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Chicken and egg both came first, say physicists


Posted on Thursday, 6 September, 2018 | Comment icon 88 comments

Did the chicken and the egg both come first ? Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 Brett Jordan
The peculiar realm of quantum physics has offered up its own mind-bending solution to the age-old conundrum.
Despite its inherent simplicity, it is a question that has puzzled scholars and philosophers alike since the time of the ancient Greeks over 2,000 years ago - which came first, the chicken or the egg ?

The answer, it seems, depends on who you ask.

As part of a recent study, physicists from Australia and France have been using this age-old question - in conjunction with quantum physics - to help show how events unfold at the smallest of scales where causality breaks down and - paradoxically - the chicken and the egg can both come first.
"The weirdness of quantum mechanics means that events can happen without a set order," said researcher Jacqui Romero from the University of Queensland.

"In our experiment, both of these events can happen first. This is called 'indefinite causal order' and it isn't something that we can observe in our everyday life."

Confused ? You aren't the only one.

"It can be impossible to say in which order two events occur, obliterating our common sense notion of before and after and, potentially, muddying the concept of causality," said physicist Adrian Cho.

Source: USA Today | Comments (88)


Tags: Chicken, Egg, Quantum Physics


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #79 Posted by danydandan on 11 September, 2018, 13:37
Again I think some people are under the impression that the many world's interpretation is meant to assume, real alternative Universe's. It doesn't and it's a Mathematical construct brought about by the statistical mathematical approachs to QM.
Comment icon #80 Posted by Noxasa on 11 September, 2018, 13:53
I think the question is, in regards to this topic of non-unitary evolutionary processes, what does many worlds say happens when a single pointer/outcome measurement is made?  What happens to the other quantum states that existed prior to, but are not observed in, that measurement?  Doesn't many worlds state that those outcomes are indeed observed, just in other dimensions (i.e. worlds?)  Whereas, what I'm saying is that those other states that are not observed from the decoherence collapse are lost due to the further "collapse" (for lack of a better term) of the wave function into a specific o... [More]
Comment icon #81 Posted by danydandan on 11 September, 2018, 15:36
You taking this interpretation and the one you ascribe to , too literally. They aren't intended as such, in my opinion. My reasoning is that the many world's interpretation reconciles the observation of non-deterministic event with the fully deterministic equations of quantum mechanics. Like any good theory it has made predictions and these have been proven true to a good extent. This theory also has two camps, real and unreal. I assume you understand each one and as you can ascertain I'm a realist, thus I side with DeWitt. With the advancement of quantum gravity I feel this interpretation is ... [More]
Comment icon #82 Posted by Noxasa on 11 September, 2018, 20:18
Hmmm, so I gather when a multi-state decoherence is defined as being true for all states at the same time you don't really believe this representation is true at the quantum scale, it's just a mathematical symptom due to uncertainty.  But that the uncertainty is only in the math, that the actual state of the thing being measured is not truly in a multistate phase prior to the measurement.  Like when the theory implies illustratively that Schrodinger's Cat is both alive and dead at the same time before observation, you believe that's a false statement even when applied at a quantum scale.  That... [More]
Comment icon #83 Posted by danydandan on 11 September, 2018, 20:43
Yes. The mathematics is a result of the uncertainty of our observations, not that the uncertainty is a result of the mathematics. The rest yes. Let's look at Schrodinger's cat for an example. Before observations we have a 50/50 chance that the cat is either dead or alive, yes? This is due to uncertainty, we haven't enough information to complete our analysis. We then look, measure, in the box and we know 100% what state the cat is in, yes? Thus whatever starte the cat isn't in has a 0% chance of occuring at thr time of observation. IE we remove uncertainty we are golden. It's not wrong, it's v... [More]
Comment icon #84 Posted by Noxasa on 11 September, 2018, 21:59
Okay, I think I basically understand your approach.  I guess I question the concept that a measurement outcome means anything to a non-conscious observer or natural phenomenon (i.e. Quantum Gravity,) since measurement is essentially a perception of experience, which is itself a subset of consciousness (meaning that that experience of measurement means something to the observer.)  Since nature doesn't require quantum energies to be in, or even use, eganstates for quantum interactions, why would the natural quantum interactions of Quantum Gravity require the collapse of a decoherence into an ega... [More]
Comment icon #85 Posted by danydandan on 12 September, 2018, 7:32
Amicable conversation is a dime a dozen here often unfortunately. The reason I suggested Rodger Penrose's book is because is takes a Mathematician's approach to the science. It's very comprehensive, covers from Euclid to Mathematics behind quantum gravity and everything in between. He peppers the book with his opinion sometimes but he emphatically states that it's just his opinion, and it should not be taken as Gospel. He also have an interesting take on the role consciousness plays. When I was lecturering I used to suggest this book for people who had a good grasp of Mathematics and wanted to... [More]
Comment icon #86 Posted by psyche101 on 12 September, 2018, 23:37
Its a good illustration of the only people willing to associate themselves with such unsupported nonsense.  Can you explain why he promoted the case of the Fox Sisters as genuine when they admitted a hoax?    And how do you feel about Victor Stengers critical evaluation?  According to Victor Stenger: “”Radin is aware of the file-drawer effect, in which only positive results tend to get reported and negative ones are left in the filing cabinet. This obviously can greatly bias any analysis of combined results and Radin cannot ignore this as blithely as he ignores other possible, non-paranormal e... [More]
Comment icon #87 Posted by Noxasa on 13 September, 2018, 9:17
First off, I'm not really interested in defending Radin or his experiments as I'm still neutral but curious about them.  I was only interested in if anyone had viewed his work since it relates to consciousness, albeit at a different level than my approach.  My response to you was simply pointing out that an ad hominem attack on his character or associations is not a valid argument against his experimental results...and it's not.   Secondly, I've only heard of one or two other studies done based on Radin's experiments and they failed but I'm not sure if they were accurate studies to his experim... [More]
Comment icon #88 Posted by Noxasa on 13 September, 2018, 9:26
 


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