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Freaky Physics Proves Parallel Universes Exist

  1. Apr 7, 2010 #1
    Please, experts, tell me that this isn't real, or that it's a misinterpretation of data:

    "...And it's all because of a tiny bit of metal -- a "paddle" about the width of a human hair, an item that is incredibly small but still something you can see with the naked eye.

    UC Santa Barbara's Andrew Cleland cooled that paddle in a refrigerator, dimmed the lights and, under a special bell jar, sucked out all the air to eliminate vibrations. He then plucked it like a tuning fork and noted that it moved and stood still at the same time..."

    Source: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/04/05/freaky-physics-proves-parallel-universes/?test=faces
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 7, 2010 #2

    FeDeX_LaTeX

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    How exactly did he observe both states?

    The article overall seems more philosophical rather than physics-orientated... but an interesting thought nonetheless?
     
  4. Apr 7, 2010 #3
    That's exactly what I want to know as well. And, was that observational method an accepted procedure.
     
  5. Apr 7, 2010 #4
    Well, if the research has merit, it is bound to be published in a scientific magazine. And if not, it's an article from Fox News that really doesn't tell us anything... and it's not verifiable.
     
  6. Apr 7, 2010 #5

    FeDeX_LaTeX

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    I don't understand... some guy got a piece of metal and 'strummed' it, and somehow observed the numerous multi-states in this vacuum of space, therefore time travel is possible and I'm eating a biscuit right now in a parallel universe?

    It just sounds like they're bringing out theories that have existed for a while now, backed up by someone who claims to have observed multi-states. Where's the new evidence in this article?
     
  7. Apr 7, 2010 #6
    Here's the paper: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v464/n7289/full/nature08967.html

    I don't have access to the full paper, so I'm not sure how it got journalistically elevated to a proposed status of proof of parallel universes.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  8. Apr 7, 2010 #7

    sophiecentaur

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    I suggest you read Ben Goldacre's book on Bad Science. He certainly has a few comments on what you can read about Science in the popular Press.
    If it seems 'Incredible' then it probably is.
     
  9. Apr 7, 2010 #8

    D H

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    Just bad journalism here.

    What Cleland did manage to show was that our universe truly is a quantum universe, that quantum effects sometimes rear ugly (or beautiful) head in our macroscopic world. Here are a couple other lay articles on this work:

    http://www.sciencenews.org/view/gen...ve_quantum_properties_in_the_world_of_objects
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=quantum-microphone

    No mention of parallel universes, let alone mentioning this work "proves" that they exist.


    What to make of the superposition of states that arise in quantum mechanics is an issue of interpretation. The Many-Worlds Interpretation (MWI) is but one of many ways of explaining quantum mechanical phenomena such as superposition. This work did not test the MWI against other competing interpretations. Moreover, even amongst physicists who ascribe to the MWI, there is, as far as I know, a lack of consensus as to whether than means parallel universes exist.
     
  10. Apr 7, 2010 #9

    f95toli

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    D H is correct. There is nothing wrong with the science (or the article in Nature), the work it is not even controversial (the results presented by Cleland et al are exactly what you would expect if from conventional QM).
    The problem here is the way it is being reported by Fox News.
    I am pretty sure Cleland is quite upset about how this work has been reported in mainstream media.
     
  11. Apr 7, 2010 #10

    SpectraCat

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    I think that all that happened was that Cleland made the mistake of trying to explain MWI to Fox News staff, and they bungled the communication. In the Nature paper, it doesn't seem that Cleland mentions MWI at all. Their result demonstrating the quantum nature of a macroscopic mechanical system is absolutely spectacular, but it doesn't prove MWI.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2017
  12. Apr 7, 2010 #11

    Cthugha

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    Parallel universes are not even mentioned in the article. What they did is the following: When you have two oscillators in resonance, they can exchange energy. Imagine for example an excited atom inside a cavity. If the cavity is on resonance with an optical transition of the atom, a photon will be spontaneously emitted rather fast into the empty cavity, bounce back and forth and will leave the cavity at some time. The total system shares one excitation and this system has two eigenstates:
    1) atom excited, cavity empty
    2) atom in ground state, cavity with one photon

    If you now increase the coupling rate between the cavity and the atom a different behavior emerges. The atom radiates the photon into the cavity, but the photon is now likely to be reabsorbed by the atom and reemitted and reabsorbed.......
    The energy is now continuously exchanged between the two systems and the states given above are NOT eigenstates of the strongly coupled system anymore. This manifests as an anticrossing behavior at the point where the dispersions of the two oscillators cross. The new eigenstates are now (oversimplified, if you want a stricter treatment google polaritons and Bogoliubov transformation):
    1) p*atom excited + q* cavity excited
    2) q*atom excited + p*cavity excited

    The new eigenstates are mixtures of the original states and describe the constant exchange of energy between oscillators. If you think that this is strange: the formalism of bonding and antibonding orbitals in molecules is not too different.

    This behavior has been long known. The new point of this paper is to use an mechanical oscillator and a qubit as oscillators and a single phonon as the excitation. So strong coupling is realized for a visible object.

    edit: 3 answers in between. I should type faster. ;)
     
  13. Apr 7, 2010 #12

    sophiecentaur

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    Spot on, there!
    "Humanities Graduates" strikes again.
     
  14. Apr 7, 2010 #13

    D H

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    I think its more nefarious than that. It looks to me like they misquoted Cleland; a physicist would use Many-Worlds Interpretation, not parallel universes. The Fox reporter spends more time quote-mining Sean Carroll, Fred Alan Wolf, and Ben Bova than on quote-mining Cleland.

    The wrong-headed interpretation of general relativity "And to age less than someone means you've jumped into the future -- you did not experience the same present. In a sense, he says, Krikalev time-traveled to the future -- and back again!" is just icing on the cake.

    The problem is with Fox News and their staff. They have on hand somebody who knows just enough about modern physics to be dangerous -- and knows how to present that knowledge in a titillating manner.
     
  15. Apr 7, 2010 #14

    Cthugha

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  16. Apr 7, 2010 #15
    << PF members reach from a parallel universe and "smite" Fox News >>
     
  17. Apr 7, 2010 #16
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2017
  18. Apr 7, 2010 #17
    I always thoughtt it was possible in the back of my mind but honestly WOW its stunning!
     
  19. Apr 7, 2010 #18

    Fredrik

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    I'd like to know how he "noted that it moved and stood still at the same time".

    Don't take that article too seriously Simone. It's just a news article, and they're almost never able to describe the science accurately. This has nothing to do with proving that parallel universes exist, or making time travel more plausible.
     
  20. Apr 7, 2010 #19

    DaveC426913

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    It's Fox News fer Pete's sake...
     
  21. Apr 7, 2010 #20

    nicksauce

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    It's silly enough to trust Fox News to report on usual news events... but quantum physics? Forget about it.
     
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