Thursday, January 30, 2014

Alice in Quantumland

Some adventures later, Alice meets the Little Mermaid, from who she learns about the theory of many worlds:

“As you know,” she began in a liquid, musical voice, “I am a creature of two worlds. I live in the sea and am equally at home upon the land. But this is as nothing compared with the number of worlds which we all inhabit, for we are all citizens of many worlds — many, many worlds. . . . 
The quantum rules … apply to the whole world, to everything. There is no limit to the idea of the superposition of states. When an observer looks at a superposition of quantum states you would expect him or her to see all of the effects that are appropriate to the selection of states present. This is what does happen; one observer does see all the results, or rather the observer also is in a superposition of different states, and each state of the observer has seen the result that goes with one of the states, in the original mixture. Each state is simply extended to include the observer in the act of seeing that particular state. 
This is not the way that it seems to us, but that is because the different states of the observer are not aware of one another. When an electron passes through a screen with two slits in it, then it might pass through to the left or to the right. What you observe to happen is pure chance. You might see that the electron has gone to the left, but there will be another you that will have seen the electron go to the right. At the point at which you observe the electron, you split into two versions of yourself, one to see each possible result. If these two versions never get together again, then each remains totally unaware of the other’s existence. The world has split into two worlds with slightly different versions of you in them. . . .”

You can read the rest of this mind blowing article from Brain Pickings here.

A PDF of the book can be found here.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Oh, look Toto - we have visitors!