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Previous Programs

2016 Physics of the Observer
2016 Awardees

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. Paul Davies
Arizona State University


Yakir Aharonov, George Mason University
Jeff Tollaksen, George Mason University

Project Title

Cosmological and Astrophysical Implications of Quantum Post-Selection

Project Summary

This project focuses on new aspects of quantum mechanics (QM), the weird theory that governs the micro-world of atoms. The key development is that QM has no in-built directionality in time: it works just as well from past-to-future as from future-to-past. QM seemingly cannot be used to send information back-in-time, but it does link future-to-past in subtle and significant ways, due to uncertainty and indeterminism. Contrary to everyday assumptions about reality, there is no unique historical sequence of events leading up to the present state, but rather an amalgam, or superposition, of contending realities. When an observation is made, it may select out a subset of histories from the superposition. The same observation will also serve to partly determine future states of the universe. This has implications for the passage-of-time, perhaps the most fundamental of all human experiences. In physics, time does not pass, it simply is. There are temporal durations, but no flux of. Again, the reformulation of QM provides a very different picture of the nature of time, suggesting that a reconciliation of subjective temporal passage and the static, or block time, of orthodox physics might lie with the linkage between future and past states.

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