Survival of the Physics: Quantum Darwinism?

Have you ever heard of quantum Darwinism?

It’s not a form of New Age woo, but something that physicists are seriously exploring. This yesterday at

The basis of almost any theoretical quantum-to-classical transition lies in the concept of decoherence. In the , many possible quantum states “collapse” into a single state due to interactions with the environment. To quantum Darwinists, decoherence is a selection process, and the final, stable state is called a “pointer state.” Although pointer states are quantum states, they are “fit enough” to be transmitted through the environment without collapsing and can then make copies of themselves that can be observed on the . Although everything in our world is quantum at its core, our classical view of the universe is ultimately determined by these pointer states.

Since quantum Darwinism was first proposed in 2003 by Wojciech Zurek of Los Alamos National Laboratory, several studies have found evidence to support the idea.

And a recent paper lends yet more support for it as well. One of the paper’s coauthors, Physicist David Ferry of Arizona State, tell

“It is a theory, and our data provides support,” he said. “But, the experiments have to be confirmed by other groups, perhaps many times if the theory is to be fully accepted.”


Will creationists, two decades from now, be demanding equal time in the physics classroom?

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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