Universe as a Superposition of Quantum States
Date: Spring 2013
Quantum mechanically, could the universe have existed, or still exist, as a superposition of many different states? Would a particular state be specified when conscious beings evolved, almost like we were opening Schrödinger's box?
Thanks for the question. Yes, in principle, the universe could have existed, or currently exists as a superposition of quantum states. A simple reason to support this assertion is that the size of the box is increasing, so there are no stationary states (eigenstates) for the Hamiltonian operator. In other words, the eigenstates of the time-independent Hamiltonian operator are not the eignenstates for the time-dependent Hamiltonian operator. I would prefer not to complicate matters by addressing quantum states involving conscious beings.
I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have more questions.
Certainly the universe we enjoy may be a superposition. However the state is unknown to us as we experience it. We are not actually the outside observer opening a box as in the Schrödinger's cat scenario - we are more like the cat.
Peter E. Hughes, Ph.D. Milford, NH
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