Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A new theory of everything?

Ever since we humans came up with the idea of quantum mechanics, we've had trouble conceptualizing it in a way that made any sense. An especially difficult aspect of quantum theory is superposition: the idea that a particle can be in more than one state at a time. The Invariant Set Postulate, suggested by Tim Palmer, says the problem isn't that the particle can actually be in two states at once, any more than Schrodinger's cat can be both dead and alive: the problem is that we don't have the right framework to perceive what state it's in. However, everything does fall into reality and nonreality, according to his postulate, with the former (the "Invariant Set," since everything in it has, and always has been, real) a subset of all possible realities.
COMMENT: It's not clear yet whether this is a law or even a testable theory, since Palmer doesn't suggest any experimental way to verify whether there are or are not states of reality outside the invariant one we can perceive. (I think I got that right.) But, according to this article, the idea may still nudge us closer to the Holy Grail of science, a unified theory of physics. To me, it's just fascinating that human brains can come up with this stuff.

THANKS TO Dr. Jennifer Stapleton-Kotloski for sending this item.

No comments: