The Many-Worlds Interpretation
In 1957 Hugh Everett surprised his more conventional
colleagues by proposing that the Schrödinger Wave Equation as a whole is an accurate description of reality.
This interpretation of quantum mechanics starts from the
assumption that scientific theories ought to be self-interpreting. The
Schrödinger wave equation in quantum mechanics is smooth, continuous and
deterministic. There is nothing in it that corresponds to the collapse of the
wave function, so in Everetts interpretation the collapse of the wave function
does not occur.
Instead, whenever there is a choice of experimental outcome,
all the possibilities are realised. Somewhere Schrödingers cat will be really
dead and somewhere it will be really alive (see the related topic:
Schrödingers Cat and the meaning of quantum theory). With each decision at the
quantum level the universe splits into a number of isolated domains, each
corresponding to a different outcome. In one universe the cat dies, in another
Most physicists find this extremely unattractive. One of the
most venerable assumptions of the scientific method is Ockhams razor -
entities are not to be multiplied beyond necessity. In practice this leads to a
very strong aesthetic bias in favour of the simplest possible explanation.
Only quantum cosmologists beg to differ. They attempt to apply
quantum mechanics to the entire universe. Clearly this leaves no room for a
separate classical measuring apparatus. In this context, a many-universes
approach such as was described above
may seem an attractive non-theistic alternative to the notion of a
transcendent world observer. But one wonders which option requires the larger
act of faith!
link | Feedback | Contributed by: Dr.
Source: God, Humanity and the
Cosmos (T&T Clark, 1999)