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The idea of parallel worlds is one that has always fascinated me, the idea that ours is one of who knows how many versions each slightly or majorly different from the other, all in a line. Or something like that, as I’ve never really understood quantum physics at all. Now it seems that scientists are also coming to see that these parallel worlds could not only exist but could also have some sort of influence on our reality.
According to a report published in the journal Physical Review X, a group of physicists led by Prof. Howard Wiseman from Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia have published a new theory called “many interacting worlds”. Their idea is simple – these other universes exist and exist in huge numbers and exert influence on each other.
The idea of parallel worlds in the realm of quantum physics has been around since the 1950s with the view that each universe branches into a number of new universes every time a quantum measurement is made. So in one version, ours, the dinosaurs were wiped out 65 million years ago but in lots of others, the asteroid missed Earth and they are still around.
But according to this theory, each universe is disassociated from the others and don’t have any influence on each other. According to the theory from Prof Wiseman, these worlds interact with each other and they term it Many Interacting Worlds.
Their theory has three main principles:
- The universe we live in is one of an unknown but massive number of universes, some of which are virtually identical to ours but the majority of which are very different
- All the worlds are equally ‘real’ and exist through time with precisely defined properties
- Quantum phenomena arise from “a universal force of repulsion between nearby or similar worlds” that has the effect of making them less similar
Therefore, quantum effects can only arise from these interactions between worlds. The scientists believe that it may also be possible to test the theory and prove the existence of these universes.
Apparently, I’m not alone in not understanding quantum physics and what all this really means -American theoretical physicist Richard Feynman once said that it was safe to say that nobody understands quantum mechanics. So while the theory sounds a bit strange to us non-physicists, perhaps some day, one will come along who really understands it and finds a way to prove the theory once and for all.