Tag Archives: hugh everett

Dreams, Goals and Quantum Physics

Funny things those dreams. They say a dream without a goal isn’t worth anything, but I think I may have to disagree – to a certain extent at least. I’ve loved dreaming since ever I can remember. And most of the time, those dreams are just dreams. Dreams of impossible things, stories happening to other people. Or are they really impossible? And what does Quantum Physics have to do with this?

There was once this brilliant mathematician named Hugh Everett. He chose to try and work out some of the most puzzling things in Quantum Mechanics. He wanted to figure out the problem of measuring the state of a quantum particle which, until measured is in superposition of two states, but when a scientist decides to measure it, he always gets one of the positions. The most well-known example is Schroedinger’s cat: if we have a cat in a box, we don’t know whether it’s alive or dead until we open the box, and Schroedinger proposed that until we do so, the cat is BOTH alive and dead, but once the box is opened we can only see a dead cat OR a living cat. Everett proposed that at the point when we measure the state of a particle (or open the box with the cat) is where the universe (or rather its wave function, but never mind that) splits and we get two universes existing parallel. Similarly, whenever we have to pick one from a few options, every choice makes a parallel universe. What we get is an infinite number of worlds. And if there is an infinite number of them, then everything must happen at least once. So when you dream or think of something, somewhere sometime in the multiverse it exists. And how cool is that? Say, I dream that I am a witch and I just got my letter from Hogwarts, then somewhere sometime a version of me is probably getting her letter and setting off from Platform 9 and ¾ (why yes, I’m geeky – and proud).

However, while I find “tapping” into parallel worlds cool on its own, it probably doesn’t have any substantial benefit. But there is one other thing which I realised just a couple of days ago and which, to me, validates all the time I’ve spent dreaming. I was thinking about what I dreamed of when I was a kid. First of all, when I was a kid I dreamed that I would never have to grow up, which I guess just shows that I had a very nice childhood (thank you, Mum and Dad!). When I was about 12, I really liked history and I started dreaming of how cool it would be to become a scientist and find out why dinosaurs became extinct. Later on, my interest in dinosaurs faded, and I went through a phase of dreaming of becoming a designer. However, three days in an art school were enough to convince me that I didn’t really want to be an artist. All the while, however, I continued to enjoy studying science and, while my favourite subject changed, the dream of becoming a scientist remained. When the time came to decide what I want to study at university, without thinking too much, I knew that I wanted to be a scientist (no other possibilities worth considering even occurred to me) and I naturally went for the subjects I enjoyed at school the most. And the thing I realised the other day is that, hey, I AM studying biophysics (which combines all of my favourite subjects) to become a scientist! I’m even already doing research and stuff. How cool is that? The dream that I’ve had since I was 12 years old is actually coming true!

So, my point is that as long as you have some will and are ready to work a bit for something, you never know when one of your dreams will become a goal and with some effort even come true.

Still dreaming on, I am

Noodle.