Saturday, May 18, 2013

What is Information?

A direct link to the above video can be found at

As regular readers of this blog will know, one of my favorite phrases is "Information Equals Reality". Dolors of the new youtube channel doljt123 has just put out a fascinating video on this subject, check it out! She also has a facebook page, and a website for her project: "Cracking the Nutshell".

I'm very grateful for the positive mention she makes of my project, amusingly enough it's right at the ten minute mark. And hey, you know how much I love that particular number! :) If you enjoyed the above video, here are two more from her channel as well.

Enjoy the journey!


A direct link to the above video can be found at

A direct link to the above video can be found at

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Frogs and Birds

Quantum mechanics is widely recognized as one of the most successful theories of all time, confirmed again and again by observation and experiment. The Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics, as proposed by physicist Hugh Everett III, tells us that it's not correct, though, for us to say that the quantum wave function is "collapsed" through observation. Rather we are only "observing", and the Many Worlds - the other parts of the wave function that we are not observing continue to exist. I agree with Everett's proposal that these other parallel universe outcomes are equally "real", but I understand why people find this so boggling: "how can there be more than one version of me?" is a question I hear regularly. There was a paper published by physicist Jean-Marc Lévy-Leblond analyzing the Many Worlds Interpretation which Hugh Everett particularly liked, and it said this:

"To me, the deep meaning of Everett's idea is not the existence of many worlds, but, on the contrary, the existence of a single quantum one."

So if that single quantum one includes every possible state for the universe, why aren't you and I witnessing all those possible states right now? Everett liked to refer to us as having a "frog's eye view" - we can only see one possible state at a time, and the next state that we can see has to be causally connected to the current one. If we could have the "bird's eye view" it would then be possible for us to simultaneously observe the other states. We can imagine this but we can't actually do it, because the atoms and molecules we're constructed from are rooted in the third dimension, embedded within a three-dimensional "brane".

This is why I propose that the fourth dimension is all you need if you believe there is only one possible past and one possible future for the universe: it's like our frog is looking down a single street that stretches towards infinity, both in front of him and behind him. But since the quantum world is probabilistic, we know that there is more than one "next possible outcome" from any given instant, which means our frog always has many possible roads branching off, any one of which he could find himself turning on to: and those branches occur within a space which is orthogonal to spacetime, the fifth dimension. But our frog still can't see the whole picture. In the same way, you and I can imagine how Everett's Many Worlds can easily include versions of the universe where the Boston Marathon bomb attacks didn't occur in 2013, but we know that there is no chance, zero probability, of us observing that version of the universe now.

In order to do so, we would still need to be able to somehow elevate our viewpoint "above" our map of probabilities, to go from a fifth dimensional to a six dimensional "birds eye view". By doing so, we would become able to see this unimaginably large map of every possible state for our universe from its beginning to end, all contained within what is really not many worlds, but, on the contrary, a single quantum one. Yes, we can only "observe" one universe at a time, but rather than focus on all those other "me"s I think it's more productive to think about how each of us is a "slice" of something much larger that exists outside of time and space. Seeing that big picture, and how we each fit into that big picture, is a beautiful thing.

Enjoy the journey!

Rob Bryanton

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