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Posts tagged ‘Wigner’s friend’

Physics Experiment Challenges Objective Reality

I’m fascinated by news this past month of exciting results from a quantum physics experiment that according to the MIT Technology Review appears to provide evidence that two people can observe the exact same event, see two different things happen, and both be correct.

Observers Witness the Same Event Differently

Physicists at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh succeeded in bringing a classic Gedankenexperiment (thought experiment) out of the realm of pure conjecture and into the real, physical world of a physics laboratory.  The thought experiment requires two people to observe one single photon–which is a quantum, or indivisible, unit of light.  Quantum particles can behave as either particles, or as waves, settling into one state or the other (particle or wave) at the precise moment it is observed.  All the rest of the time when the particle is not being observed by someone, it exists in a ‘superposition of states’ in which it can be considered to be simultaneously both ‘particle’ and ‘wave.’  When a second person is unaware of the first person’s observational measurement, this thought experiment proposes that the second person who is unaware of the first person’s measurement might be able to to confirm that the photon still exists in a quantum superposition (undecided) state.

Scientists including Caslav Brukner at University of Vienna in Austria and Massimiliano Proietti at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh took this experimental concept and created an experimental apparatus involving lasers, beam splitters, and six photons to be measured by various equipment representing the role of the two observers.  Preliminary results appear to provide real evidence that within quantum physics, our assumption of shared objective reality may be inaccurate.

How Nature Operates

Welcome to the new Quantum Age, featuring quantum logic!  With this new physics experiment supporting the idea that two people can observe the same event, see two different things happen, and both be correct, we are catching glimpses of the way Nature operates.  In Nature, we witness such things as:  instantaneous species mutation to the most advantageous possible adaptation, and plants routinely performing photosynthesis at more than 90% efficiency.  Lactose-intolerant organisms have been observed to adapt to a new lactose-based food source when it was the only one available, by making an evolutionary leap in one generation.  All photosynthesizing plants are performing miraculously efficient feats of storing energy from incoming photons, far beyond any human photovoltaic technologies.

When viewing the way so many natural systems seem able to ‘jump to the best reality,’ I can’t help feeling that we’re witnessing nothing less than some kind of deeper, hidden underlying awareness at work–far beyond what materialists might claim to be in charge.  Philosophers who share my sense that we are witnessing some kind of optimalism at work include Nicholas Rescher, author of a book on this topic called Axiogenesis.  I enjoy taking conscious part in this evolution by consistently asking, “How good can it get?”

The Second Quantum Revolution

I predict that we are now at the dawn of witnessing so-called ‘quantum phenomena’ moving out of the so-called ‘quantum realm’ ever increasingly in view in our everyday macroscopic lives.

When I gave a talk for Marin Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) this past month before having seen news of this experiment, I mentioned the famous EPR paper, as well as Wigner’s Friend, Quantum Zeno Effect and EPR steering–but where all of this gains traction and significance is in the context that we are now officially entering the “second quantum revolution” in which macro-scale quantum technology is being created now.  This new quantum technological race will feature engineering devices bringing ‘quantum scale’ phenomena into the macroscopic realm for applications in computing, communication, encryption and more. Macroscopic quantum systems have been developed recently in laboratories around the world, and with such fierce competition, we’ll soon be seeing astonishing breakthroughs, such as entangled diamonds.

Mandela Effect, Reality Shifts, and No Objective Reality

Physicists involved with this recent experiment, Massimiliano Proietti and his colleagues, state that, “The scientific method relies on facts, established through repeated measurements and agreed upon universally, independently of who observed them.”  Yet we are now glimpsing some of the first clear evidence that such assumptions can be proven false.  We are starting to see that the physicist Eugene Wigner’s idea that two scientists might have two different experiences while witnessing the same event appears to be proving to be true.

News of these experimental results is validating for the work I’ve been doing these past 20 years… and very exciting in terms of the implications for how humans can truly address all seemingly ‘impossible’ problems and situations–of every size, shape, and variety!  After 20 years of waiting for such an announcement, I’m pleased to see these experimental results that provide validation that we can expect to sometimes witness alternate histories from what others observe.  When we recognize that such subjective observation of ‘facts’ is constantly taking place, and that this can help provide a foundation by which we can better understand what is going on with the Mandela Effect and reality shifts, we can gain renewed confidence that humanity can address all seemingly ‘impossible’ problems and situations.

Welcome to the Quantum Age!

 

I invite you to watch the companion video to this blog post at:

 

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QuantumJumps300x150adCynthia Sue Larson is the best-selling author of six books, including Quantum Jumps. Cynthia has a degree in Physics from UC Berkeley, and discusses consciousness and quantum physics on numerous shows including the History Channel, Gaia TV, Coast to Coast AM, the BBC and One World with Deepak Chopra and on the Living the Quantum Dream show she hosts. You can subscribe to Cynthia’s free monthly ezine at: http://www.RealityShifters.com
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Physics Experiments Predict Observers Witness Different Histories

According to a new theoretical experiment, quantum physics indicates that observers witness different histories.  Taking this concept to its logical conclusion, this suggests that you and I and others may not necessarily recognize the same historical events–and the very suggestion of such a possibility is sending shock waves through scientific communities who take as a core assumption that there must logically be only one set of true historical facts.

You may have heard that quantum physics has gained a reputation for including such things as, “spooky action at a distance,” and that it somehow involves a cat inside of a box that may or may not be dead–but quantum physics is looking even weirder still, thanks to contributions by theoretical physicists Matthew Leifer and Robert Spekkens, whose work I’ve been following with great interest, and citing in my published papers, such as Primacy of Quantum Logic in the Natural World.

At the heart of these new observations is the idea that different observers can witness different realities, such that contradictory pictures of reality are observed.  This is described in a recent article written by Davide Castelvecchi, Reimagining of Schrodinger’s Cat Breaks Quantum Mechanics–and Stumps Physicists.

The headline here is perhaps a bit overly dramatic, as for all practical purposes, quantum mechanics can still be relied upon to deliver consistent results when it comes to it’s predictive abilities that we’ve relied upon for nuclear reactors, and that we are beginning to harness for up-and-coming new quantum computers.  What has broken has less to do with the actual physical world breaking as our biased perspective of there being “one and only one historical past.”

The Observer’s Role in Determining a Cat’s Fate

The original thought experiment designed by Erwin Schrodinger involved placing a cat in a presumedly ludicrous situation where it’s fate rests entirely in the hands of a quantum random event, such as a vial of poison gas inside the cat’s small room possibly being broken open when the randomizing trigger for the poison vial is activated at a time of decay of a radioactive isotope.  What Schrodinger originally found to be an outrageous notion was that, if we were to take quantum physics seriously, the cat inside the box with the poison vial could actually be considered to be BOTH alive AND dead–in a superposition of states–up until the moment when an Observer opened the box to check on the cat.  At the moment of such observation, the cat was considered to now actually be either alive or dead, and no longer in the seemingly preposterous state of alive-and-dead.

Introducing a Second Observer

In a small refinement of Erwin Schrodinger’s original thought experiment (where no physical cats were actually harmed), Eugene Wigner proposed that we contemplate what would happen when we add to our experimental design of the Observer and the Cat in the box a friend of the original observer.  We now have a Cat, an Observer, and a Friend–all waiting to see whether the cat in Schrodinger’s box is either alive or dead.  And as long as the Observer does not look, we can say the cat can be considered to be in a superposition of states–both alive-and-dead.  Once the Observer checks to see what the cat’s state actually is, we used to say that we now knew what the outcome is.  Yet, another way of viewing this more complex system of observation is that we don’t really have a final answer until the Observer’s Friend becomes aware of the result.

Complex Systems Can Experience Different Pasts

Daniela Frauchiger and Renato Renner of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich shows that “if the standard interpretation of quantum mechanics is correct, then different experimenters can reach opposite conclusions about what the physicist in the box has measured.”

What’s new with this thought experiment is the creation of a more sophisticated conceptualization of multiple observers, such that there can now be two Wigner Friends, “Alice” and “Bob,” who are each conducting their own separate observations of a physicist Observer who they keep in a box.

What’s interesting about this experimental design is that now when the two Friends open their boxes, they will sometimes make observations that are inconsistent with one another.

While we do not yet have quantum computers available that can prove or disprove the hypothesis that we can expect to see differences in observations in more complex systems of observers, we are moving steadily toward a time when such quantum computers will be able to provide us with a definitive answer on what now appears to be proof of a lack of a singular factual history.

Mandela Effects, Reality Shifts, and Quantum Jumps

There has been a great deal of discussion about this new take on the classic Schrodinger’s cat experiment in physics circles, with some of the world’s top physicists, such as Stephen Hawking, long ago having already suggested that we may expect to see, for example, physical evidence of there having been many original “big bangs” at the time of the creation of our universe.  Hawking co-authored a paper on this topic with Thomas Hertog in 2006, Populating the landscape:  A top-down approach.

I suggest this discussion about observers witnessing different possible past ‘truths’ and ‘facts’ should be very much part of conversation amongst those of us who are noticing such things as Mandela Effects, reality shifts, and quantum jumps.  When we recognize that there is scientific precedent for such phenomena, we can hopefully glean insights about the true mysterious workings of Nature, while appreciating our good fortune in sometimes getting to see evidence of such things ourselves.

You can watch the companion video to this blog post at:

 

___________________________

QuantumJumps300x150adCynthia Sue Larson is the best-selling author of six books, including Quantum Jumps. Cynthia has a degree in Physics from UC Berkeley, and discusses consciousness and quantum physics on numerous shows including the History Channel, Gaia TV, Coast to Coast AM, the BBC and One World with Deepak Chopra and on the Living the Quantum Dream show she hosts. You can subscribe to Cynthia’s free monthly ezine at: http://www.RealityShifters.com
RealityShifters®

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