Decoherence

Here’s a fascinating article on Quantum Darwinism, a term coined to describe the hypothetical process for how the quantum (uncertain) world resolves into the physical world we all experience as “reality”. My work in quantum encryption has caused me to read a lot about quantum physics in general, and while I understand much more than before, it’s still a head scratcher. But I like the article’s explanation of decoherence, wherein quantum entangled particles “infect” each other, becoming an entangled swarm of possibilities until at some point any one of those particles is observed and the entire group decoheres into a definite state – the one we call reality. A dozen science fiction plots occur to me as I think about quantum states decohering into physical states…it’s a mind-blowing idea.

When you think about it, it’s a lot like the macro-process we all go through in our lives. At the beginning we have infinite choices – we can do pretty much anything with our lives. A cloud of possibility/uncertainty precedes us. Then, we make choices. Our path forward becomes more and more defined with each choice, each action, and our infinite possibilities become finite. Those choices we make early in life are our decoherence, from what could be to what is. Pretty heady stuff.

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