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Previous Programs

2015 The Physics of What Happens
2015 Awardees

2013 Physics of Information
2013 Awardees

2010 The Nature of Time
2010 Awardees

2008 Foundational Questions in Physics and Cosmology
2008 Awardees

2006 Foundational Questions in Physics and Cosmology
2006 Awardees

Dr. Simon W. Saunders
University of Oxford

Project Title

Everett at 50

Co-Investigators

David Wallace, University of Oxford

Project Summary

In depth and intricacy no controversy in the history of physics matches the debate on the foundations of quantum mechanics. Despite the expenditure of a vast amount of effort, very little progress has been made in resolving the controversy.

There is also the Everett interpretation. This, unlike its rivals, applies uniformly to any quantum theory. But it says that other worlds are like other times: that they all exist. It is a many-worlds theory. Fantastic, perhaps, but the approach always foundered not because it was judged incredible but because it was judged unintelligible - particularly on the interpretation of probability. If everything happens, what can probabilities possibly mean? But it seems there is now an answer to this question, or at any rate that the situation in Everett is no worse than in its rivals. On other fronts, too, it is increasingly clear it is methodologically conservative in comparison to its rivals.

It is fifty years since Everett's astounding proposal; on the table is a remarkable set of claims. It is proposed to hold a conference, at the University of Oxford, in September 2007, to evaluate them, and to publish the debate, both contributed papers and transcripts of discussions.

A notice of this conference is on the Sciam.com blog, and a comprehensive look at Hugh Everett is in the July 2007 issue of the journal Nature.

The conference website is here.



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