Book Review: The Many Worlds of Hugh Everett III: Multiple Universes, Mutual Assured Destruction, and the Meltdown of a Nuclear Family by Peter Byrne | Science News

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Book Review: The Many Worlds of Hugh Everett III: Multiple Universes, Mutual Assured Destruction, and the Meltdown of a Nuclear Family by Peter Byrne

Review by Tom Siegfried

By
1:33pm, November 5, 2010

In histories of quantum physics, Hugh Everett III’s name appears frequently, but without much about the life of the man behind the name. He did not pursue a career in academic physics, opting instead to work as an analyst for secret military projects, and he died young, in 1982 at age 51.

In Everett’s 1957 Ph.D. dissertation, he introduced a radical view of quantum mechanics, the mathematics that governs reality with unfathomable weirdness. Standard quantum math describes multiple possible realities; in any given circumstance one of those possibilities becomes “real” when an observation is made. But Everett believed that all the possibilities exist. An observer “splits” each time an observation

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