"Freaky Physics Proves Parallel Universes Exist"

Discussion in 'Physics & Math' started by jmpet, Apr 10, 2010.

  1. jmpet Valued Senior Member

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    Freaky Physics Proves Parallel Universes Exist
    "Look past the details of a wonky discovery by a group of California scientists -- that a quantum state is now observable with the human eye -- and consider its implications: Time travel may be feasible. Doc Brown would be proud.

    "The strange discovery by quantum physicists at the University of California Santa Barbara means that an object you can see in front of you may exist simultaneously in a parallel universe

    -- a multi-state condition that has scientists theorizing that traveling through time may be much more than just the plaything of science fiction writers.

    "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.

    "That sounds contradictory, and it's nearly impossible to understand if your last name isn't Einstein. But it actually happened. It's a freaky fact that's at the heart of quantum mechanics.....

    http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/04/05/freaky-physics-proves-parallel-universes/
     
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  3. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    From the same article:

    So, the title of the article is belied by its contents.

    In fact, the article is so poorly written I can't tell what these people at the University of California actually did from the article.

    Chances are the reporter didn't understand what they did, but that wouldn't stop a good reporter for Fox News writing up (read "making up") a story, would it?
     
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  5. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    I subscribe to a weekly publication called Science News. The 10 April edition has a brief article relating to the subject of this Thread.

    The Science News article is not as sensational as that described in this thread & in the article referred to by a link in the initial post.

    I think some old style National Inquirer mentality is responsible for the claims in this Thread.

    BTW: I miss the old National Inquirer. In super market checkout lines I could read marvelous headlines.
    • Skeletons of Adam & Eve found in Colorado.
    • Loch Ness monster captured.
    • A later edition: Loch Ness monster sold to Donald Trump
    • A tribe of Neanderthals found in Ural mountains
    • NASA takes photos of ET base on dark side of the moon.
    In recent years, the National Inquirer seem to specialize in celebrity news. I guess they lost their good investigative reporters.
     
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  7. jmpet Valued Senior Member

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    If we can get a better source for this information, that'd be great-
     
  8. D H Some other guy Valued Senior Member

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    Just bad journalism here, so bad that this article has been dubbed "The Worst Physics Article Ever."

    What Andrew Cleland (well, not really Cleland; it was his grad student Aaron O'Connell) did manage to show was that our universe truly is a quantum universe, that quantum effects sometimes appear even in our macroscopic world. The press release from UCSB on this work:

    http://www.ia.ucsb.edu/pa/display.aspx?pkey=2200

    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

    Here is the article in Nature (pay wall):

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v464/n7289/full/nature08967.html

    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 this means parallel universes exist.

    It looks to me like the Fox News reporter misquoted Cleland; a physicist would use the term 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.
     
  9. BenTheMan Dr. of Physics, Prof. of Love Valued Senior Member

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  10. D H Some other guy Valued Senior Member

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    The biggest problem with deciding which article wins the "Worst Physics Article Ever" prize is that there are so many worthy contenders.
     
  11. AlphaNumeric Fully ionized Moderator

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    Two of my pet hates (its a pretty lengthy list!) are idiotic journalism about science and idiotic assumptions made about science (the former often doing the latter). The fact is the universe is really really complicated. Horrifically complicated. Mind blowingly, pants wettingly complicated. In the same way that space is big, really big. Most people never manage to understand stuff they learnt in high school (or rather, should have learnt), even fewer people manage to understand stuff at university, even less do postgrad, even less do postdoc and then a tiny tiny tiny handful manage to become experts in a tiny tiny tiny corner of science and even they are about as ignorant as everyone else of the rest of science but at least they have an insight into its methodology and processes. And yet so many people as soon as they are out of the doors of whatever educational establishment they last attend they assume they are experts on everything and if they can't immediately grasp a concept upon someone mentioning it to them then the concept is wrong or flawed. They go from "I hate maths/science, its hard" to "These physicists are so stupid....". You never hear people proudly saying "I can't read!" yet plenty of people will say "I can't do maths!". The ironically named '3 Rs' here in the UK are reading, writing and arithmetic and people are ashamed if they can't do the first two but are proud if they can't do the third. And then journalists, who are often as stupid/ignorant as they come when science is involved, will twist the work of actual scientists to both make it (or attempt to) understandable to the layperson in the 5 inchs of newspaper they have and will also exaggerate or sensationalise the work to sell more papers. And that's why we're got the teeth grittingly stupid label 'The God Particle' for the Higgs boson. It annoys me no end that someone in my physics department thought it a good idea to pin up a 2 page spread article in some newspaper on the Higgs boson in the stairs leading up to the theory group. Its got in big letters "Physicists Search For The God Particle" as its title.

    I know its important for the general public to be as informed as possible about science, I wish the level of general science knowledge was higher, but it shouldn't be done by essentially making shit up or twisting valid work to pander to sensationalism. You don't need to call particles "The God Particle" to be impressed by CERN. It's 40 kms of superconductors 100m under the ground at -271C propelling things at 99.999% the speed of light and has enough computing power to make the NSA jealous. Its science fiction come to life, you don't need to lie about it! I read physics all day long and if you can't be impressed by the specifications of the LHC then you're either dead or you didn't read them properly.

    /breathes deeply in and out of a paper bag
     

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