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Quantum Universe everything that can happen does happen

  1. Nov 12, 2013 #1
    Quantum Universe "everything that can happen does happen"

    I read this book last week.In me it arises strange question.I understand the principle that if something can happen does happen.But even after reading a speacial chapter about this problem I could not understand what does it difine the non-zero probability for something to happen.How could we know wich is possible and wich is impossible.
    For instance does this statement mean that, imaganation is fact,master Yoda is its product,we are fact,TV is fact,universe is fact,so may be in some other universe we have a Master Yoda as real being and he watch science fiction on the TV where we are products of his imagination and all this is possible?
    Actually the main question is what does it difine the criterion for non-zero probability that differs the possible from impossible?
    Thank you
     
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  3. Nov 12, 2013 #2

    ZapperZ

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    First of all, have you seen a broken vase assemble back to its original self when you throw the broken pieces onto the ground? No?

    Guess what? Statistical physics says that the probability of that happening is not zero! It is possible for that to occur. Yet, has anyone observed it?

    You can't simply say that it can happen and throw out rationality and what is realistic. If the probably of something to occur takes a time period that is longer than the age of the universe, then to what extent do you based your life and the reality of your life around the possibility for it to occur? Doing that makes very little sense.

    It is why science has both the qualitative and quantitative aspect of it. One simply can't say that something has a non-zero probability for it to occur. One must ALSO say what the value of the probability is! And to be able to comprehend that (i.e. to put things in perspective), one needs to understand the scale of things.

    Zz.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2013
  4. Nov 12, 2013 #3

    phinds

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    No, you misunderstand the meaning of the word "can". Things that are physically impossible are not part of what can happen and you can surely imaging some things that are physically impossible.
     
  5. Nov 12, 2013 #4

    bhobba

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    Only in some interpretations, known as many worlds, can everything that can happen does happen.

    Its highly speculative and far from certain - but its a viable theory.

    It does not mean though anything you can imagine has happened - only what is possible and allowed by the laws of physics. But it is also possible there are universes different from ours where the laws of physics are different - exactly what such may allow is far from certain.

    Thanks
    Bill
     
  6. Nov 12, 2013 #5
    First of all into the book nobody speaks about time extent.Claims are that even there is not time extent.That's why the subtittle is Everything that can happen DOES ( already does ,instead WILL) happen.So the qustion really was what does it difine the REAL probability for something to BE ABLE to (CAN ) happen instead to be impossible.Who does make that prediction or what is the real starting point showing that the possibility really occurs.
    And thank you phinds and bhobba.But still is unclear so if my imagination is part of the laws of the physics is it really possible to imagine something impossible.May be if it was so,just the same the laws that have created it would not permitt me.The qustion is is there some solid empirical reason why something is possible and something is not.Because the book is written by prof. Cox and prof. Forshaw and I dont belive that they will write unsubstantiated staff.
     
  7. Nov 12, 2013 #6
    As I understand till now if something is statisticly possible,so it has really non-zero probability.
    So statistic is the answer ?
     
  8. Nov 12, 2013 #7

    jtbell

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    Which book?
     
  9. Nov 12, 2013 #8
    Quantum Universe Everything taht can happen does happen
     
  10. Nov 12, 2013 #9

    ZapperZ

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    The problem with these types of books is that, very often, what they meant and what they intended to convey are often lost, or mistranslated, or misinterpreted by the general public. It is one thing to try and convey the "weird" or "unusual" aspect of a physics theory. It is another to comprehend how LIKELY it is to occur.

    You may not think that the "time" concept is involved here, but it is IMPLICIT on any kind of probability or statistics. For example, the probability of you getting a "tail" when you toss a coin is 1/2. But that also means that as you continued to toss the coin over and over and over and over again.... OVER TIME... you'll get half of your toss being "tail", and the other half of your toss being "head". So there is an implicit expect of time built in as you repeat the identical process.

    So does it apply here? If something has the probability of happening that is 0.00000000000000001, then if I have the same system and I keep doing the same thing over and over again, it will take a lot of time before it actually occurs! They may not have described this in the book, because for many of us who had done statistics, this is almost an "obvious" point, so maybe to them, it never even occurred to include such an explanation. But this is why it is also so hard to write that type of a book, because there are many people who are not equipped with the things that those of us think to be too obvious to explain.

    But beyond this, you need to simply sit down and look around you. How many times, or how often, do these exotic things they describe in the book appear in front of you? Think about this. I can argue that electron tunneling phenomenon occurs very frequently, because you use the solid-state transistors in your modern electronics, and your electronics work! But the fact that you don't see a bowling appearing all of the sudden in front of you (again, non-zero probability) out of nowhere implies that there's a huge restriction for many of these non-zero probability events to occur, and many of these things haven't been verified to be possible experimentally either!

    At some point, the reality that you see clearly in front of you is a very good measuring stick.

    Zz.
     
  11. Nov 12, 2013 #10

    phinds

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    I mean, really ... you cannot imagine anything that is impossible? Well, try imagining this. A human being walks on the "surface" of the sun and survives. There is no trickery about localized phenomena or protective shielding. I mean YOU right now as the sun exists, walk on the "surface" of the sun and survive. Do you really think that is possible?
     
  12. Nov 12, 2013 #11
    Thank you for applaying your answer.Even I'm not a entirely agree with you I highly appreciate your opinion and with many of things you meantioned I agree.
    Finally may be we get there : ''When There's No Reason Something's Impossible, It Ends Up Being Possible'' Stephen Wolfram
     
  13. Nov 12, 2013 #12

    ZapperZ

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    Just so you know, physics is not based on a series of quotes. So you should not just rely on these phrases as if they are word of god. Understand the physics, not how they are being sold.

    Einstein, Wolfram, and many other prominent physicists have been shown to be wrong in many of their ideas.

    Zz.
     
  14. Nov 12, 2013 #13

    DrChinese

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    Even if "everything that can happen does happen", that in no way implies that *all* things happen by a long shot. I would surprised to see a duplicate of my dog Ginger emerge from the head of a pin. There are rules.

    So while some would have you believe there are multiple copies of yourself (somewhere), there is no particular reason to imagine that some of them are president/prime minister or whatever. Or that in some world, I was one of the Beatles. :smile:
     
  15. Nov 16, 2013 #14
    Then there is Murphy's law which covers all of the *bad* things that can happen. :wink:
     
  16. Nov 16, 2013 #15
    Does infinite necessarily mean all?

    What is the current thinking about infinite collections...?

    If you have an infinite collection of something, does that mean that every one of the somethings is in that collection? Or can you have an infinite collection and still not have all of them in the collection?

    Can you have more than one infinite collection of the same thing? Or an infinite number of infinite collections of the same thing? Or if you have one infinite collection, can there be any of the same collectables outside your collection?

    If Hilbert's hotel has an infinite number of rooms, and each room is occupied by a person, is it really possible for a person without a room to show up looking for lodging? If an infinite number of people are in the hotel, are there any people that aren't already in the hotel, wouldn't they already have a room?
     
  17. Nov 16, 2013 #16

    Nugatory

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    The literal English-language meaning of the word "infinite" is much closer to "without upper bound" than "all".
    There are infinite sets of natural numbers that do not include all natural numbers; the set of even natural numbers is one such. Conversely the set of all natural numbers is infinite and there are no natural numbers that are not members of that set; but that's not because it's an infinite set, it's because it's defined in such a way that (trivially) no natural number can be excluded. But.....

    Questions like this are the reason why mathematicians demand precise symbolic definitions, build on axiomatic frameworks, and are constantly striving to formalize the "self-evident" logic that generates theorems from these axioms and definitions.

    We who just use math as a tool tend to skip all that boring rigor because we're mostly interested in the end product, so welcome [STRIKE]fudging[/STRIKE] labor-saving shortcuts. That's all very well, except when a shortcut leaves us lost and stumbling around in a swamp (which happens with some frequency when infinities are involved). Then it's time to go back and anchor ourselves to the formalism again.
     
  18. Nov 16, 2013 #17

    phinds

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    Hilbert's Hotel is a mathematical construct. The new folks come over from a different set.

    You can have as many infinite sets as you like. In fact, you can have an infinite number of them.

    As for the real-world universe, yes, "infinite" mean "everything there is" (but of course we don't know if the real-world universe is infinite or not)
     
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