Sunday, October 09, 2005

'Cat'chy Reality

I recently finished reading this book. It is an awesome read if you are interested in what reality is and where modern physics is pointing to. It looks like the distinction between scientists and spiritualists is blurring away. The way you look at the world starts slowly changing. Especially the many worlds interpretation is a very interesting one. After reading it I have started thinking in that way unconciously.
Let me try to put it in as few words as possible:

The Cat paradox
Imagine a box that contains a radioactive source, a detector that records the presence of radioactive particles, a glass bottle containing a poison such as cyanide, and a live Cat. The detector is switched on for just long enough so that there is 50-50 chance that one of the atoms in the radioactive material will decay. If the detector does record such an event, then the glass bottle is crushed and the cat dies; if not, the cat lives.
We have no way of knowing the outcome of this experiment until we open the box to look inside.
The whole experiment is governed by the rule that the superposition of both the outcomes of this is real until we look at the experiment, and that only at that instant of observation does the decision happen and one of the outcomes is seen.

The Many worlds Interpretation
This theory says that both the outcomes of the experiment are equally real. The surprise is that according to this theory there is not one real cat but two. There is a live cat, and there is a dead cat; but they are located in different worlds.
Faced with the decision, the whole world - the universe - split into two versions of itself, identical in all respects except that in one version the atom decayed and the cat died, while in the other the atom did not decay and the cat lived.

It sounds like science fiction but it goes far deeper that any science fiction. It is a truth stranger than any fiction.


4 comments:

Krishna said...

The "Many worlds" interpretation is also used resolve another kind of paradox associated with time travel,called the "Grandfather Paradox".More about the paradox here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grandfather_paradox

Rajesh Babu said...

You should try David Deutsch's Fabric of Reality.

Anirudh said...

Hey, came across your blog from a comment you left on aparna's. If you like mordern physics, you have to read The Dancing Wu-Li Masters and The Elegant Universe. Absolutely great books, both of them!

Karthik said...

I have read The Dancing Wu-Li Masters but not the other two - The Elegant Universe and Fabric of Reality. Will definitely get hold of them. Thanks