Archive for the ‘Quantum Mechanics’ Category
A blog post here from the folks at MIT Technology Review clued me in to a new article in the wonderfully weird world of quantum mechanics. Interesting reading, the blog breaks it down to a fairly simple level. The original article by Raphael Bousso, Leonard Susskind, from arXiv.org is here.
For those of you who don’t follow quantum mechanics, what we have here is a great attempt at trying to resolve some of the more esoteric weirdnesses that quantum mechanics brings to life. By now, everyone is on board with the idea that quantum mechanics is a real, and heavily experimentally demonstrated field of physics. What everyone is NOT on board with is what the results of these theories MEAN in terms of building an understanding of the nature of reality.
The Many-worlds interpretation (summary here) of quantum mechanics bothers a lot of people. It bothers them in the same way that modern predictions of many – possibly infinite – universes bothers people. I think, philosophically, it bothers people because they like to think that we’re unique. That everyone is “special” in a very Sesame Street feel good kind of way, and the many-worlds interpretation debunks this notion.
This new paper brings the two principles of mulitverses and many-worlds together and effectively predicts that they are one in the same thing. I’m not going to pretend to understand the math in the original article, but the introduction is accessible and a good skim of the article to pick up the definition of causal diamonds is necessary.
A nice little unintended philosophical/religious tie in from the article is spotted in the abstract:
This requires not only the existence of exact observables but two additional postulates: a single observer within the universe can access infinitely many identical experiments; and the outcome of each experiment must be completely definite.
They may not have intended to postulate the existence of a potentially omniscient observer as a real entity – theoretical physicists rarely do – but if the theory is sound, then the possibility exists. Imagine an entity sitting at the global nexus of the multiverse running an infinite number of experiments and getting exact answers…to everything…everywhere.
They call this observer the Census Taker in the paper. What would YOU call such a being? I know what word I would use.