Science & Technology
Reality doesn't exist if you don't look at it
By T.K. Randall
June 3, 2015 · 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."
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