“Wait, Sy, your anti-Universe idea says there are exactly two um, sub‑Universes. Even the word ‘*multiverse*‘ suggests more than that.”

“You’re right, Susan, most of the multiverse proposals go to the other extreme. Maybe the most extreme version grew in reaction to one popular interpretation of quantum theory. Do you know about the ‘*Many Worlds*‘ notion?”

“Many Worlds? Is that the one about when I decide between noodles for lunch or a sandwich, the Universe splits and there’s one of me enjoying each one?”

“That’s the popular idea. The physics idea is way smaller, far bigger and even harder to swallow. Physicists have been arguing about it for a half‑century.”

“Come again? Smaller AND bigger?”

“Smaller because it’s a quantum‑based idea about microscopic phenomena. Doesn’t say anything about things big enough to touch. Remember how quantum calculations predict statistics, not exact values? They can’t give you anything but averages and spreads. Einstein and Bohr had a couple of marquee debates about that back in the 1930s. Bohr maintained that our only path to understanding observations at the micro‑scale was to accept that events there are random and there’s no point discussing anything deeper than statistics. Einstein’s position was that the very fact that we’re successfully using an average‑based strategy says that there must be finer‑grained phenomena to average over. He called it ‘*the underlying reality*.’ The string theory folks have chased that possibility all the way down to the Planck‑length scale. They’ve found lots of lovely math but not much else. Hugh Everett had a different concept.”

“With that build‑up, it’d better have something to do with Many Worlds.”

“Oh, it does. Pieces of the idea have been lying around for centuries, but Everett pulled them all together and dressed them up in a quantum suit. Put simply, in his PhD thesis he showed how QM’s statistics can result from averaging over Universes. Well, one Universe per observation, but you experience a sequence of Universes and that’s what you average over.”

“How can you *show* something like that?”

“By going down the rabbit hole step by step and staying strictly within the formal QM framework. First step was to abstractify the operation of observing. He said it’s a matter of two separate systems, an observer **A** and a subject **B**. The **A** could be a person or electronics or whatever. What’s important is that **A** has the ability to assess and record **B**‘s states and how they change. Given all that, the next step is to say that both **A** and **B** are quantized, in the sense that each has a quantum state.”

“Wait, EACH has a quantum state? Even if **A** is a human or a massive NMR machine?”

“That’s one of the hard‑to‑swallows, but formally speaking he’s okay. If a micro‑system can have a quantum state then so can a macro‑system made up of micro‑systems. You just multiply the micro‑states together to get the macro‑state. Which gets us to the next step — when **A** interrogates **B**, the two become entangled. We then can only talk about the combined quantum state of the **A+B** system. Everett referred to an Einstein quote when he wrote that a mouse doesn’t change the Moon by looking at it, but the Moon changes the mouse. The next step’s a doozy so take a deep breath.”

“Ready, I suppose.”

“**B** could have been in any of its quantum states, suppose it’s **#10**. After the observation, **A+B** must be an entangled mixture of whatever **A** was, combined with *each* of **B**‘s possible final states. Suppose **B** *might* switch to **#42**. Now we can have **A+B(#42)**, separate from a persisting **A+B(#10)**, plus many other possibles. As time goes by, **A+B(#42)** moves along its worldline independent of whatever happens to ** A+B(#10)**.”

“If they’re independent than each is in its own Universe. That’s the Many Worlds thing.”

“Now consider just how many worlds. We’re talking every potential observing macro‑system of any size, entangled with all possible quantum states of every existing micro‑system anywhere in our Observable Universe. We’re a long way from your noodles or sandwich decision.”

“An infinity of infinities.”

“Each in its own massive world.”

“Hard to swallow.”

~~ Rich Olcott