do photons appear as spherically-symmetric wavefronts traveling at a velocity c? The fourth dimension is expanding relative to the three spatial dimensions at the velocity c. Hence photons, which are tiny packets of momenergy rotated entirely into the fourth dimension, appear as spherically-symmetric wavefronts propagating at the velocity c. Why is there a minus sign in the following metric? x^2+y^2+z^2-c^2t^2=s^2 The fourth dimension is expanding relative to the three spatial dimensions at the velocity c. Hence the only way to stay still in the space-time continuum, and to achieve a 0 interval, is to move with the velocity of light. What deeper reality underlies Einstein's postulates of relativity? The fourth dimension is expanding relative to the three spatial dimensions at the velocity c. This single postulate assures that the speed of light is constant for all observers and that the laws of physics are the same in all inertial frames. What deeper reality underlies Newton's laws? Newton's laws are an approximation of relativity and quantum mechanics, and as MDT underlies QM & relativity, it underlies Newton's laws. Why is an increase in velocity always accompanied by a decrease in length as measured by an external observer? All increases in velocity are accompanied by rotations into the fourth dimension. All particles can be represented by momenergy 4-vectors. The greater the momenrgy component in the expanding fourth dimension, the greater the velocity and speed of the particle. Rest mass is the invariant here. It never changes. It prefers the three spatial dimensions. In order for it to move, one must gain energy in the form of photons. These photons prefer the fourth expanding dimension. The more photons one adds, the greater the component of the momenergy 4-vector that appears in the fourth expanding dimension, the more energy the particle has, the shorter it appears, and the faster it moves. How MDT Is Aiding Fellow Physicists "The conclusions from Bell's theorem are philosophically startling; either one must totally abandon the realistic philosophy of most working scientists or dramatically revise our concept of space-time." - Abner Shimony and John Clauser Moving Dimensions Theory provides this new concept of space-time. The vast ambitions of most tenure-track physicists, including string theorists and LQG hypers, causes them to focus on irrelevant, minute questions, and thus, though funded by millions for over thirty years, have not yet been able to string the bow. Deeper, true physicists, such as Abner Shimony and John Clauser are alert to the fact that physics need news ideas. The expanding fourth dimension gives rise to non-local phenomena and quantum entanglement, as the expanding fourth dimension means that two events separated in the three spatial dimensions can yet appear to be at the exact same place in the fourth dimension. MDT thus provides the new concept of space-time. "For me, then, this is the real problem with quantum theory: the apparently essential conflict between any sharp formulation and fundamental relativity. It may be that a real synthesis of quantum and relativity theories requires not just technical developments but radical conceptual renewal." -John Bell Moving Dimensions Theory provides this radical conceptual renewal. The expanding fourth dimension gives rise to non-local phenomena and quantum entanglement, as the expanding fourth dimension means that two events separated in the three spatial dimensions can yet appear to be at the exact same place in the fourth dimension. MDT thus provides the new concept of space-time. "Entanglement is not one but rather the characteristic trait of quantum mechanics." -Erwin Schrodinger "For me, then, this is the real problem with quantum theory: the apparently essential conflict between any sharp formulation and fundamental relativity. It may be that a real synthesis of quantum and relativity theories requires not just technical developments but radical conceptual renewal." -John Bell Moving Dimensions Theory provides this radical conceptual renewal. The expanding fourth dimension gives rise to non-local phenomena and quantum entanglement, as the expanding fourth dimension means that two events separated in the three spatial dimensions can yet appear to be at the exact same place in the fourth dimension. MDT thus provides the new concept of space-time. "Entanglement is not one but rather the characteristic trait of quantum mechanics." -Erwin Schrodinger The expanding fourth dimension gives rise to non-local phenomena and quantum entanglement, as the expanding fourth dimension means that two events separated in the three spatial dimensions can yet be at the exact same...

Nothing for you to see here. Please move along. (2, Funny)

Moth7 (699815) | more than 6 years ago | (#19775637)

Looks like I got landed with the Universe where Slashdot didn't run the story.

Re:Nothing for you to see here. Please move along. (1)

bdjacobson (1094909) | more than 6 years ago | (#19776351)

Looks like I got landed with the Universe where Slashdot didn't run the story.
You just have to add it to your sources repository in /etc/apt.

Re:Nothing for you to see here. Please move along. (1)

SashaMan (263632) | more than 6 years ago | (#19776443)

Don't worry, maybe the Slashdot in your Universe will get one of our future dupes.

SF (2, Funny)

Skadet (528657) | more than 6 years ago | (#19775645)

explores the symbiosis of science and sf...
Maybe it's because I live in California, but San Fransisco is the first thing I thought of when I saw "sf".

Wait, no, that's not why. It's because they're the same thing.

;)

Oh, great! (3, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 6 years ago | (#19775655)

Just what we need; the knowledge that there are an infinite amount of dupe posts in the multi-verse.

... and that another almost-me is wasting time on a Friday night posting on slashdot, while another almost-me is partying it up like there's no tomorrow (of course for trhat doppelganger, there may not be a tomorrow ...)

Re:Oh, great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19775887)

Just what we need; the knowledge that there are an infinite amount of dupe posts in the multi-verse.
... or not.

Re:Oh, great! (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 6 years ago | (#19775971)

... and that another almost-me is wasting time on a Friday night posting on slashdot, while another almost-me is partying it up like there's no tomorrow (of course for trhat doppelganger, there may not be a tomorrow ...)

Funny thing is, in the almost-this other universe everyone who parties on a Friday night is a geek loser, and social people all post on Slashdot every day.

Now the only thing you gotta do, is devise a machine that lets you two swap the universes.

MWI is cool and all.... (2, Interesting)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 6 years ago | (#19775663)

But I'd like to know what consists a measurement.

Quantum mechanics does weird stuff when you measure it (probability field of position/velocity).

When something is measured, it collapses it... What causes the collapse?

Perhaps consciousness?

Re:MWI is cool and all.... (2, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 6 years ago | (#19775873)

Perhaps consciousness?

Greg Egan wrote a book [wikipedia.org] on that topic. Aliens were relying on non-collapsed wave functions as a part of their normal life. New instruments like the Hubble Telescope were causing mass genocide in the observable universe, which got some aliens pretty pissed off.

Re:MWI is cool and all.... (2, Interesting)

thc69 (98798) | more than 6 years ago | (#19776331)

Thanks for the tip. Seems like a book I'd enjoy.

The premise of encasing the solar system reminds me of a book I read where earth was encased for, IIRC, a similar reason. I just googled around until I found it. It's Spin [wikipedia.org] by Robert Charles Wilson.

Re:MWI is cool and all.... (2, Insightful)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | more than 6 years ago | (#19775881)

Perhaps consciousness?

There is no good reason to believe that such a thing exists.

Re:MWI is cool and all.... (2, Insightful)

Lane.exe (672783) | more than 6 years ago | (#19776845)

Except for, you know, qualia.

Re:MWI is cool and all.... (3, Interesting)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | more than 6 years ago | (#19777297)

Except for, you know, qualia.

Going beyond the semantic issue, the GP seemed to be implying that consciousness is something special, some unknown part of nature.

However, suppose that you ask a person if they are sane. Should you believe their answer? The only means you have to evaluate the experience of your own consciousness is your own consciousness itself. If your consciousness wasn't some supernatural thing but instead was a little program in your brain to fool you into protecting your existence above all else by creating the illusion of being something special and supernatural, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference.

Now consider everything that we know about reality. Does the universe work more like a precise machine or more like some transcendental mystical metaphysical drug hallucination? Consider everything we know about the mechanics of the brain. It is organized a lot like and its components are a lot like a computer. Is this a description of a ghost trap or of a computational device?

The Earth sure does look flat, though, doesn't it?

Re:MWI is cool and all.... (1)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | more than 6 years ago | (#19777511)

Fry: You're a bender, right? We can get outta here if you just bend the bars!

Bender: Dream on, skin tube. I'm only programmed to bend for constructive purposes. What do I look like, a de-bender?

Fry: Who cares what you're programmed for! If someone programmed you to jump off a bridge, would you do it?

Bender: I'll have to check my program. (short pause) Yep.

Re:MWI is cool and all.... (1)

Lane.exe (672783) | more than 6 years ago | (#19777615)

Qualia [philosophypages.com] refers to the subjective features of consciousness, which are not reducible to a naturalistic explanation. In the philosophy of mind (oooh, scary, not hard sciences!) it's used to refer to something that physicalists and reductive materialists have a hard time explaining. Myself, I'm a supervenient physicalist, meaning I think that consciousness supervenes on the physical, but cannot be explained by, reference to physical laws alone. Consciousness, and the study of it, inhabits its own scientific sphere that is not reducible to physics or biology or some other "basic" science.

So before you lecture me on treating consciousness like some "transcendental mystical metaphysical drug hallucination," you might consider that I know what I'm talking about, because I've read much on the subject of consciousness and the philosophy of mind, and tailor your responses accordingly.

Re:MWI is cool and all.... (2, Interesting)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | more than 6 years ago | (#19777689)

Myself, I'm a supervenient physicalist, meaning I think that consciousness supervenes on the physical, but cannot be explained by, reference to physical laws alone. Consciousness, and the study of it, inhabits its own scientific sphere that is not reducible to physics or biology or some other "basic" science.

Well, good for you. Of course, your explanation above is the exact equivalent of someone telling me that they believe in God and thumping "the good book", or that they believe in magic. You may believe what you wish and read as much as you like, but you are asking me to put faith into more than objective reality for no particularly good reason. Religious people will refer me to Bible passages and writings of philosophers, but it's all meaningless because it is all made up by people who have no greater means to objectively study these subjects than I do. How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

Myself, I'm an expert on computational processes (something actually real). I'll keep my faith in reality and avoid explanations that are more complicated than the subject they are describing, especially when there is an explanation that doesn't violate everything we objectively know about reality.

Re:MWI is cool and all.... (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 6 years ago | (#19778157)

You post kinda clashes with your sig, here is a book that may line them up a bit better.

Re:MWI is cool and all.... (4, Informative)

mazarin5 (309432) | more than 6 years ago | (#19775985)

When something is measured, it collapses it... What causes the collapse? Perhaps consciousness? No. It's just that once you've measured where something is, the probability of it being somewhere else is drastically reduced for a while. What's the probability that I left my keys in the kitchen instead of the bedroom? Let's say 50%. "Oh," a friend says, "I just saw them in the bedroom." so what does that probability become? 0%. It was measurement, not some mystic force, which reduced the area in which my keys are most likely to be found. It's no different with quantum mechanics.

Re:MWI is cool and all.... (5, Funny)

mrpeebles (853978) | more than 6 years ago | (#19776063)

Except that I've never had the probable state of my keys being in the kitchen destructively interfere with the probable state of my keys being left in my bedroom to make my keys more likely to be on the key ring... :-)

Re:MWI is cool and all.... (2, Informative)

dissy (172727) | more than 6 years ago | (#19776033)

But I'd like to know what consists a measurement.
Generally at the quantum level, a measurement or observation is when you bounce a particle (usually a photon) off another particle.
It's similar to how you see things. Light bounces off of a thing, and that light bouncing into your eye is how to observe and measure things. Just lower the scale to a single photon of light (or even a smaller particle) and youre set.

The reason you can't measure all the details of a particle at this level is because when the photon you bounce off it actually hits the particle youre measuring, the photon will disturb what you are measuring and thus changes it.
Similar how if you rolled one pool ball on the table to hit another.. It disturbs the other ball and moves it too, so any data you can draw from your reflected ball is no longer accurate since it modified what you just measured after the fact.

Re:MWI is cool and all.... (3, Informative)

realmolo (574068) | more than 6 years ago | (#19777471)

You are mistaken.

The reason you can't measure all the details of a particle at the same time is NOT because photons bounce off of it and disturb it. The reason you can't measure all of the details of a particle at the same time is because that is JUST THE WAY IT IS. It has nothing to do with interference from other particles. There is no "reason" for it. No one knows why it works that way. It's called "complementarity", and it's the fundamental quantum mystery.

Re:MWI is cool and all.... (2, Insightful)

kaidadragonfly (993636) | more than 6 years ago | (#19777521)

I'm not a physicist but at least from what I've read that's a rather common misconception.

It is the act of measurement itself, not the interaction of the particles that causes changes we see in the particles. The collapse of a wave function is different from anything that we have in the macroscopic universe, it simply does not happen in every day life to an extent that we can view it.

Quantum mechanics/physics/theory doesn't work like normal life.

Analogies don't work properly when you try to explain QM, because it is so counter intuitive.

Electrons are not simple particles, and our measurement doesn't cause them to be perturbed, they actually exist as a probability. This is, at least what I've understood, as the reason for the wave-particle duality that is exhibited in the double-slit experiments [wikipedia.org].

Re:MWI is cool and all.... (1)

JohnFluxx (413620) | more than 6 years ago | (#19778565)

You can quite happily bounce a photon, for example, off of mirrors without causing its wave function to collapse.

Re:MWI is cool and all.... (3, Informative)

brunos (629303) | more than 6 years ago | (#19776355)

In the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics the wavefunction does not collapse (that is the copenhagen interpretation).
Rather, all the *possible* outcomes of a quantum measurement do happen: each one in a different universe.
When you measure one particular outcome, that means that you are in the particular universe where you measure that outcome: by definition.

A measurement consists in an event that translates "quantum information" into "classical information": quantum information is very complex as essentially it means that you are keeping track of what happens in ALL the universes, at some point, you stop doing that, and you become concerned with only what happens in you particular universe: that action constitutes a measurement. And it is from that action that you find out in which universe you happen to be.

Re:MWI is cool and all.... (1)

SilentTristero (99253) | more than 6 years ago | (#19776843)

in the MWI there is no collapse. That's what distinguishes it from other interpretations of QM (e.g. the Copenhagen Interpretation). Instead the MWI proposes that any time something happens, a new branch of the multiverse is created (one branch the photon is spin up, the other branch, spin down.) Yes, that's a REAL lot of branches.

Re:MWI is cool and all.... (4, Informative)

Chemicalscum (525689) | more than 6 years ago | (#19776951)

When something is measured, it collapses it... What causes the collapse?

No in the MWI the wavefunction does NOT collpse. This is the whole point of the MWI, in the Copenhagen interpretation the wave function collapses on a measurement to a single state. In the MWI a measurement splits the world into two different states there is no collpse of the wavefunction.

The Copenhagen interpretation abolishes physical reality and brings in the idealist concept of a conscious observer collapsing the wavefunction. The MWI restores physical reality in quantum mechanics.

Let's take the Schrodinger cat thought experiment: <cat alive|cat dead>

This gives rise to the density matrix:

cat alive ...................... cat alive + cat dead

cat alive - cat dead ..... cat dead

The CI supporters would say the MWI didn't explain why we don't see the off diagonal mixed states. But the modern approach to the measurement problems in MWI uses the concept of decoherence which is the interaction of the isolated quantum states with the macro environment. It has been shown that the mixed states are destroyed by interference when decoherence from interaction with the environment occurs. Thus in this experiment the world is split into two, one where the cat is alive and one where it is dead.

The decoherence approach in conjunction with the MWI abolishes the necessity of observers and restores the independent physical reality abolished the the CI. The proliferation of many worlds is the price we have to pay for physical reality and the unitary evolution of the wavefunction.

Re:MWI is cool and all.... (1)

tm2b (42473) | more than 6 years ago | (#19777833)

You've put your finger on it.

The Copenhagen Interpretation puts a magical significance on "measurement" that boggles the mind. It' not just photons interacting with the system, it's those photons being perceived by a mind. What's special about minds? Sssshhhh, don't ask that question.

This insistence upon putting the mind (particularly the human mind) at the center of the quantum universe reminds me of the insistence of the Medieval Church upon putting the Earth at the center of the Universe. I'm pretty amazed that it continues to enjoy the widespread acceptance among otherwise rational people.

Re:MWI is cool and all.... (1)

master_p (608214) | more than 6 years ago | (#19777931)

The wave function of a particle collapses due to interference with the wave function of the photon that hits it in order to be measured. It's called quantum decoherence [wikipedia.org].

Re:MWI is cool and all.... (1)

Pseudonym (62607) | more than 6 years ago | (#19778279)

When something is measured, it collapses it... What causes the collapse?

There is no such thing as "wavefunction collapse".

Apart from the second law of thermodynamics (which, it would be fair to say, we don't really understand), all of the laws of physics are time-symmetric. In quantum theory, causality works backwards in time just as well as it does forwards, and that includes interactions that leak quantum information.

*Interpretation* (2, Informative)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 6 years ago | (#19775669)

Wasn't it proven that the multiverse interpretation is mathematically equivalent to the other more traditional approaches like wavefunction collapse and decoherence?

I like SF as much as probably most people here, but I can't see the scientific significance.

Re:*Interpretation* (1)

Pseudonym (62607) | more than 6 years ago | (#19775769)

The many-worlds hypothesis does have some serious problems, such as how a universe with probability p and one with probability -p cancel each other out. (The branching would have to happen "after" the cancellation.)

Re:*Interpretation* (1)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 6 years ago | (#19776121)

It seems to me that we are hitting the limit of what we can understand through measurement. At a small enough scale, measurement seems to break down, and then we get probabilities, and phenomena that are open to mathematical interpretation.

So, being 'inside' the universe and taking its measurements from the inside only gets us so far. Beyond that, we have theories about the nature of the universe, but they can't be shown to be true or untrue. There are theories that are certainly untrue, but there are also competing theories that can be shown to be more real than any other. So we might be in a universe, or we might be in a multiverse, but there's no way to say for certain by measuring from inside our percieved 'universe'.

This is a paradigm shift in modern western science. The empiricists of Europe positied that the universe was orderly, governed by laws, and deterministic. There wasn't uncontrolled chaos anywhere in the universe. Anything seemingly chaotic was actually following complex rules. Furthermore, these laws were 'knowable'. By using logic, we could break down the rules into simpler parts and understand them. Eventually, if we understood enough of the rules, we could arrive at a Theory of Everything -- some equation or some kind of math that would describe the entire universe. This was an idea that they inherited from the Greek philosophers. So not only was the universe totally orderly, but we were smart enough, or the logic that human intelligence has in inherently capable of understanding the universe in its entirety.

Now it seems like the project of the Theory of Everything will never come to fruition. Our measurements only take us so far; after that, it's ambiguous. Not that we have to do more measuring; the measuring itself breaks down at a certain scale. So now it seems like we live in a bubble of measureability, surrounded by ambiguity.

So, what can we say about that ambiguity? Was there anything before the big bang? Are we universe in a multi-verse? Since science has seemingly broken down, we now seem to fall back on whatever cosmology we inherited from our culture. As westerners, who got the idea of a single Grand Unified Universe from the Greeks, we say, "Well, we can't really know what's outside of our universe; but there's no reason to go off the deep end and say there's multiverses. The universe theory isn't any more provable than the multiverse theory. We'll just stick with what we always assumed, but now know that we can't actually prove." However, if western science developed from, say, a Buddhist culture, it would be backwards -- if we got to the end of measurement, we would assume that there were multiverses, because that's the idea we inherited from our culture, instead of a single universe.

Re:*Interpretation* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19776407)

I'm afraid that isn't the case, it 'merely' requires a lot more energy to get a meaningful answer, which I suppose means that further discoveries in the fields of quantum physics might soon come more slowly as technology and economics allows further testing.

Re:*Interpretation* (1)

Cadallin (863437) | more than 6 years ago | (#19777795)

I disagree. In 1900, the amounts of power required to learn something useful were on the order of Watts. Anybody (even in an area without electricity) could sit and do meaningful research if they had the inclination and they didn't have to work for a living. People like Thomas Edison, Nikolai Tesla, James Clark Maxwell, could be mad scientists in a way that just isn't possible today. By the 1940's the amount of power was up to Megawatts, and fundamental research already required major industrial scale installations, like Oak Ridge, or Bell Labs. Sixty years later, the amounts are orders of magnitude higher. The amount of power required to do the experiments necessary to develop a theory of everything may well be beyond even a solar system scale civilization. Or we may learn all there is to know when the Large Hadron Collider comes online. But we honestly don't know at this point.

Re:*Interpretation* (1)

SilentTristero (99253) | more than 6 years ago | (#19776931)

It's not the math, it's the explanatory power. Read The Fabric Of Reality [amazon.com] by Deutsch, for instance. The Copenhagen Interpretation [wikipedia.org] says "... and then a miracle happens" (meaning the faster-than-light collapse of the wavefunction). The MWI [wikipedia.org] says there's nothing faster-than-light about it; there's just no collapse.

No faster-than-light travel, causality, single-valued universe. Pick any two. That'll give you your preferred QM interpretation. (Hint: FTL = CI, backward causality = TI [wikipedia.org], more or less, and multivalued universe = MWI.)

Oh, not to mention the MWI provides a strong theoretical underpinning for free will, causality, probability, and counterfactuals.

Nature article is far from complete (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19775693)

For a true retrospective of 50 years of the multiverse interpretation, we would need this nature article from all the multiverses for completeness.

Try harder next time guys.

50 year of an untestable hypothesis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19775759)

Hurray for pseudoscience !

Re:50 year of an untestable hypothesis (-1, Flamebait)

MOBE2001 (263700) | more than 6 years ago | (#19776149)

Hurray for pseudoscience !

Yeah. Feyerabend wrote in 'Against Method', "the most stupid procedures and the most laughable results in their domain are surrounded with an aura of excellence. It is time to cut them down in size, and to give them a more modest position in society."

Quantum computing is equally bunk since it is based on the idea that a quantum property can have multiple states simultaneously, that is, when nobody is looking. ahahaha... Reminds me of the kid I knew who insisted that he could jump as high as a tall building but only when nobody was looking. Whatever happen to empiricism? Talk about pseudoscience! Everett, Schrodinger (and his stupid cat) and that lunatic David Deutsch are crackpots of the worst kinds. Only physicists can get away with such quackery. They should all be stripped naked, tarred, feathered and paraded down Fifth Avenue in New York as an example to undergraduates. ahahaha...

Re:50 year of an untestable hypothesis (2, Funny)

azenpunk (1080949) | more than 6 years ago | (#19776247)

someone just got his report card for physics.

Re:50 year of an untestable hypothesis (-1, Troll)

MOBE2001 (263700) | more than 6 years ago | (#19776399)

someone just got his report card for physics.

says azenpunk in her little Ferengi outfit. ahahaha... Thanks for the laughs. ahahaha... AHAHAHA... ahahaha...

Re:50 year of an untestable hypothesis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19776719)

wow, I've never felt so...bugged? like my skin is crawling off me, by reading someones comment.

Please mod this comment out of existence, plus the rest of the tread!

Re:50 year of an untestable hypothesis (1)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 6 years ago | (#19776647)

They should all be stripped naked, tarred, feathered and paraded down Fifth Avenue in New York as an example to undergraduates. ahahaha...

Isn't being a physicist enough of a punishment in itself?

Re:50 year of an untestable hypothesis (1)

Lane.exe (672783) | more than 6 years ago | (#19776861)

You quote Feyerabend then you ask what happened to empiricism? You quote Feyerabend and then whine about pseudoscience? Hm.

Re:50 year of an untestable hypothesis (3, Insightful)

DamnStupidElf (649844) | more than 6 years ago | (#19777027)

Quantum computing is equally bunk since it is based on the idea that a quantum property can have multiple states simultaneously, that is, when nobody is looking. ahahaha... Reminds me of the kid I knew who insisted that he could jump as high as a tall building but only when nobody was looking. Whatever happen to empiricism? Talk about pseudoscience! Everett, Schrodinger (and his stupid cat) and that lunatic David Deutsch are crackpots of the worst kinds. Only physicists can get away with such quackery. They should all be stripped naked, tarred, feathered and paraded down Fifth Avenue in New York as an example to undergraduates. ahahaha...

Sorry, your computer now refuses to work because it no longer obeys quantum mechanics. The electrons are just stuck at the N-P junctions and nothing happens because they're all in a fully defined position with no way of jumping across it at the energy levels they have. Bump the energy up, and they behave classically and just burn their way through without any of the nice semiconductor properties that make computation with them possible.

On the upside, now you'll have a lot more time to tar and feather the quacks who made your nonfunctional computer!

Re:50 year of an untestable hypothesis (1)

boomfart (823737) | more than 6 years ago | (#19777599)

n-p junctions have nothing to do with quantum mechanics, either the electron charge is correct and current flows or it is not and does not.

Re:50 year of an untestable hypothesis (1)

Prof.Phreak (584152) | more than 6 years ago | (#19777421)

quantum mechanic weirdness also works logically. lookup the `free will theorem'.

quantum immortality (1)

helfen (791121) | more than 6 years ago | (#19775783)

In all this postmodern mambo-jambo there is some interesting concept - quantum immortality. http://www.elea.org/Miracles/Miracles1999.html [elea.org]

And there are many nice, easy-to-find .sig one-liners, like this:
"Under exponential-Everett, as I understand it, almost everybody is 10E-43 seconds from death. It is only in very rare circumstances that we continue to exist from one Planck-time to the next. But that is our history and we do not experience those universes in which we are dead." -- James Higgo

Re:quantum immortality (1)

DamnStupidElf (649844) | more than 6 years ago | (#19776745)

Probably the best use for all the world's nuclear weapons would be to situate them around all the cities on earth so that everything on earth fell within a very, very high percentage kill zone. Then give everyone a very reliable detonator. Everyone suddenly has a much higher probability of being in a perfect Utopian universe.

Big red button x 6000000000 (1)

gd2shoe (747932) | more than 6 years ago | (#19777309)

If by "perfect Utopian universe" you mean dead, then yes. Somebody's going to push that button.

But lets assume for argument sake that nobody does. People will quickly learn that nobody will push their button, and nobody will seriously care that others have them. We will be in much the same place we are right now.

That's the problem with the current (and former) arms race. We weren't willing to "push the button" (meaning nuke Russia), and Russia wasn't either. Both countries were reduced to non-nuclear means of dealing with each other (Vietnam, etc). The problem with the current variant is that some eastern nut-job is going to decide that Allah wants the West nuked. If capable, this will eventually happen even if a majority of his Muslim countrymen were to disagree with his interpretation.

Re:Big red button x 6000000000 (1)

Prof.Phreak (584152) | more than 6 years ago | (#19777401)

If by "perfect Utopian universe" you mean dead, then yes. Somebody's going to push that button.

I think the point was that there will be -some- universe where nobody pushes the button---we can ignore the dead non-utopians who did.

Re:Big red button x 6000000000 (1)

gd2shoe (747932) | more than 6 years ago | (#19777509)

Ahh, that explains it. I didn't get that interpretation because I see the odds of that possible existance == 0.

Even so, the middle of my post stands. We all would simply come to accept that nobody will push the button. Life would otherwise continue almost completely uninterrupted. It would not end war, or crime, or poverty, etc.

And if we were each to hit the button when we saw something un-Utopian, then it would only truly drive the possibility to zero. (I'm postulating that some things are deterministic, at least, even if their symptoms are not always.)

Re:Big red button x 6000000000 (1)

DamnStupidElf (649844) | more than 6 years ago | (#19777843)

And if we were each to hit the button when we saw something un-Utopian, then it would only truly drive the possibility to zero. (I'm postulating that some things are deterministic, at least, even if their symptoms are not always.)

There's really no way to drive the probability to zero. In the worst case, the nukes just fail to kill everyone and they survive in a ruined world. In the best case, they just fail to work at all. I suppose it's a matter of degree; the closer society approached to utopia, the more likely such a disaster would be. Probably using statistics the society could estimate a reasonable level of utopia that was "safe" to run. In other words, given a probability p of the nukes failing, only choose utopian goals with probability >> p. We already play the game right now on a limited scale with MAD, as you pointed out. Only a few people have detonators, and the probability of the system wiping out humanity entirely (which isn't even a goal) is quite low. On the other hand, not everyone believes in the multiverse. Perhaps if the leaders did, we'd already have had some nuclear wars.

Re:quantum immortality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19777239)

In this universe, we use the term mumbo-jumbo.

Re:quantum immortality (1)

enharmonix (988983) | more than 6 years ago | (#19777739)

"Under exponential-Everett, as I understand it, almost everybody is 10E-43 seconds from death. It is only in very rare circumstances that we continue to exist from one Planck-time to the next. But that is our history and we do not experience those universes in which we are dead." -- James Higgo
I was wondering if anybody was going to mention QTI or Higgo [higgo.com] (btw, good read: Four reasons why you don't exist)... Cheers.

Mirror, Mirror (5, Funny)

hedgemage (934558) | more than 6 years ago | (#19775837)

Somewhere, a goateed version of me is reading the story, because that version has a Nature login.

52! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19775857)

Fifty-Two! Feeftee-Tooo! Fiddy-Doo! 52!

Re:52! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19777731)

In this universe, it's forty-two. Pfft! Noob.

Personal experience of the Multiverse (2, Interesting)

rjamestaylor (117847) | more than 6 years ago | (#19775891)

Ok. I'm going public with this craziness of mine...

I've observed many times that I "should have" died. It struck me that, perhaps, I did die in an alternate universe, but I (whatever I "is") continue on in at least one of the multiverses. In those multiverses in which "I" experience the death of a close friend or family member... well... that just is how it goes. But they, too, continue in an instance of the multiverse. Perhaps I do not.

Anyway... "They're coming to take me away, ha ah..."

Me too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19776163)

In an alternate universe, an alternate me is thinking "It feels like an alternate me in an alternate universe didn't have the balls to not post anonymously" as alternate me gets modded down by an evil version of CowboyNeal who is just the puppet of dictator Soviet States of America president, John Kerry, who became evil after an unfortunate accident at a dodo barbecue with peace activist Osama bin Laden, who was promptly eaten by Tobias Bruckner's cyborg T-Rex, later stating that he, quote, 'Didn't like the fact that Osama was a transvestite.'

Re:Personal experience of the Multiverse (5, Interesting)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 6 years ago | (#19776589)

I had a friend and former roommate who was in an apartment fire. He was sleeping in bed when his cat woke him up by clawing at his face. He startled awake and saw that the ceiling was covered in flames. He escaped, certain that he was moments away from death.

Luckily he made it out alive. But he suffered severe PTSD for a few years afterwards. He would just be walking to the grocery store and be suddenly struck with the terrifying reality that he wasn't walking to the store at all -- this was the final hallucination of his mind moments before he perished in the apartment fire. Instead of his past flashing before his eyes, this was his mind's final, desperate attempt to comfort itself, by creating a reality where he lived out the rest of his life.

I try not to think about it because it's creepy. If I really start to think about it I get terrified.

Wanna hear something really disturbing? (1)

jgoemat (565882) | more than 6 years ago | (#19777025)

If this were the case, then all of the wacked-out comments hea read on /. would really be hallucinogenic creations of his own subconscious. Freak

A simple solution. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19777201)

Don't get terrified, get depressed. If this is my final hallucination than I either want hookers to fall from the sky or this shit to end right now.

Re:A simple solution. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19777237)

Hookers going "splat" on the sidewalk gets you off? Weird.

Re:Personal experience of the Multiverse (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 6 years ago | (#19777561)

What do your friend's mental problems have to do with physics? I know it is late on Friday night, but I'm not nearly drunk enough to believe your anecdote has anything to do with some sort of tacky, sci-fi, interdimensional communication.

In fact, the ONLY lessons to be learned from your story are
1) Check your smoke detector batteries, dumbass!
2) Get a cat.

Re:Personal experience of the Multiverse (1)

edgarinventor (1124915) | more than 6 years ago | (#19777991)

Talking about Sci-fi, why do tele-porters in films disappear here, appear there... But won't take their linear velocities with them? I'm in Europe, right, and I go to the States that way (yeah, right!) the different linear velocities wouldn't just make me fly off a few hundred meters away? Or worse, down? Completely useless theoretical gibberish, of course, but no scriptwriter ever thought of that.

Re:Personal experience of the Multiverse (1)

coleblak (863392) | more than 6 years ago | (#19778303)

Actually, they have. In an episode of ST:TNG, they teleport down to a planet while at warp and the counselor says something along the lines "It felt like I transported into that wall back there," and Riker replies "You did."

Re:Personal experience of the Multiverse (1)

edgarinventor (1124915) | more than 6 years ago | (#19778455)

Haw, haw! :D Of course, any Politician won't be any worse, for that!
But I'm talking about the Earth's rotation, and all the other relative mommentum.
They better take notice of those things, on long distances! One day... B)
Wait a minute, aren't they already teleporting atomic particles?

Re:Personal experience of the Multiverse (3, Interesting)

Jerf (17166) | more than 6 years ago | (#19776813)

Quantum immortality [wikipedia.org].

Note that this is not a very exciting kind of immortality. Especially since a goodly number of worldlines coming from here will produce computronium [wikipedia.org]. At least some of which will simulate you, yes you personally for an unspeakable amount of subjective time (possibly infinite if even one non-zero probability path leads to that outcome), during which you will in some cases experience what can only be described as "as close to a literal heaven as you can get", and in other cases "as close to a literal hell as you can get", and the full range of things in between. If Quantum immortality is "true", there are things worse than death, and we will more or less all get to experience them on some worldline.

Note further that it is not meaningful to wish that "you" will end up in one of the good cases; if QI is true, all cases lie in your future equally. "You" will end up in the good and the bad and the inbetween, all at once. Perhaps some people consider this a form of escapism, but it is also fairly horrifying if you follow the implications out beyond "In some very real sense, I can not experience death."

Re:Personal experience of the Multiverse (2, Insightful)

resonte (900899) | more than 6 years ago | (#19778295)

Strange...I just made a post relating to QI.

Life is suffering. If the mutliverse is true, then absolute hell really does exist in one instance of a Universe. If QI is true, is there ever really a way to escape 'reality'? Does everyone experience every form of existence for eternity? or instead do some of us go into loops of existence, and never escape the loop? Can we direct our path to a desirable loop?

Some forms of Buddhism teach something very similar to QI, except that Nirvana is the end of all suffering, and the end of the ego, the end of self, and that once Nirvana is reached it is eternal. Perhaps Nirvana is a way to achieve death in a deathless Universe?

The universe is a really scary place when you sit down and think about it. It puts your own desires into perspective.

Re:Personal experience of the Multiverse (1)

SilentTristero (99253) | more than 6 years ago | (#19776947)

Yup, that's a well-known position, called "Quantum Suicide" or "Quantum Theory of Immortality". You shoot yourself, and in most universes you die, but in a very few the gun jams, the bullet is struck by lightning before it hits, etc. In any case, you always survive in at least a few universes (there are infinitely many), so you never "experience your own death" as it were. The dead ones are dead, the live ones think "wow, I made it!" Unfortunately it's far more likely you survive with terrible pain than you survive by a glorious miracle, so I wouldn't try it.

Re:Personal experience of the Multiverse (1)

DamnStupidElf (649844) | more than 6 years ago | (#19776967)

've observed many times that I "should have" died. It struck me that, perhaps, I did die in an alternate universe, but I (whatever I "is") continue on in at least one of the multiverses. In those multiverses in which "I" experience the death of a close friend or family member... well... that just is how it goes. But they, too, continue in an instance of the multiverse. Perhaps I do not.

Probably the most interesting practical question is what percentage of futures include all our lost family members and friends, e.g. a heaven of some kind. Obviously it's a possibility, but what is the total probability of being a consciousness somehow past death and reunited with loved ones? My guess is that at some point we will be able to understand enough about the universe to construct just about anything we want, and very likely be able to peer back into the history of the universe with arbitrary level of detail. That means that it's possible to simply reconstruct lost people from our past history at some point, with the caveat that a lot of those reconstructed people may actually only appear to be the ones we remember, as best as our memory can recall. However, to those future selves it would all appear completely logical and sane. Likewise, some simile of you and me will exist in the future universes of our friends and loved ones, and while they may not be us in the technical sense, they may be so close that "we" won't notice it while still having nearly complete memory of who we are now.

Shoot (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 6 years ago | (#19775939)

I so wanted to read their take on it, but I gotta catch a flight back to my universe.

Anyone who knows if they'll be selling this one in other universes?

In another universe... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19776169)

This post is moderated +5 funny.

Unfortunately for you (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19776431)

In this one it's modded -1, Overrated.

Don't you mean... (1)

kennylogins (1092227) | more than 6 years ago | (#19776393)

"In celebration, a science fiction special edition of Nature on 5 July 2007 explores the symbiosis of science and sf, as exemplified by Everett's hypothesis, its birth, evolution, eternal champions and opponents, in biology, physics, literature and beyond.'" ...........There fixed that for ya.

Wonderful! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19776785)

This issue will last me through at least a month of Port and Stilton evenings in the back yard, contemplating the beautifully strange weirdness of reality. Thank you, Nature!

Old (5, Informative)

alexgieg (948359) | more than 6 years ago | (#19776885)

The multiverse hypothesis is an ancient idea. I remember reading about a poetic image used in Hinduism to describe it: that of "Shiva's Necklace". It's said that the god Shiva, which together with Vishnu and Brahma form the (main) Hinduist Trinity, the Trimurti, wears around his neck an infinitely long necklace with an infinite number of beads. Each bead is a full universe, ours being just one among them, and Earth with us just an infinitesimal aspect of that single bead.

It would be nice if scientists, when talking to non-scientists, drafted lively images like this one. IMHO, it would go a long way in bridging the gap between them and "normal" people, who don't think in terms of numbers and mathematical concepts.

Re:Old (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 6 years ago | (#19777911)

Many scientists do come up with such metaphors for their work. There are two related problems with this, though: first, the metaphors just aren't that good -- most of the time it's simply impossible to give an accurate description of the problem without the math -- and second, non-scientists will refuse to put the effort into understanding the math, take the metaphor, and think they understand the whole thing. Especially when you're talking about physics, but really in most scientific fields, it is not possible to understand what scientists are talking about if you can't deal with equations and insist on putting everything in terms of gods' necklaces and the like.

Re:Old (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 6 years ago | (#19777989)

Shiva, which together with Vishnu and Brahma form the (main) Hinduist Trinity, the Trimurti, wears around his neck an infinitely long necklace with an infinite number of beads. Each bead is a full universe, ours being just one among them, and Earth with us just an infinitesimal aspect of that single bead.

It would be nice if scientists, when talking to non-scientists, drafted lively images like this one.
So, you are saying that science should invent religion in order to explain the world?
What an original idea!

Re:Old (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19778049)

Science is sort of religion.But unlike Christianity,Science works.

Late to the party, but... (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 6 years ago | (#19776997)

In celebration, a science fiction special edition of Nature on 5 July 2007 explores the symbiosis of science and sf, as exemplified by Everett's hypothesis, its birth, evolution, champions and opponents, in biology, physics, literature and beyond.'

All of them?

Take me to the parallel universe... (1)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 6 years ago | (#19777065)

... where they don't charge you $30 to download the text-only version of the article.

Re:Take me to the parallel universe... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19777295)

Ask and ye shall receive..

Posted anon through TOR. Good luck finding me.

______

Parallel worlds galore

The 50th anniversary of an astonishing scientific hypothesis deserves celebration. So too do the truly astounding tales of a literary genre that anticipated it.

From the evidence of our cover, you could be forgiven for thinking that you are holding a copy of Nature from an alternate universe. And if that were the way your imagination took off, it would be doing just what our cover seeks to do -- celebrating the overlap between the world of science and the fables it inspires and feeds on. In particular, the 'Astounding Tale' of a plethora of alternate universes is at the same time a well-worn theme of science fiction and a valid, if speculative, way of understanding the ultimate implications of Schrödinger's wave equation.

The idea of a 'many-worlds' multiverse, introduced into physics 50 years ago this month by Hugh Everett, neatly highlights the intersection between science and science fiction -- which is why our coverage of the anniversary spills from our News Features pages into our Books & Arts pages (see pages 15, 18, 23 and 25). For the most part, though, the two domains are themselves seen as alternates. It is a cliché of science popularization to proclaim that phenomenon X, once science fiction, is now science fact, as though the two were in some way mutually exclusive. This might suggest to some that science fiction is worthless; alternatively, it can tacitly imply that it is the job of science to reify the fancies of science fiction. Neither implication is useful.

The interaction between science and science fiction is more complex and symbiotic. Science fiction feeds on science. It also anticipates it. For good or ill, it articulates possibilities and fears: the notion of the super-weapon was commonplace in science fiction long before the Manhattan Project, and no debate about genetic technology seems complete without an appearance by Victor Frankenstein and his creature. More positively, science fiction provides crucial raw material -- the minds of young people who will in time become scientists themselves. Not every science-fiction-reading teenager becomes a scientist, nor do all scientists grow up with shelves of Wells, Asimov and Le Guin by their beds. But the inspirational value is real.

This is not to say that science fiction is a childish thing, to be grown out of. But it does undeniably have a frequently childish character, one that reveals its true nature. Childhood is a time of games; games that allow their players' curiosity free expression while at the same time preparing them for a life in which every year brings novelties both anticipated and unlooked for. Science fiction, too, provides a way of exploring what is to come. Its main aim is not to foretell the future -- indeed, the great Ray Bradbury once remarked that he wrote not to predict the future, but to prevent it. Yet even though it can be serious and frightening, it is not at heart a literature of warning, either. It is a literature of playfulness. Within the constraint of telling human stories about more-or-less human beings, it revels in the possibility of expanded physical and intellectual horizons.

And above all it revels in the possibility of change. Serious science fiction takes science seriously, and its games provide a way of looking at the subjective implications of newly revealed objective truths of the Universe. Science fiction does not tell us what the future will bring, but at its best it helps us to understand what the future will feel like, and how we might feel when one way of looking at the world is overtaken by another.

        Science fiction does not tell us what the future will bring, but helps us to understand what the future will feel like.

To be sure, science fiction doesn't always connect in this way. It can be tired and cliché-ridden; the games it plays can be tedious, solipsistic power fantasies. And over recent years many of its finest practitioners have become so besotted by the endless new games that ever-accelerating progress allows them to play that their works can be inaccessible to the general reader. To demand that everything be accessible is to demand mediocrity -- there is a role for dialogues that can be appreciated only by cognoscenti. But we believe that science fiction written for every scientist can be rewarding, too, which is why this issue sees the return of our popular showcase for short science-fiction stories, Futures (see page 104).

Science takes place in a cultural context. The many forward-looking, ever-changing worlds of science fiction provide one that is both fruitful and enjoyable.

ahh...the mutliverse (1)

resonte (900899) | more than 6 years ago | (#19778191)

The idea of the multiverse was the sole reason why I changed from a non-religious atheist to a Buddist, because I view it as a good way to describe reincarnation (or the eternity of conciousness). I think that death is not the end of consciousness, and is merely a transitory stage.

Consider a random sequence such as the "increasing decimal point" of the square root of two.
The number sequence is random and runs on forever. If it is random then we can assume that all possible sets of numbers are contained within the sequence.
If we ran a Universal Turin Machine on the square root of 2, and ran it for eternity , than the computer will emulate every single possible program. As Turing has proved that any "possible computer program" can be run on a Turing machine.


If we assume that consciousness can be encoded into a Turing compatible code, then all permutations of consciousness are contained within any naturally occurring infinite sequence.


With this in mind the universe is a highly recursive fractal pattern, infinite in all directions. This moment that you are perceiving is just part of an infinite collection of experiences of the same state.


We can deduce that a transitional state is one where only 1 bit changes in the sequence, or a new bit has been added to the sequence. For instance think of the sequence 101, the transitional states are therefore 001, 111, or 110.


Your state now (and your surrounding perceived environment) can be considered as a sequence of bits (if thinking of a Turing Machine). When any of those bits change it can be considered a change in time, and therefor a change in your state.


Total death of consciousness assumes that there are NO bits present in this system. Therefore death can not be considered a valid transitory state as it doesn't exist. If death was a state where you weren't conscious, you don't exist in that state, instead you continue onto another path where you are conscious.


Basically it's impossible to cease to exist, as existence always exists in some(every) form. There is allways a transition from your state to another, and the path must be taken.


Argh, I probably sound like a mad man, my belief may not make sense to most people, but I think Buddhism is the most spiritual one can get without denying scientific thinking. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_immortality for more info about this idea.

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