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Previous Programs

2019 Intelligence in the Physical World
Awardees

2019 Information as Fuel
Awardees

2018 Agency in the Physical World
Awardees; RFP download

2016 Physics of the Observer
Awardees; RFP download

2015 The Physics of What Happens
Awardees; RFP download

2013 Physics of Information
Awardees; RFP download

2010 The Nature of Time
Awardees; RFP download

2008 Foundational Questions in Physics and Cosmology
Awardees; RFP download

2006 Foundational Questions in Physics and Cosmology
Awardees; RFP download

Dr. Paul Davies
Arizona State University

Co-Investigators

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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