Oct 21, 2008 | 5
Once upon a time, physicists raised eyebrows when they said we existed in multiple universes. But this "many worlds" theory has become widely accepted since it was first proposed in 1957 by eccentric physicist Hugh Everett.
Everett, who died in 1982 at the age of 51, is the subject of a new documentary, Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives, which airs today at 8 P.M. Eastern time on PBS. Journalist Peter Byrne, whose 2007 profile of Everett in Scientific American explains the theory and describes Everett's troubled private and professional life, appears in the film.
"If everything physically possible happens in the universe, why do we only see one possibility at a time? That's the question philosophers are beating their heads bloody trying to answer," Byrne tells us. "Everett's answer is there's more than one you, and you are splitting into trillions of copies of yourself every time there's a quantum interaction of a certain size."
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