Many-worlds interpretation

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Many-worlds is a postulate of quantum mechanics that asserts the objective reality of the universal wavefunction, but denies the reality of wavefunction collapse, which implies that all possible alternative histories and futures are real —each representing an actual "world" (or "universe"). It is also referred to as MWI, the relative state formulation, the Everett interpretation, the theory of the universal wavefunction, many-universes interpretation, or just many worlds.

The original relative state formulation is due to Hugh Everett in 1957.[2][3] Later, this formulation was popularized and renamed many-worlds by Bryce Seligman DeWitt in the 1960s and '70s.[1][4][5][6]

Many-worlds claims to reconcile how we can perceive non-deterministic events, such as the random decay of a radioactive atom, with the deterministic equations of quantum physics. Prior to many-worlds, reality had been viewed as a single unfolding history. Many-worlds, rather, views reality as a many-branched tree, wherein every possible quantum outcome is realised.

In many-worlds, the subjective appearance of wavefunction collapse is explained by the mechanism of quantum decoherence. By decoherence, many-worlds claims to resolve all of the correlation paradoxes of quantum theory, such as the EPR paradox[7][8] and Schrödinger's cat,[1] since every possible outcome of every event defines or exists in its own "history" or "world". In layman's terms, there is a very large—perhaps infinite[9]—number of universes, and everything that could possibly have happened in our past, but didn't, has occurred in the past of some other universe or universes.

The decoherence approach to interpreting quantum theory has been further explored and developed[10][11][12] becoming quite popular, taken as a class overall. MWI is one of many Multiverse hypotheses in physics and philosophy. It is currently considered a mainstream interpretation along with the other decoherence interpretations and the Copenhagen interpretation.

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