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Worlds Without EndThe Many Lives of the Multiverse$
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Mary-Jane Rubenstein

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231156622

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231156622.001.0001

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Ascending to the Ultimate Multiverse

Ascending to the Ultimate Multiverse

(p.177) 6 Ascending to the Ultimate Multiverse
Worlds Without End

Mary-Jane Rubenstein

Columbia University Press

This chapter discusses the possible existence of a multiverse, which stemmed from Hugh Everett’s Many-Worlds Interpretation (MWI) of quantum mechanics. According to the law of quantum mechanics, a particle’s position and momentum cannot be determined at the same time. The state of a subatomic particle can only be expressed in terms of a “wave function” that details the varying probabilities of its possible states; when the particle is being observed, the wave function “collapses” and the particle takes on a definitive place. This account prompted Everett to wonder what would happen if the wave function never collapses, explaining that if there is no collapse, then every possible outcome will happen—each in a different universe. Everett’s theory gave rise to numerous other works including Bryce Dewitt’s reinvention of the MWI, Stephen Hawking’s model-dependent realism, Laura Mersini-Houghton’s multiverse bath, Lee Smolin’s cosmological scenario, and Max Tegmark’s Mathematical Universe Hypothesis.

Keywords:   multiverse, Many-Worlds Interpretation, quantum mechanics, Hugh Everett, Bryce Dewitt, model-dependent realism, multiverse bath, cosmological scenario, Mathematical Universe Hypothesis

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