On many worlds…

Quantum Mechanics can be interpreted to suggest that we live in a world of many universes. It’s a fun way to imagine our world so I thought I’d bring some light to the subject. The Many World’s Interpretation is an interpretation of Quantum Mechanics that suggests that all possibilities are real and each possibility exists in a separate ‘universe’.

The modern theory of Quantum Mechanics describes a mathematical function, the wavefunction, to inform us about the probability of an object being in a certain state. For example, the wavefunction describes the probability that an electron exists at a certain location. The wavefunction was formulated to explain what is ‘waving’ when early quantum theory predicted the wave nature of particles ( think De Broglie). One of the hallmarks of Quantum Mechanics is the collapse of the wavefunction – when all the possibilities reduce to a single value – through observations. Through the collapse, we arrive at the one observed reality. Think of the Schrodinger Cat – according to Quantum Mechanics, the cat is both alive and dead until you open the door and observe the cat’s state. Then it becomes dead or alive through the observation. This is the collapse of the wavefunction (the probability that the cat is alive or dead).

The MWI denies the actual collapse of the wavefunction and instead suggests that all possible alternate histories and futures are real and exist in multiple universes. Each represents a universe. Everything that could have possibly happened in the past, but did not, occurred in some other universe. The cat may be alive here, but dead in another universe.

I like to consider MWI when I make a bad decision. It’s like taking one for the team. Perhaps I messed up here, but by doing so, all the me’s in the other universes made the right decision.