Living in a Parallel Universe

2011, Science  -  50 min Leave a Comment
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Imagine there are three identical versions of you. Each is convinced of their own reality, even though this reality might be much different than your own. One might live in a world where Germany won World War II. Another might exist in an environment where 9/11 never occurred. This far-fetched concept has long served as fodder for science fiction novelists, but it's also a discipline of theoretical study that is gaining real momentum in the academic realm. "Living in a Parallel Universe" explores the credibility of these concepts with assistance from a panel of distinguished theoretical physicists.

The notion of a parallel universe first reared its head in the late 1800s when psychics became a source of great popularity and scandal, and the top scientists of the day began to consider the possibility of alternate realities. Einstein's unlocking of quantum mechanics was another important milestone, and opened up the idea of a universe that runs on uncertainty and chaos.

Building upon Einstein's theory, scientists have determined that particles can exist at several different places at the same time. Since humans are made of particles, couldn't the same phenomena be true of us? This concept points to the existence of several different realities. One microscopic variation could mean the difference between a nuclear cloud and a thriving metropolis. Purveyors of the parallel universe theory believe one of these outcomes is just as valid and "real" as the other. If you chose to turn left at the train station, another reality will exist where you turn right. Every choice renders an additional opposite response.

The film illustrates this through impressive set pieces, lively practical exercises, and a comprehensive overview of the nature of quantum mechanics and how we experience its effects on a daily basis.

It's a trippy concept. Some viewers may find the science impenetrable, laughable or even offensive. The mainstream scientific community remains skeptical, but the theory's leading supporters believe we are on the cusp of an Earth shattering discovery.

"Living in a Parallel Universe" does an admirable job of breaking this complex theory down and expressing it in layman's terms. If you're open to its insights, the film might make you rethink your understanding of reality.

Directed by: Malcolm Clark