Science

If the multiverse exists, are there infinite copies of me?

Based on the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, the universe is continually dividing and taking you with it – so would you recognise your different selves in the event you met them?



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9 December 2020

Jonathan Knowles/Getty Photographs

Is there multiple of you?

BIOLOGICALLY talking, there’s definitively just one you (see “How possible are you?”). Physics would possibly offer you pause for thought, nevertheless. Essentially the most bewildering argument in opposition to your uniqueness comes from quantum mechanics, the elemental concept that describes the customarily counter-intuitive behaviour of subatomic particles. It’d suggest not solely that there are a number of, equivalent variations of you, however even that there are an infinite variety of yous on the market.

The quantum realm is notoriously fuzzy: quantum objects comparable to particles are described by way of possibilities, encoded in mathematical widgets referred to as wave capabilities that provide the odds on any variety of totally different states the item is perhaps in. Solely while you observe or measure it does the item tackle a kind of states, at the very least out of your perspective.

“Quantum concept would possibly suggest there are an infinite variety of yous on the market”

The reality of what occurs at this level – and certainly what, if something, the wave perform itself is attempting to inform us about actuality – divides physicists. Many keep on with a cop-out generally known as the Copenhagen interpretation: basically, that we are able to by no means know what is occurring on this fuzzy pre-measurement realm. In different phrases, quantum concept makes predictions about actuality, however says nothing about what goes on below the hood.

That isn’t ok for some. Physicists who subscribe to the rival “many worlds” interpretation insist that each one the chances encoded within the wave perform are actual, and that they live on in several universes that break up off from ours each time a quantum …


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