“The idea of parallel universes in quantum mechanics has been around since 1957,” explained Howard Wiseman, a physicist at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia, and one of the physicists to come up with MIW. “In the well-known ‘Many-Worlds Interpretation,’ each universe branches into a bunch of new universes every time a quantum measurement is made. All possibilities are therefore realised — in some universes the dinosaur-killing asteroid missed Earth. In others, Australia was colonised by the Portuguese.”
“But critics question the reality of these other universes, since they do not influence our universe at all,” he added. “On this score, our ‘Many Interacting Worlds’ approach is completely different, as its name implies.”
Wiseman and colleagues have proposed that there exists “a universal force of repulsion between ‘nearby’ (i.e. similar) worlds, which tends to make them more dissimilar.” Quantum effects can be explained by factoring in this force, they propose.
Whether or not the math holds true will be the ultimate test for this theory. Does it or does it not properly predict quantum effects mathematically? Regardless, the theory is certain to provide plenty of fodder for the imagination.
For instance, when asked about whether their theory might entail the possibility that humans could someday interact with other worlds, Wiseman said: “It’s not part of our theory. But the idea of interactions with other universes is no longer pure fantasy.”
What might your life look like if you made different choices? Maybe one day you’ll be able to look into one of these alternative worlds and find out.