Home » News & Blogs » The Universe Made Me Do It? Testing “Free Will” With Distant Quasars
Bookmark and Share
The Nature of Reality

The Universe Made Me Do It? Testing “Free Will” With Distant Quasars

19 Mar 2014, 15:19 UTC
The Universe Made Me Do It? Testing “Free Will” With Distant Quasars
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Scientists usually assume we can freely choose what kinds of experiments to perform. After all, how could we ever hope to learn anything about the world without the free will to set up our laboratory tests in the first place? Still, there lurks a loophole in the heart of physics that might constrain this kind of freedom and allow some of the strangest features of quantum mechanics to be explained away by an underlying kind of conspiratorial coordination that pervades the entire cosmos.

Artist's conception of a quasar, a bright, young, galaxy powered by a voracious supermassive black hole. Courtesy ESO/M. Kornmesser
While a logical loophole in quantum theory may not be grounds for worrying you’ve unknowingly outsourced your apparent free will to the Matrix, this stuff actually keeps scientists and philosophers up at night. In fact, it motivated my colleagues—Jason Gallicchio at the University of Chicago and David Kaiser at MIT—and I to devise an experiment with the potential to close this so-called “free will” loophole once and for all, as much as the cosmos will permit. The trick, it turns out, is to use nearly the entire history of the universe.
The story of the “free will loophole” ...

Latest Vodcast

Latest Podcast

Advertise PTTU

NASA Picture of the Day

Astronomy Picture of the Day

astronomy_pod