Sunday, January 24, 2010


What would you say to this as a description of my project?

Imagining the Tenth Dimension makes use of several interpretations of quantum physics, particularly Hugh Everett's Many-Worlds Interpretation, which views the universe as branching off into an infinity of possible states of varying probability. It also draws from the Copenhagen Interpretation, which suggests that an observer or measurement is important in determining the decoherency of the probability.
I would say this description fits quite well. But the above description is actually from the wikipedia article on a Japanese anime series from a couple of years ago called Noein. Watch this two minute clip from the series:

A direct link to the above video is at

One small quibble with the wikipedia description above: the Copenhagen Interpretation says observation collapses the wavefunction, causing all other possible outcomes to disappear. I side with Everett on this one: his theory says we don't collapse the wavefunction, we merely observe it in a particular state, and the other "many worlds" continue to exist as part of the wavefunction for our universe even though we're not observing those other possibilities. Here's more from that wikipedia article on Noein:
In the anime, Haruka possesses "supreme observer" status in the multiverse, thus enabling her to determine the sole outcome of an event just by "observing" one of the possible futures of the event. These themes also underpin an existential ideology that permeates the anime.
Regular readers of this blog may remember another anime series with a similar theme which I talked about almost two years ago in an entry called Anime, Gaming and Cusps: that series was called The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. In the video I made for that blog entry I played a clip from the show, watch from about the 1:50 mark if you just want to see a bit of this other anime series:

A direct link to the above video can be found at

There seems to be something about Japanese culture that makes them more inclined to embrace as their entertainment the heady extrapolations that can be drawn from modern quantum theory. I suspect this is because there is something essentially holistic about the conclusions that can be drawn, making these ideas easier to align with ancient Eastern philosophy. As I've mentioned before, though, many North American teenagers and young adults have been introduced to related concepts in the Japanese video games they have played as youngsters. In Placebos Becoming More Effective?, we discussed the scientific evidence that placebos are twice as effective as they were a few decades ago. Could the Eastern viewpoints that have been introduced to the western world over the last few decades through entertainments like Noein be part of that shift?

On a more serious scientific note, here's a paper by physicist Max Tegmark called "Many Lives in Many Worlds".
Many lives in Many worlds-Max Tegmark

Other blogs where we've talked about Max Tegmark include Polls Archive 24, Aren't There Really 11 Dimensions?, and Quantum Suicide. We're going to continue exploring these extra-dimensional ideas from a more playful perspective next time with an entry called "Playing Games in Extra Dimensions".

Enjoy the journey!

Rob Bryanton

No comments:

Tenth Dimension Vlog playlist