Celebrating Half a Century of “Multiverse” Theory

chinmay7 writes on Slashdot:

There is an excellent selection of articles (and quite a few related scientific papers) in a special edition of Nature magazine on interpretations of the multiverse theory. ‘Fifty years ago this month Hugh Everett III published his paper proposing a “relative-state formulation of quantum mechanics” — the idea subsequently described as the ‘many worlds’ or ‘multiverse’ interpretation. Its impact on science and culture continues. In celebration, a science fiction special edition of Nature on 5 July 2007 explores the symbiosis of science and sf, as exemplified by Everett’s hypothesis, its birth, evolution, champions and opponents, in biology, physics, literature and beyond.’

FYI: Hugh Everett III is also the father of Mark Oliver Everett, a.k.a. “The Man Called E,” leader of the grossly under-appreciated (IMNERHO) band Eels. Eels’s 1998 album, “Electro-Shock Blues,” deals with suicide, death and loss, after Hugh Everett III died of a heart attack, his schizophrenic daughter committed suicide, and his wife died of cancer, leaving Mark Everett as the only surviving family member. And, I just discovered on Wikipedia, that E’s cousin was a flight attendant on the plane that was flown into the Pentagon on 9/11. Man, I guess this explains why so many Eels records are so sad, cynical, and dark.

The utterly bizarre thing is that, in the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, put forth by Mark’s father, none of these things have happened (and every possible variation on them has also occurred), in infinite “universes next door,” as Robert Anton Wilson dubbed them. No wonder the dude’s so strange. I’m feeling messed up just trying to ponder all of this weirdness in the same posting!

BTW: A paid sub is required to read most of the articles in Nature, but this one, Many lives in many worlds, by Max Tegmark, is free.