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Complications of Reality: Quantum Suicide

April 3, 2018

Quantum Suicide is an intriguing branch of the phenomenally complex part of science that is the quantum theory.

 

Quantum suicide works as a thought experiment that no one can truly test and prove to anyone other than themselves and the universe as a whole. The basis of this thought experiment is best explained through example similar Schrödinger’s thought experiment featuring a cat. What Tegmark devised is as follows. You are in a room or box with a device that if detonated will most certainly kill you. The device will measure the spin of a quark or a proton or whether or not a photon is viewed as a wave or a particle every few seconds. Based off of that, the device will detonate. For example, if the particle is measured as spinning clockwise or as a wave, the device will detonate. If, however, the particle is measured as spinning counter-clockwise or, in the case of the photon, as a particle; the device will not detonate. This means that now, you sit listening to the silence as every few seconds you wonder whether you will die or not. Provided that the many worlds interpretation is correct, each time the device takes its measurement, the universe splits. In one universe, the device detonates and you die whereas in the other universe, the device doesn’t detonate and you live. Each time that the device takes its measurement, the probability that it is not going to detonate on the next reading becomes lower and lower. By the 10th reading, there is only a .0977 percent chance that the device hasn’t gone off. Despite these decreasing probabilities, there is one universe where the device never goes off. This leads me to the next idea of quantum immortality.

 

Quantum immortality is the branch off of the idea of quantum suicide. Due to Max Tegmark’s theory of quantum suicide, quantum immortality explains how a person may become immortal in being the test subject in a quantum suicide experiment. The problem here is that to prove that quantum immortality is actually a thing, you would only be able to prove this point to yourself and you, the universe as a whole. No small portion or any one of the many universes out there would believe that you had accomplished this feat. In theory, I am immortal in any situation due to the many worlds theory saying that every time a decision is made, the universe splits. Through this, so are you and so is everyone. Thus in undertaking in this idea, every time a version of you dies, the universe splits and there is a universe where you live. This will happen infinitely since the theory discusses no parameters over this. This is how the theory of quantum suicide and immortality works to affect the universe.

 

 

Clark, Josh. “How Quantum Suicide Works.” HowStuffWorks Science, HowStuffWorks, 8 Mar. 2018, science.howstuffworks.com/innovation/science-questions/quantum-suicide.htm.

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