The idea of parallel worlds is one of the more favorite topics of science fiction writers, but also a popular subject of interest for many researchers. If you watched the Fringe series, you will remember that there were two simultaneously existing versions of the same world with slight differences between them. It seems that something like this could be possible, according to a new quantum theory.
A group of Australian and US physicists suggests that there may exist multiple versions of our universe, which can interact with each other on a quantum level. Dr. Howard Wiseman and Dr. Michael Hall of Griffith University in Australia, together with Dr. Dirk-Andre Deckert from the University of California, published their so-called “Many Interacting Worlds” (MIW) theory in the journal Physical Review X.
It is a known fact that quantum mechanics display strange phenomena which violate the principles of cause and effect. That is why it is so difficult to explain the nature of these phenomena. “Any explanation of quantum phenomena is going to be weird, and standard quantum mechanics does not really offer any explanation at all–it just makes predictions for laboratory experiments,” Dr. Wiseman wrote in an email to the Huffington Post. “Our new explanation…is that there are ordinary (non-quantum) parallel worlds which interact in a particular and subtle way.”
The new theory is an alternative to the ‘Many Worlds’ concept, which was proposed in 1950s by American physicist Hugh Everett to explain the ability of quantum particles to be in two states simultaneously. He suggested that both states co-exist in different realities, that is why quantum particles can seemingly occupy two places at once. Thus, in accordance with the ‘Many-worlds interpretation’ hypothesis, each version of reality branches into a bunch of new realities, which exist separately and can’t interact with each other. From this point, the “Many Interacting Worlds” theory is totally different, as it speculates that multiple universes can overlap and influence each other.
There are three key points to understanding the MIW theory: first, there is a gigantic number of universes, some of which may be nearly identical; second, all of these universes are equally real; third, there is a force of repulsion between similar universes, which is a cause of quantum interactions between them.
“The beauty of our approach is that if there is just one world our theory reduces to Newtonian mechanics, while if there is a gigantic number of worlds it reproduces quantum mechanics. In between it predicts something new that is neither Newton’s theory nor quantum theory. We also believe that, in providing a new mental picture of quantum effects, it will be useful in planning experiments to test and exploit quantum phenomena,” Wiseman noted.
In spite of some negative criticism, such as the article by Czech physicist Luboš Motl in which he called the MIW approach “a hopeless enterprise and a huge waste of time,” prof. Wiseman and his team are optimistic about the prospects of their research: “I think there are many who are not happy with any of the current interpretations, and it is those who will probably be most interested in ours. I hope some will be interested enough to start working on it soon, because there are so many questions to answer.”
The biggest challenge now is to come up with the ways to test this hypothesis and find the indications of possible interactions with other universes. As for the possibility that someday humans might establish contact with other universes, Dr. Wiseman said: “It’s not part of our theory… But the idea of interactions with other universes is no longer pure fantasy.”
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Featured image: Universe Today
Scientists Create First-Ever Embryos With Monkey and Human Cells
For the first time, scientists have created embryos in a lab that contain the cells of both humans and monkeys.
Scientists hope that by creating chimeric embryos – embryos containing cells from two distinct species – they might be able to create organs for people who desperately need transplants.
Over 100,000 people in the United States lone are currently on a waiting list for organ transplants crucial to saving their lives, but the supply of donor organs has dropped significantly since the pandemic began unfolding.
Researchers have attempted to inject human stem cells into the embryos of pigs and sheep in recent years in hopes of growing organs for transplants, but this hasn’t yielded positive results. Scientists are hoping that by turning to macaque monkeys, which share a greater genetic similarity to humans, they may have more success.
In a study published Thursday in the journal Cell, researchers in the U.S. and China injected 25 pluripotent stem cells from humans into embryos from macaque monkeys.
After one day, the researchers detected human cells beginning to grow in 132 of the embryos. They embryos ultimately survived for 19 days.
However, bioethicists have raised concerns about the potential for abusing medical regulations that currently govern the treatment of animal and human subjects, as well as the possibility that a rogue scientists might potentially spike living creatures with human cells.
“My first question is: Why?” Kirstin Matthews, a science and technology fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute, told NPR. “I think the public is going to be concerned, and I am as well, that we’re just kind of pushing forward with science without having a proper conversation about what we should or should not do.”
Researchers insist that the study serves purely humanitarian goals that could save countless lives in the future.
“This work is an important step that provides very compelling evidence that someday when we understand fully what the process is we could make them develop into a heart or a kidney or lungs,” said University of Michigan professor Jeffrey Platt, who was not involved in the study.
In Major First, New System Lets Paralyzed Users Control Tablet Computer Wirelessly
In what could be a major breakthrough for people suffering paralysis and other permanent disabilities, the first wireless command to a computer has been demonstrated.
According to a new study published in IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, scientists at Brown University say that the new system called BrainGate can transmit brain signals at “single-neuron resolution and in full broadband fidelity.”
BrainGate clinical trial participants with paralysis used a small transmitter connected to a person’s brain motor cortex to manipulate the interface of a tablet computer.
Participants were able to achieve the same typing speeds and point-and-click accuracy on the BrainGate system as they could with wired systems.
“We’ve demonstrated that this wireless system is functionally equivalent to the wired systems that have been the gold standard,” said John Simeral, an assistant professor of engineering at Brown University.
“The signals are recorded and transmitted with appropriately similar fidelity, which means we can use the same decoding algorithms we used with wired equipment,” Simeral said.
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“The only difference is that people no longer need to be physically tethered to our equipment, which opens up new possibilities in terms of how the system can be used,” he added.
Neural interface technologies have attracted such high-profile figures as Elon Musk and social media titan Facebook in recent years.
“With this system, we’re able to look at brain activity, at home, over long periods in a way that was nearly impossible before,” said Brown University engineering professor and clinical trial leader Leigh Hochberg.
“This will help us to design decoding algorithms that provide for the seamless, intuitive, reliable restoration of communication and mobility for people with paralysis,” Hochberg added.
Scientists Discover X-Rays Coming From Uranus For Very First Time
Scientists are seeing X-rays being emitted from Uranus for the very first time, according to new research.
On Wednesday, the study was published in the Journal of Geophysical Research that lays out how a comparison of two images of the planet taken by the Chandra Observatory in 2002 and 2017 show a clear detection of X-rays in the first image, while the second shows a possible flare of X-rays on the enigmatic and icy planet.
According to NASA, the reason for these X-rays is “mainly the sun.”
However, “there are tantalizing hints that at least one other source of X-rays is present,” the space agency noted.
“One possibility is that the rings of Uranus are producing X-rays themselves, which is the case for Saturn’s rings,” NASA said. “Another possibility is that at least some of the X-rays come from auroras on Uranus, a phenomenon that has previously been observed on this planet at other wavelengths.”
X-rays can be provide a crucial window into the processes and characteristics of our universe. In the case of Uranus, these characteristics can include “atmospheric, surface and planetary ring composition.”
And while X-ray lights given off by the sun have been previously observed by astronomers on Jupiter and Saturn, this hasn’t been the case for icy giants like Uranus and Neptune.
The agency hopes that by figuring out the origin of the X-rays observed at Uranus, researchers can better grasp how mysterious objects including black holes and neutron stars emit X-rays.
Uranus is roughly four times the diameter of Earth and is the seventh planet from the sun, and is known for its distinct pair of rings around its equator and its unique side rotation.
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