Yesterday’s book: Finities

This was definitely another one of those turn thepages, quickly quickly, read until I finish novels. Author John Barnes gives us his take on how technology and the Many Worlds Interpretation of the Uncertainty Principle may collide in the near future with people’s lives to cause massive changes, uncertainty and odd fears, and a major disappearance. Barnes uses the Many Worlds aspect as a literary device as well as part of his plot, which means a reader cannot take anything he’s read for granted as true; I definitely liked this.

For those readers unfamiliar with the Many Worlds Interpretation, it is one possible interpretation, at the macro (that is, real world) level, of just what the Uncertainty Principle, part of Quantum Mechanics and a puzzle since the 1920s, means. The Uncertainty Principle says that an observer can measure the size or energy of a particle but not both and also ties into the dual wave/particle nature of matter. Many Worlds says, basically, that every time a measurement (or, at a larger level, a choice) is made, the universe is split into two and all possible outcomes occur. Since these events happen constantly, the universe is constantly splitting. For example, if you bought a car last month and had a difficult time choosing between a Toyota and a Mazda, don’t worry because you created two new universes and made both choices. Often times, the many universes of the Many Worlds is referred to collectively as the Multiverse.

Sounds confusing, huh? Well, Barnes does a much better job of explaining things over the course of the novel. I also brought up this concept in a previous log entry about an upcoming Jet Li movie called The One.