LOST, Time Travel and Quantum Mechanics
April 8, 2009 1 Comment
For those who have been following the TV show, LOST, I hope you are not as LOST as I am! Still, the topics that they touch on are on the fringe of the scientific fringe, which is perhaps why I enjoy the show.
Take the recent episode entitled “He’s Our You,” which aired on 3/25/09. To make an intricate plot-line even more confusing, the writers have decided to throw time travel into the mix this season. Which of course brings about our old friend, the “Grandfather Paradox,” a hypothetical scenario whereby you go back in time and kill your grandfather, negating your own existence, all Back-to-the-Future-like. Seems like such an idea would make time travel impossible.
But, the Everett (aka “Many Worlds”) interpretation of Quantum Mechanics comes to the rescue. Because in that theory, every quantum mechanical decision, every possible outcome of a particles movement forks a new universe. In one, the particle moves, spins, or whatever, in one direction. In the other, it goes in the other direction. It solves the time travel paradox because as soon as you kill grandpa, reality forks a new universe, in which he is dead and you are never born. Who is the guy who killed him? Somebody from another universe. Entirely self-consistent.
So don’t worry that Ben Linus’ path in the past will affect the gang in the future. Not if Hugh Everett had anything to say about it.
Oh yeah, and check out my Powers of 10 simulation. It just might hold the key to the show.