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January 26, 2009

Edgar Allan Poe's 'Many Worlds' theory — Published in 1848, 82 years before Hugh Everett was born

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Everett's many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, first formulated in 1957, turned physics on its head and continues to be the subject of intense debate a half-century on.

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Consider, if you will, the following passage from Poe's 1848 work "Eureka: A Prose Poem":

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"Let me declare, only, that, as an individual, I myself feel impelled to the fancy — without daring to call it more — that there does exist a limitless succession of Universes, more or less similar to that of which we have cognizance — to that of which we shall ever have cognizance — at the very least until the return of our own particular Universe into Unity. If such clusters of clusters exist, however — and they do — it is abundantly clear that, having had no part in our origin, they have no portion in our laws. They neither attract us, nor we them. Their material — their spirit is not ours — is not that which obtains in any part of our Universe. They could not impress our senses or our souls. Among them and us — considering all, for the moment, collectively — there are no influences in common. Each exists, apart and independently, in the bosom of its proper and particular God."

January 26, 2009 at 02:01 PM | Permalink


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