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Quantum Suicide


esmith

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In the strange discipline that is quantum physics there are many facets that are equal parts fascinating and confusing. One of these is Max Tegmark's thought experiment known as quantum suicide. In his thought experiment (which could only occur in his mind, as there is no way to test this theory in the real world), a man sits in a room with a gun. The trigger is linked to monitor the spin of a quantum particle. When the man pulls the trigger and the particle is detected to be spinning clockwise, the gun will go off and kill him. If the particle is spinning the other way, the gun will not fire and he will live. So what happens when he pulls the trigger? The gun clicks and he lives. What happens if he pulls the trigger again? He still lives. This process will continue in perpetuity, thus making the man immortal. In reality, the man is both alive and dead at the same time. This is because every time the man pulls the trigger, the universe splits in two. In one universe the man dies and in one he is still alive. The man is not aware of this split, so he does not know he is both dead and alive. This theory is known as the Many-Worlds Theory. This theory postulates that with every decision made the universe splits into two alternate realities. This allows the man to exist in a state of quantum immortality, as he is unaware that his counterparts in the parallel universes have died. This theory has gained more traction in recent years and holds very serious implications. For example, there could exist a parallel universe where the Nazis were victorious in World War II, or a universe in which I actually get my calculus homework done. The implications for both science-fiction nerds and scientists are quite far-reaching, but nature of quantum particles and their mechanics are still murky. This field has made great strides in recent years, but there is still so much that is unknown, which makes it difficult to say anything definitively. However, the Many-Worlds Theory and Tegmark's quantum suicide experiment are interesting things to think about.

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