Science & Technology
Multiple realities can exist at the same time
March 22, 2019 | 45 comments
The world of quantum physics is very strange indeed. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Kuroiniisan
A mind-boggling quantum physics experiment has seemingly confirmed the existence of multiple realities.
The research sought to answer a decades-old physics question first posed by physicist Eugene Wigner in the 1960s. Known as "Wigner's friend", the idea puts forward a situation in which an observer in an isolated laboratory measures the polarization of a photon.
Initially, the photon is in a state of superposition - meaning that its polarization is both horizontal and vertical at the same time. When the laboratory observer measures the polarization, the particle assumes a fixed state, however for someone outside the laboratory who doesn't know the result of the measurements, the photon is still in a state of superposition.
The reality of both these individuals, therefore, differs - even though both are technically correct.
Now, several decades on, scientists have finally been able to conduct an experiment to actually test this concept and demonstrate that, in quantum physics at least, multiple realities can exist.
"Theoretical advances were needed to formulate the problem in a way that is testable," said study co-author Martin Ringbauer from the University of Innsbruck in Austria. "Then, the experimental side needed developments on the control of quantum systems to implement something like that."
The findings seemed to confirm that Wigner's observations held up in practice.
"It seems that, in contrast to classical physics, measurement results cannot be considered absolute truth but must be understood relative to the observer who performed the measurement," said Ringbauer.
Source: Live Science
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