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The universe actually exists.

Posted by todd at 4:41 AM on March 10, 2009

I am sure that most of the GNC audience are familiar with the names Schrodinger, Bohr, Heisenberg, Young and potentially Hardy. All of these people have been instrumentally involved in quantum theory, and specifically for this article, in uncertainty theory. This is the paradox that the act of observation changes the observed. The classic example of this is a photon of light, where it is not possible to measure both its position and its momentum accurately. In fact the more accurately you determine position the less accurate your momentum observation can be and vice versa.

This goes beyond the observer effect, where the physical interaction of the observer directly changes what is measured. The paradox is that simply observing is enough to change the reality. While demonstratable in small particles the principle has been extended to larger objects like cats in boxes, trees in forests and even to ponder whether the physical properties of the universe we take for granted actually exist without our observation.

The Economist has reported on an experiment two groups of scientists have independantly taken to try and prove whether the universe actually exists when it isn’t observed. They have done this by performing experiments where they don’t actually collect all the data but using multiple experiments so that the aggregate parts were enough to draw conclusions.

The article is a little technical in that it uses casual throw-away lines like “photons are their own antiparticles, and are pure energy in any case”, but if your feeling really smart today here is a link to one of the actual papers. And just because I like it a link to an explanation of 10 dimensional space.

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