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  • Writer's pictureMartyn Rhys Vaughan

QUANTUM RUSSIAN ROULETTE II

Updated: Jun 14, 2023

QUANTUM RUSSIAN ROULETTE AND "MANY WORLDS"

We have now discussed the concept of the multiverse and how it solves the problem of quantum uncertainty. A quantum object is described by its wave function. The wave function contains all the possible states that the object can have but does so simultaneously. This is known as quantum coherence and the states are said to be in superposition. When a measurement is made the wave function collapses yielding an unambiguous measurement. This known as quantum decoherence. However, before the measurement, the object was in a superposition of all possible states.

The standard “Copenhagen” interpretation required a Classical measuring apparatus (e.g. human) intervening in the quantum world, thus causing decoherence. The problem was: Why should measuring the superposition cause the set of all possible states to “choose” one and only one value?

Hugh Everett III (1930-82), chain-smoker and alcoholic, in the mid-1950s chose to remove the act of “choosing” from the collapse problem by stating that the quantum object decoheres into ALL of the possible states. Call the number of possible states “n”. Given that the object cannot simultaneously be in n states after decoherence, it follows inevitably that there must be n realities in which the object displays 1,2, … n states, independently of each other. Thus if the superposition showed that the electron could have an Up spin and a Down spin and the wave function is resolved, then there is a reality in which the electron is found to be Up and another in which is found to be Down. Neither reality has any knowledge of the other nor cannot, in theory, influence the other.

There is therefore a very large number of independent realities, resulting each time a wave function decoheres. Let us assume it is one of the infinities. Thus, returning to the Quantum Suicide thought-experiment, there are very many versions of the player being dead or alive, depending how many times the game is played i.e. if in each reality in which the player survives, he continues to play.

In my novel “QUANTUM EXILE” I postulate a human who, given an existential Life-Or-Death scenario, can choose to transfer his consciousness into a reality in which he survives. For, if the set of all possibilities of him being alive or dead is infinite then, the subset of possibilities in which he survives is also infinite. This follows from the mathematical treatment of infinity.

So my anti-hero, let’s call him Dexter Ward, has, when faced with extinction, the ability to switch to one of the subsets in which he always survives. And he is aware of the transition.

The plot hinges on the fact that he can take someone with him when such a situation arises, as long as they are within a minimum distance. However, as the destination within the infinite subset is entered randomly, and differences between realities accumulate, such a traveller can end up in a reality very different from the one in which his journey began.

And if entities without such an ability became aware of it would not they seek to gain it for themselves regardless of what this implied for the traveller?

You can find out what happens to Dexter Ward and his companions in “Quantum Exile”



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