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Reality doesn't exist if you don't look at it

Posted on Wednesday, 3 June, 2015 | Comment icon 110 comments

Is reality created by our perception of it ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Laitr Keiows
A new quantum physics experiment has confirmed the idea that reality doesn't exist until it is measured.
The mind-bending concept, which implies that the universe stops existing if we don't look at it, seems to have been confirmed thanks to physicists at The Australian National University.

To accomplish this the scientists carried out John Wheeler's delayed-choice thought experiment which involves giving a moving object the option of behaving like either a particle or a wave.

It stands to reason that the object is intrinsically one or the other no matter the circumstances, but according to quantum physics the object will demonstrate either wave-like or particle-like behavior based solely on how it is measured once it reaches its destination.

The experiment centers around working out at what point the object decides which it is going to be.
"It proves that measurement is everything," said Associate Professor Andrew Truscott. "At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it."

To carry out the experiment the team used helium atoms scattered one at a time by a laser.

"If one chooses to believe that the atom really did take a particular path or paths then one has to accept that a future measurement is affecting the atom's past," said Truscott.

"The atoms did not travel from A to B - it was only when they were measured at the end of the journey that their wave-like or particle-like behavior was brought into existence."

Source: NDTV | Comments (110)

Tags: Quantum Physics

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #101 Posted by robinrenee on 27 June, 2015, 1:37
I did not speak of animals but of extraterrestrial beings, in the same category of 'intelligence' as humans or above. A being which has the same level of awareness is to be treated as an equal. 'Animals' implies an inferiority. There exists very much a possibility for advanced Alien civilizations elsewhere in the Universe. It just seems incredibly selfish to think of humans as sitting at the apex of Creation, where everything revolve around us. Phenix20, there are extraterrestrial beings (aliens, if you prefer). Those extraterrestrial beings are humans. They have rational souls just like we do... [More]
Comment icon #102 Posted by XenoFish on 27 June, 2015, 4:00
I think therefore I am. Does that mean I am a thought? A thought-being that only exist if I am perceived by others. Since the results of my actions can be detected by those that have never met me. I exist to them as an idea or a conceptual being, unless I become a reality to them.
Comment icon #103 Posted by Rlyeh on 27 June, 2015, 5:28
Actually I got that from the ures of the Baha'i religion... the only religion that I know of that answers questions like that. I happen to think it makes sense. This is one of many quotes about human life on other planets. "Know thou that every fixed star hath its own planets, and every planet its own creatures, whose number no man can compute." ... from "Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah" p. 162. Fantasy in another words. However the quote doesn't say human life on other planets. I think people like Rlyeh, who meticulously search for trivia like that, must be very bored with their li... [More]
Comment icon #104 Posted by Harte on 27 June, 2015, 8:31
But not that bored I have to make up garbage about humans in the Andromeda Galaxy. Well, it's perfectly logical. Andromeda Galaxy: Andromeda: Otherwise, where did the Andromedans get their name? Harte
Comment icon #105 Posted by Phenix20 on 27 June, 2015, 15:57
Phenix20, there are extraterrestrial beings (aliens, if you prefer). Those extraterrestrial beings are humans. They have rational souls just like we do. They have the same level of awareness, and they are our equals. Human is the highest level of consciousness in the universe, and we are sprinkled all over the universe on planets capable of supporting life. ''Humans'' is simply a name we have given to our own specy of homo sapiens. Somehow I don't think our specy necesserely possess the highest level of consciousness in the Universe. I have no reason to believe that. There could be older, more... [More]
Comment icon #106 Posted by robinrenee on 27 June, 2015, 19:53
''Humans'' is simply a name we have given to our own specy of homo sapiens. True... Somehow I don't think our specy necesserely possess the highest level of consciousness in the Universe. I have no reason to believe that. I believe that Baha'u'llah, the founder of the Baha'i religion has the credentials to make that statement. There could be older, more advanced life forms elsewhere in the Universe. Our solar system is quite young, after all. I believe that older does not necessarily mean better. All civilizations go though (metaphorically) spring, summer, fall, and winter. And then they colla... [More]
Comment icon #107 Posted by daramantus on 30 June, 2015, 23:40
Gotcha .... I think... That means that the nucleus can be measured, but the electrons cannot? Wait a minute. Electrons can be measured too. So, technically, neither is "infinitely" tiny. They're just tiny. Point particles? What evidence do you have that they are point particles? First of all this whole idea of reality doesn't exist until measured is totally wrong and BS... there are no particles and this solves everything particle physics is dead
Comment icon #108 Posted by Harte on 1 July, 2015, 1:07
Electrons, and several other particles (excuse the term) have zero volume when considered as a particle (as opposed to a wave.) Technically, they're called "point-like" particles, because it's not understood exactly how a model of a particle with no volume can be described. Point particles are much more bizarre and are sometimes said to have zero size. This statement has raised more than one eyebrow. How can something have no size at all? And if it has mass, does the zero size mean it has infinite density? (And by the way, as you read on, you’ll see the answer to that last one is no.) You begi... [More]
Comment icon #109 Posted by sepulchrave on 1 July, 2015, 3:41
The preprint that daramantus linked to is rather bizarre. Electrons, photons, muons, neutrinos, etc. are obviously different things, so the physics community uses the word ``particles'' to describe them. In quantum mechanics, ``particles'' and ``waves'' are the names given to elements from two orthogonal basis sets (dirac delta functions and complex exponentials in real space, complex exponentials and dirac delta functions in momentum space, respectively) often used to describe the wavefunction. The use of the word ``particle'' for both situations is perhaps sloppy language, but I would be ver... [More]
Comment icon #110 Posted by daramantus on 27 June, 2018, 1:52
No, there is not only "one wave function". cut out the "one", there is no "one" anything. 

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