Skip to main content

The concept behind parallel universes is one that has been present in this world for a very long time and will not be dying out anytime soon. Lots of different physicists have weighed in on this topic in many different ways, and lots seem to believe the theory to be true.

Actually, one of those physicists was and is Sean Carroll, who made some interesting comments on the Joe Rogan Experience/podcast just last year. Carroll basically says that because tiny particles like electrons and photos don’t necessarily have a set location in the universe as a whole, it could be seen as proof of the existence of many parallel universes.

When speaking to News.Com.Au Carroll actually said as follows with regard to all of this:

“What we have empirically are probabilities. You cannot predict what will happen next. But you can predict probability.”

“Physics is stuck trying to understand the fundamentals of nature and the Big Bang.”

“It’s time to take a step back and understand its foundations. It’s time to tackle our understanding of the quantum world.”

“We see our world, and we have an idea of what’s going on,”

“We demand our theories of physics respect that. But that’s really not the right way to think. It’s the other way around.”

Carroll even goes so far as to break this kind of thing down in ‘Something Deeply Hidden.’ This being a book he wrote that seemingly explains the many-worlds theory and breaks down why we get the world we do and other things of the sort. Sure, the whole concept is quite back and forth but the more we understand it the more progress we can make to uncovering its truth if there is one.

Nature wrote as follows about Carroll’s book and his views:

Carroll argues that the many-worlds theory is the most straightforward approach to understanding quantum mechanics. It accepts the reality of the wave function. In fact, it says that there is one wave function, and only one, for the entire Universe. Further, it states that when an event happens in our world, the other possibilities contained in the wave function do not go away. Instead, new worlds are created, in which each possibility is a reality. The theory’s sheer simplicity and logic within the conceptual framework of quantum mechanics inspire Carroll to call it the “courageous” approach. Don’t worry about those extra worlds, he asserts — we can’t see them, and if the many-worlds theory is true, we won’t notice the difference. The many other worlds are parallel to our own, but so hidden from it that they “might as well be populated by ghosts”.

For physicists, the theory is attractive because it explains many puzzles of quantum mechanics. With Erwin Schrödinger’s thought experiment concerning a dead-and-alive cat, for instance, the cats simply branch into different worlds, leaving just one cat-in-a-box per world. Carroll also shows that the theory offers simpler explanations of certain complex phenomena, such as why black holes emit radiation. Furthermore, the theory might help to develop still-speculative ideas about conundrums such as how to combine quantum mechanics with relativity theory.

Something Deeply Hidden is aimed at non-scientists, with a sidelong glance at physicists still quarreling over the meaning of quantum mechanics. Carroll brings the reader up to speed on the development of quantum physics from Max Planck to the present and explains why it is so difficult to interpret, before expounding the many-worlds theory. Dead center in the book is a “Socratic dialogue” about the theory’s implications. This interlude, between a philosophically sensitive physicist and a scientifically alert philosopher, is designed to sweep away intuitive reservations that non-scientists might have.

Nevertheless, non-scientists might have lingering problems with Carroll’s breezy, largely unexamined ideas about “reality”. Like many physicists, he assumes that reality is whatever a scientific theory says it is. But what gives physicists a lock on this concept, and the right to say that the rest of us (not to mention, say, those in extreme situations such as refugees, soldiers and people who are terminally ill) are living through a less fundamental reality? Could it be that we have to follow Heisenberg’s lead? That is, must we rely on tools for talking about the complexities of reality that philosophers have developed over millennia to explain why the fox has such a tough time reaching those grapes?

To hear Carroll speak on this topic, please check out the video below. I, for one, am very much behind this theory and would like to in the future better understand the other universes that are out there. How do you feel about all of this?