Tag: copenhagen interpretation

A Physicist’s Explanation of Why the Soul May Exist

By Tara Maclsaac
Excerpt from
 Henry Stapp is a theoretical physicist at the University of California's Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, specializing in the mathematical and logical foundations of quantum mechanics. - See more at: http://www.nourfoundation.com/speakers/henry-p-stapp-phd.html#sthash.ZJS7Zrm3.dpuf
Dr. Henry Stapp is a theoretical physicist at the University of California's Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, specializing in the mathematical and logical foundations of quantum mechanics. - See more at: http://www.nourfoundation.com/speakers/henry-p-stapp-phd.html#sthash.ZJS7Zrm3.dpuf

Henry P. Stapp is a theoretical physicist at the University of California–Berkeley who worked with some of the founding fathers of quantum mechanics. He does not seek to prove that the soul exists, but he does say that the existence of the soul fits within the laws of physics.

He does not seek to prove that the soul exists, but he does say that the existence of the soul fits within the laws of physics.

It is not true to say belief in the soul is unscientific, according to Stapp. Here the word “soul” refers to a personality independent of the brain or the rest of the human body that can survive beyond death.  In his paper, “Compatibility of Contemporary Physical Theory With Personality Survival,” he wrote: “Strong doubts about personality survival based solely on the belief that postmortem survival is incompatible with the laws of physics are unfounded.”
He works with the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics—more or less the interpretation used by some of the founders of quantum mechanics, Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg. Even Bohr and Heisenberg had some disagreements on how quantum mechanics works, and understandings of the theory since that time have also been diverse. Stapp’s paper on the Copenhagen interpretation has been influential. It was written in the 1970s and Heisenberg wrote an appendix for it. 

Stapp noted of his own concepts: “There has been no hint in my previous descriptions (or conception) of this orthodox quantum mechanics of any notion of personality survival.”

Why Quantum Theory Could Hint at Life After Death

Stapp explains that the founders of quantum theory required scientists to essentially cut the world into two parts. Above the cut, classical mathematics could describe the physical processes empirically experienced. Below the cut, quantum mathematics describes a realm “which does not entail complete physical determinism.”

Of this realm below the cut, Stapp wrote: “One generally finds that the evolved state of the system below the cut cannot be matched to any conceivable classical description of the properties visible to observers.”

So how do scientists observe the invisible? They choose particular properties of the quantum system and set up apparatus to view their effects on the physical processes “above the cut.”

The key is the experimenter’s choice. When working with the quantum system, the observer’s choice has been shown to physically impact what manifests and can be observed above the cut. 

Stapp cited Bohr’s analogy for this interaction between a scientist and his experiment results: “[It's like] a blind man with a cane: when the cane is held loosely, the boundary between the person and the external world is the divide between hand and cane; but when held tightly the cane becomes part of the probing self: the person feels that he himself extends to the tip of the cane.”

The physical and mental are connected in a dynamic way. In terms of the relationship between mind and brain, it seems the observer can hold in place a chosen brain activity that would otherwise be fleeting. This is a choice similar to the choice a scientist makes when deciding which properties of the quantum system to study. 

The quantum explanation of how the mind and brain can be separate or different, yet connected by the laws of physics “is a welcome revelation,” wrote Stapp. “It solves a problem that has plagued both science and philosophy for centuries—the imagined science-mandated need either to equate mind with brain, or to make the brain dynamically independent of the mind.”

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The World is Not Enough: A New Theory of Parallel Universes is Proposed

Excerpt from universetoday.com

by Tim Reyes

Do we exist in a space and time shared by many worlds? And are all these infinite worlds interacting? A new theory of everything is making the case.

Imagine if you were told that the world is simple and exactly as it seems, but that there is an infinite number of worlds just like ours.

They share the same space and time, and interact with each other.
These worlds behave as Newton first envisioned, except that the slightest interactions of the infinite number create nuances and deviations from the Newtonian mechanics. What could be deterministic is swayed by many worlds to become the unpredictable.

This is the new theory about parallel universes explained by Australian and American theorists in a paper published in the journal Physics Review X. Called  the “Many Interacting Worlds” theory (MIW), the paper explains that rather than standing apart, an infinite number of universes share the same space and time as ours.

They show that their theory can explain quantum mechanical effects while leaving open the choice of theory to explain the universe at large scales. This is a fascinating new variant of Multiverse Theory that, in a sense, creates not just a doppelganger of everyone but an infinite number of them all overlaying each other in the same space and time.

Rather than island universes as proposed by other theories, Many Interacting Worlds (MIW) proposes many all lying within one space and time. (Photo Credit: Public Domain)
Rather than island universes as proposed by other multiverse theories, Many Interacting Worlds (MIW) proposes many all lying within one space and time.

Cosmology is a study in which practitioners must transcend their five senses. Einstein referred to thought experiments, and Dr. Stephen Hawking — surviving and persevering despite having ALS — has spent decades wondering about the Universe and developing new theories, all within his mind.

The “Many Interacting Worlds” theory, presented by Michael Hall and Howard Wiseman from Griffith University in Australia, and Dirk-André Deckert from the University of California, Davis, differs from previous multiverse theories in that the worlds — as they refer to universes — coincide with each other, and are not just parallel. 

The theorists explain that while the interactions are subtle, the interaction of an infinite number of worlds can explain quantum phenomena such as barrier tunneling in solid state electronics, can be used to calculate quantum ground states, and, as they state, “at least qualitatively” reproduce the results of the double-slit experiment.

Schrödinger, in explaining his wave function and the interaction of two particles (EPR paradox) coined the term “entanglement”. In effect, the MIW theory is an entanglement of an infinite number of worlds but not in terms of a wave function. The theorists state that they were compelled to develop MIW theory to eliminate the need for a wave function to explain the Universe. It is quite likely that Einstein would have seen MIW as very appealing considering his unwillingness to accept the principles laid down by the Copenhagen interpretation of Quantum Theory.

While MIW theory can reproduce some of the most distinctive quantum phenomena, the theorists emphasize that MIW is in an early phase of development. They state that the theory is not yet as mature as long-standing unification theories. In their paper, they use Newtonian physics to keep their proofs simple. Presenting this new “many worlds” theory indicates they had achieved a level of confidence in its integrity such that other theorists can use it as a starter kit – peer review but also expand upon it to explain more worldly phenomena.

Two of the perpetrators of the century long problem of unifying General Relativity Theory and Quantum Physics, A. Einstein, E. Schroedinger.
Two of the perpetrators of the century-long problem of unifying General Relativity Theory and Quantum Physics – Albert Einstein, Erwin Schroedinger.

The theorists continue by expounding that MIW could lead to new predictions. If correct, then new predictions would challenge experimentalists and observers to recreate or search for the effects.
Such was the case for Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity. For example, the bending of the path of light by gravity and astronomer Eddington’s observing starlight bending around Sun during a total Solar Eclipse. Such new predictions and confirmation would begin to stand MIW theory apart from the many other theories of everything.

Multiverse theories have gained notoriety in recent years through the books and media presentations of Dr. Michio Kaku of the City College of New York and Dr. Brian Greene of Columbia University, New York City. Dr. Green presented a series of episodes delving into the nature of the Universe on PBS called “The Fabric of the Universe” and “The Elegant Universe”. The presentations were based on his books such as “The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos.”

Hugh Everett’s reinterpretation of Dr. Richard Feynman’s cosmological theory, that the world is a weighted sum of alternative histories, states that when particles interact, reality bifurcates into a set of parallel streams, each being a different possible outcome. In contrast to Feynmann’s theory and Everett’s interpretation, the parallel worlds of MIW do not bifurcate but simply exist in the same space and time.  MIW’s parallel worlds are not a consequence of “quantum behavior” but are rather the drivers of it.

Professor Howard Wiseman, Director of Griffith University's Centre for Quantum Dynamics and coauthor of the paper on the "Many Interacting World" theory. (Photo Credit: Griffith University)
Professor Howard Wiseman, Director of Griffith University’s Centre for Quantum Dynamics and coauthor of the paper on the “Many Interacting World” theory. (Photo Credit: Griffith University)

Hall states in the paper that simple Newtonian Physics can explain how all these worlds evolve. This, they explain, can be used effectively as a first approximation in testing and expanding on their theory, MIW. Certainly, Einstein’s Special and General Theories of Relativity completes the Newtonian equations and are not dismissed by MIW. However, the paper begins with the simpler model using Newtonian physics and even explains that some fundamental behavior of quantum mechanics unfolds from a universe comprised of just two interacting worlds.

So what is next for the Many Interacting Worlds theory? Time will tell. Theorists and experimentalists shall begin to evaluate its assertions and its solutions to explain known behavior in our Universe. With new predictions, the new challenger to Unified Field Theory (the theory of everything) will be harder to ignore or file away with the wide array of theories of the last 100 years. Einstein’s theories began to reveal that our world exudes behavior that defies our sensibility but he could not accept the assertions of Quantum Theory. Einstein’s retort to Bohr was “God does not throw dice.” The MIW theory of Hall, Deckert, and Wiseman might be what Einstein was seeking until the end of his life. In titling this review of their theory as “The World is not Enough,” I would also add that their many interacting worlds is like a martini shaken but not stirred.
References: Quantum Phenomena Modeled by Interactions between Many Classical Worlds

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by: The Resonance ProjectA French team of scientists, led by Physicists Yves Couder and Emmanuel Fort, investigated alternative possibilities in the wave-particle duality interpretation of the double slit experiment by observing bouncing droplets in a vibrating oil bath.  The remarkable results have caught the attention of the public eye as this approach may resolve some of the weirdest behaviors of particles at the quantum scale. Couder and Fort demonstrate in a simple experiment that flui [...]

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