posted on Dec, 12 2007 @ 09:43 AM
Professor Max Tegmark has proposed a thought experiment similar to Schrödinger’s cat. He asked us to imagine that a machine gun is attached to a
device that measures the z-spin of a sub-atomic particle. All sub atomic particles have this, and this can be either ‘up’ or ‘down’. However
the direction of spin is entirely random and as such cannot be predicted for any single particle. If the device ‘senses’ a particle that has
‘down’ spin then it instructs the machine gun to load a single live bullet into the stock. If the particle spin is detected as being ‘up’ the
gunstock remains empty with the weapon just making an audible click.
In order to test the gun an experimenter stands in front of the gun and asks her assistant to pull the trigger. The assistant nervously follows the
instruction and presses the trigger. The device detects that the spin of the particle is up and as such does not load a bullet into the stock. The gun
makes an audible click and the experimenter remains alive.
The experimenter suggests that they now go through a further nine repeats of the experiment. She stands in front of the gun and on each occasion the
stock remains empty. After the tenth repeat she tells her assistant that it is time to end the test and go home for the evening. The experimenter
feels satisfied that she has proven to herself that the Many Worlds Interpretation has been proven correct and invites her relieved assistant out for
a quick celebratory drink.
Now lets go back to the start of the experiment and experience it from the worldview of the assistant. He follows the instructions as given by his
boss. He presses the trigger three times and on each occasion the gun clicks. However on the fourth attempt the sub-atomic particle has down spin, a
bullet falls into the stock and the trigger engages. A bullet flies out of the barrel and crashes through the skull of the experimenter killing her
instantly. In a blind panic he telephones the police and is arrested for murder.
What has happened here? Is the experimenter alive or dead, did they go for a drink or did the assistant face a murder charge? The answer is that in
the same way that Schrödinger’s cat is both alive and dead in different universes so is the experimenter. In her universe she did not die but in
the universe of her assistant she did. The crucial point here is that the only reality that the experimenter can possibly perceive is the one in which
This observer-based universe ties in with another theory of quantum physics - something called The Copenhagen Interpretation
. This idea,
suggested by Nils Bohr states that without a conscious observer matter does not exist. It needs an observer to bring about what is termed 'collapse
the wave function'. In short without an observer matter never comes into existence. So your universe needs you to continue existeng and that goes
for all of us. Everett's Many-Worlds Interpretation is also known as 'The Many-Minds Interpretation'. This suggests that the multiverse is closely
related to consciousness (check out the work of Roger Penrose and Stuart Hameroff for a nice twist on this theme).
For the logical conclusion with regard to this I suggest you check out
and my (very) active blogsite