Friday, October 31, 2008

Want to Play God? Got $20?

Artist Jonathon Keats has created a make-your-own universe kit. Going off of quantum theory of a multiverse stating that any kind of measurement causes the universe to split, Keats' universe creator uses a piece of uranium-doped glass to create a steam of alpha particles, which are then detected using a thin sliver of scintillating crystal. Each detection causes the creation of a new universe.

"If two events are possible, quantum theory assumes that both occur simultaneously - until an observer determines the outcome. For example, in Schrödinger's famous thought experiment, in which his cat may have been killed with a 50 per cent probability, the cat is both alive and dead until someone checks. When the observation is made, the universe splits into two, one for each possible outcome. For example, Schrödinger's cat would be alive in one universe and dead in the other universe. "

With the slow predictable rate of decay for uranium, Keats contends that users should be able to make trillions of universes.

"What'd your parents get you for Christmas, Bobby?"
"My Dad said it was something to play God, but I wouldn't understand what I was doing til high school."

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