New Theory Shows Interaction Between Parallel Worlds And The Potential To Rewrite Quantum Theory
Have Parallel Worlds Existed Forever?
The 20th century was loaded with experiments and discoveries that I sometimes forget how big of an impact things like quantum theory really had on our lives. Bold new thought experiments and suggestions have been made that seemingly left us wondering what our universe might be made of after all.
After laying the groundwork for all subsequent studies in the early years, quantum theory was pushed evermore. One of the truly bizarre effects of interactions on a quantum level appear to be a discovery made back in the 1950s. The realization that one particle can appear in two places at once, hence giving rise to some kind of parallel world, if not many worlds.
American physicist Hugh Everett III who proposed them first, used the term “many worlds” as an interpretation of quantum theory. Sadly, no one in the scientific world followed his lead, leaving him with no option but to quit science altogether.
His bold new interpretation called for any given universe to branch itself whenever an interaction on a quantum level appears.
Nowadays, his once uberly bizarre take on alternative universes is not dismissed, but rather embraced instead. An Australian team now proposes a new theory of “Many interacting worlds”, that has already been published in the ‘Physical Review X’.
The radical idea seems to be promising and interesting at the same time, if you believe Bill Poirier, a quantum dynamicist at Texas Tech University, who also proposed an early version of a “Many interacting worlds” - theory back in 2010.
In short, the new theory proposed by Howard Wiseman, Director of the Centre of Quantum Dynamics at Griffith University, is trying to tell us that parallel worlds do exist in a very stable form, so that no new universes need to be created. These interacting worlds already exist and have done so since the beginning of time or whatever equivalent comes close to that.
This is like scanning through my old sci-fi comics, where you could still visit dinosaurs in one world or take a sneak peek into a Star Trek like universe in another. According to Wiseman there should even be worlds identical to our own, probably inhabited by other versions of ourselves differing ever so slightly from the Earth we experience here and now. In his theory quantum effects arise whenever our world interacts with one of those other worlds nearby
Wiseman told the PRX that “Physicists have been trying to come to terms with the experimental findings in the quantum world for a century [but] It’s still notoriously unfathomable. This motivated us to look for a better description of what is really going on.”
The best known unfathomable experiment happens to be the “double-slit experiment” for electrons. First performed in the 1800s with light, it showed that a light beam passing through two closely spaced slits in a screen onto a wall does not produce an image of two lines, but an interference pattern instead. Later on, Niels Bohr among others found further evidence that fundamental particles had wave-like properties.
How weird things can get has been proven since the 1960s and 70s, respectively. Before going too deep into the counter-intuitive realm of quantum theory at hand, we should listen to Dr. Quantum instead:
Well, Einstein wasn’t particular fond of quantum theory to say the least and preferred a much more ordered way of how things work on such a small scale in our universe. Funny enough, the team at Griffith University came up with an explanation and vision a whole lot closer to Einstein’s than any of the other famous physicists.
There was no such thing as probability clouds or the above shown wave-particle duality. They paint a picture of clarity, where all particles passing through the slits remain particles after all. We should simply imagine an interfering world instead, where a particular electron slips through the other slit, creating the pattern we are familiar with.
The theory then goes a step further, suggesting that a newly proposed repulsive force stops the electrons from coming too close to one another and in effect collide with its ‘twin particle from another world’ on a quantum level creating interference patterns.
Wiseman concludes, that this interaction between parallel worlds implies electrons are not waves after all. Of course, this theory needed to be backed up with data from a computer simulation of the double-slit experiment. So his team went on to do just that, using up to 41 interacting worlds at a time in their attempt to “capture the essential features of peaks and troughs in the right places” according to Wiseman.
Michael Hall, lead author of the study, praises the theory for its ability to restrict the worlds necessary, as finite worlds will immensely help Quantum mechanical calculations to be solved “in a matter of seconds”. With a discrete set-up and a manageable number of worlds any kind of computer simulation will lead to predictions of the quantum world, deviating slightly from standard quantum theory. This in turn, could bring back a scientific age of lab experiments and a 'return to better testability'.
If done correctly, further lab experiments could either rule out the new theory of the ‘brave parallel worlds’ or provide us with a quantum level measurement stick of how many worlds there are … and maybe, just maybe, if they have existed since the beginning of what we call time.