Many worlds of Hugh Everett, 50 years since the publication of Multirimia ...

    Scientific American published an article in honor of Hugh Everett’s 77th birthday - “a brilliant mathematician, an icon of quantum theory and then a successful defense industry contractor who had access to the nation’s most sensitive defense information”, as well as the fiftieth anniversary of his article on his multiverse model .

    Everett's scientific journey began one evening in 1954, as he recalled a couple of decades later, "after a serving or two of sherry." He, his Princeton mate Charles Mizner, and a guest named Aage Petersen (then Niels Bohr's assistant) were thinking about "stupid things in the aftermath of quat mechanics." In the course of this, Everett found the basic idea behind his theory of many worlds, and in the following weeks he began to formulate it into a dissertation.

    The main idea of ​​Hugh Everett (let me state it as I understand it, and if you want to state it in your own way - use comments) is that this is not a particle in a slurred state, either on the right or on the left, and the measurement drives it into one, as in the theory of Niels Bohr, but the universe simply bifurcates - in one it is on the right, in the other on the left. It bifurcates, of course, like Niels Bohr at the time of measurement. In general, "and where did you put the car keys ???" It is possible that they really are, some in the toilet, others in the bedroom, and still others in the pocket. And at the moment when you asked this question, the universe was divided into three - one for each option.

    The article was written by Peter Byrne, a journalist and popular science writer who is currently working on a biography of Hugh Everett.

    Some dates from Hugh Everett’s life:

    • November 11, 1930 - born in Washngton, DC
    • 1943 - Albert Einstein answered a letter from young Hugh
    • Autumn 1953 - entered the Princeton graduate physics program (fourth year) with supervisors Eugene Wigner and John Archibald Wheeler.
    • Winter 1954-1955 - began work on a dissertation on quantum mechanics
    • January 1955 - the first version of the dissertation “The Theory of the Universal Wave Function” is ready
    • Spring 1956 - Wheeler (Everett's supervisor) discusses a draft of the dissertation in Copenhagen with Niels Bohr and other presenters physicists, and gets a backlash
    • June 1956 - accepted a proposal from Pentagon's Weapons Systems Evaluation Group (WSEG) for research
    • August 1956 - March 1957 - the dissertation was rewritten in a very truncated form
    • November 1956 - married Nancy Gore
    • November 1956 - appointed head of the WSEG mathematics department
    • April 1957 - the dissertation committee adopts a truncated version of '' Relative state 'formulation of Quantum Mechanics "
    • May 1957 - Bruce DeWitt, editor of Review of Modern Physics, insists in a letter to Everett that “the real world does not double”
    • June 1957 - the same journal publishes Everett's truncated dissertation with a laudatory introduction by Wheeler
    • June 1957 - defended his thesis (Ph.D .)
    • July 1957 - was born to s Elizabeth
    • April 1963 - a son Marc
    • 1964 - Everett and colleagues form the Lambda firm specializing in defense contracts
    • September 1970 - DeWitt (who argued with Everett in 1957) publishes a statue in Physics Today endorsing Everett's theory
    • 1973 - Everett left Lambda and created the WBS data processing company
    • December 1976 - Everett’s theory is popularized in the science fiction magazine Analog
    • July 19, 1982 - died in bed from a heart attack
    • June 1985 - David Deutsch offers a model of a quantum computer based on the Everett model

    Fantastic works, ba Everett theorists:

    • The Coming of the Quantum Cats by Frederick Pohl - Spectra, 1986
    Copies of heroes travel back and forth along numerous alternative timelines.
    • Quarantine by Greg Evan - Harper-Collins, 1992 The
    world is a multiverse, all rational races understand this and use it with pleasure. Except one. Wherever the human gaze penetrates, the multiverse collapses into a single reality, destroying alternative universes and all who live in them. The aliens inhabiting the multivers see no other way than to quarantine the Earth, isolating it with an optically impenetrable sphere.
    • His Dark Materials (trilogy) by Philip Pullman - Knopf, 1995-2000
    The trilogy will capture several alternative universes. In one of them, the hero mentions the work of Everett in 1957. In another, a pair of theologians offers a "multi-world" heresy.

    In Everett’s personal life, everything was not very happy. Burning himself in science, Everett was cold and detached, not to mention addiction to alcohol. His son Mark, then still a teenager, discovered his lifeless body in the bedroom on July 19, 1982. “I did not know how to react to the fact that my father had just died,” Mark recalls, “I have never had a real relationship with him.” Everett’s daughter Elizabeth made a suicide attempt a month before. Mark found her insensitive in the bathroom and was able to deliver her to the hospital on time. In 1996, she nevertheless committed suicide in an overdose of sleeping pills, leaving a note that she would live with her father in an alternative universe.

    More seriously about Everett's theory and about himself, you can read, for example, in these books:

    • The Many-World Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics. Edited by Bryce S. DeWitt and Neil Graham. Princeton University Press, 1973.
    • The Fabric of Reality by David Deutch. Penguin Books, 1997.
    • Biographical Sketch of Hugh Everett, III by Eugene Shikhovetsev, 2003.
    • Science and Ultimate Reality: Quantum Theory, Cosmology, and Complexity. Edited by John D. Barrow, Paul CW Davies, and Charles L. Harper, Jr. Cambridge University Press, 2004.
    • Things the Grandchildren Should Know by Mark Everett. Little, Brown (in press)
    Original article: The Many Worlds of Hugh Everett by Peter Byrne - Scientific American, December 2007, p. 98-105
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