Ming the Mechanic
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Thursday, September 27, 2007day link 

 Parallel universes are a bit more real
Doesn't really say much, but that's good news. Breibart:
Parallel universes really do exist, according to a mathematical discovery by Oxford scientists described by one expert as "one of the most important developments in the history of science".

The parallel universe theory, first proposed in 1950 by the US physicist Hugh Everett, helps explain mysteries of quantum mechanics that have baffled scientists for decades, it is claimed.

In Everett's "many worlds" universe, every time a new physical possibility is explored, the universe splits. Given a number of possible alternative outcomes, each one is played out - in its own universe.

A motorist who has a near miss, for instance, might feel relieved at his lucky escape. But in a parallel universe, another version of the same driver will have been killed. Yet another universe will see the motorist recover after treatment in hospital. The number of alternative scenarios is endless.

It is a bizarre idea which has been dismissed as fanciful by many experts. But the new research from Oxford shows that it offers a mathematical answer to quantum conundrums that cannot be dismissed lightly - and suggests that Dr Everett, who was a Phd student at Princeton University when he came up with the theory, was on the right track.

Commenting in New Scientist magazine, Dr Andy Albrecht, a physicist at the University of California at Davis, said: "This work will go down as one of the most important developments in the history of science."
Actually it doesn't tell us anything about what they figured out. But there is a parallel universe somewhere, in which that would have been a more informative article. And there's another one where I would have been able to understand the math in that more informative article.

Now, the next question is: Does the universe split all the time, in all possible directions, or only on special occasions, like just before you buy lottery tickets, or when you're leaning out the window in a tall building? I'd say it does it all the time, but that the idea of "splitting" gives the completely wrong idea. It is just a matter of having enough dimensions. Does the North/South compass direction split into East or West in millions of places? That's an equally silly question. If you're walking North, you're free to stop at any time and walk East, and you're free to walk back and go SouthWest. The place you came from didn't disappear just because you left it. That's the magic of being able to move in two dimensions. Parallel universes is just the same kind of thing, and only sounds magical because we folks are dimensionally challenged. We think we're walking in just one direction, even though we're changing tracks all the time. And of course there are multiple choices of tracks in a great many places. Whether there's somebody who took all the possible paths is, I think, a question that math alone will not solve. The universe doesn't need to split, because it has plenty of dimensions. But what about you - do you split?
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