Could Parallel Realities Really Exist?


With the popularity of Marvel’s multiverse, you might low-key be wondering how parallel world’s could actually work. Turns out this science-fiction is based on real science, but what exact theories are out there?

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The idea of multiple worlds is compelling because it solves a thorny issue that arises from quantum mechanics. Classical physics is typically thought to be deterministic: if you know the speed and position of something like a ball flying through the air, then you can predict where the ball is going to land.

But in the quantum world, things don’t work like that. It is impossible to know the exact speed and position of a particle like an electron, and so it is impossible to say for certain what it will do, only the probabilities.

The mathematical expression of all known possibilities of a particle’s location and characteristics is called its wave function.
Bizarrely, in the quantum realm particles appear to exist in multiple states simultaneously, until something causes only one outcome to result, what’s known in science-y talk as “collapsing the wave function”.

The mechanism that causes wave functions to collapse is still debated, but one of the most widely accepted is the Copenhagen Interpretation. It states wave functions collapse when they are observed, measured, or interact with the classical world in some way.

The Copenhagen interpretation comes with its own issues, which physicist Edwin Shrodinger tried to point out when he devised a thought experiment where a cat in a box could be both alive and dead at the same time so long as no one looked inside. But what if we’re looking at this the wrong way, and the wave functions don’t actually collapse?

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