quantum mechanics

Are there parallel universes? Universes in which, rather than reading this article, you are still asleep; in which you are happier, unhappier, richer, poorer, or even dead? The answer is "possibly". It's a controversial claim but one that has won more and more followers over the last few decades.

Everyone knows what time is. We can practically feel it ticking away, marching on in the same direction with horrifying regularity. Time has enslaved the Western world and become our most precious commodity. Turn it over to the physicists however, and it begins to morph, twist and even crumble away. So what is time exactly?

This podcast featuring Paul Davies, a theoretical physicist and cosmologist at Arizona State University and Director of BEYOND: Centre for Fundamental Concepts in Science, explores this difficult question and accompanies our What is time article.

One of the most famous experiments in physics demonstrates the strange nature of the quantum world.

One way of making quantum mechanics independent of observers is to accept that we live in many parallel worlds.

Since quantum mechanics predicts such strange things about the world, should we replace it by a better theory, or perhaps extend it?

If observers can influence the outcomes of measurements, then do these observes need to be conscious? Does consciousness play a special role in physics at all?

A brief introduction to the strange theory of quantum mechanics and how it appears to afford a special role to observers.

Traditionally, observers play no special role in physics. Like bird watchers in a perfect hide, we observe the outcome of experiments, or gaze at the stars through our telescopes, taking no part in the action. Modern physics, however, tells a different story ... find out more with these articles and videos.

Can the very act of observing something change what's being observed? This series of articles and videos explores some basic questions about the role of the observers in physics.