Between Eternities

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He woke up in the light. Even though he blinked hard under the warmth of the white glow, the light didn’t blind him, so much as it bathed him.
He gulped for air, then for words.
Shadows flitted through the light and the man became aware of presences. He felt them before he heard them. It was a soft mumble at first, but, then the man could make out words.
“Am I dead?”
As consciousness surfaced, he remembered tales of people who experienced clinical death and returned -- the all-embracing light, the warmth, the dreamlike fog. Maybe he was dead.
“No, Kurt, you are not dead. Far from it. Maybe the farthest from it ever.”
Kurt Johnson heard his name and pieces of his identity swirled through his mind the way autumn leaves dance in a breeze. New York City. The vacation home on the Maine coast. The University of Washington.
The net swirled and each nodule seemed to settle in a single hub -- his wife, Miriam. He remembered the first time he saw her sitting alone in the business logistics classroom during the fall semester of his junior year. He saw her sitting on the deck, sipping pensively at her morning tea.
But he heard the crash -- the metal retching, glass shattering crash.
 
“Where is Miriam,” he struggled to say to the closest shadows.
“I’m not sure what you mean,” the calm, serene voice said. Kurt began to see the outline of a man’s face, then the features formed.
“This may take some time to get used to, but things have changed -- quite dramatically -- since you’re accident,” the man said.
At that instant, Kurt remembered the crash.
“Did she die?”
“We only know that you were in a coma for some time and, eventually, technology progressed to a point that we could resuscitate you and restore your cognitive functions,” the man paused. “I am Dr. Shoenstein, your health reprogrammer.”
“You mean doctor?” Ken asked hesitantly.
“Well, we have discovered that health is really a quantum computational thing. Small adjustments on the molecular level and quantum level are really all that is required to maintain perfect health.”
Dr. Shoenstein continued to tell Kurt of his recovery and describe new technologies that evolved during the two decades that Kurt remained comatose. He had no real words of consolation for Kurt, who agonized over the loss of his wife.
“We have incredible virtual reality immersion techniques, Kurt, including brain computer interfaces that connect to quantum artificial intelligence that can amplify your memories and imagination to create a reality indiscernible from the one you are experiencing,” said Shoenstein. “Some people, however, like something more physical and use the simul-cube, a simulator that generates actual matter into absolutely accurate settings and people, only limited by your imagination.”
Kurt stared blankly at the wall, swirling with blue, green and red flashing lights.
“I’m sorry, doctor, but that sounds like empty shadows to me,” Kurt said. The doctor patted Kurt’s leg lightly.
“Give yourself some time,” Dr. Shoenstein said and left the room.
In the months that followed, Kurt tried each of the simulators. Often, he felt absorbed into these dreamspaces, but would, at the last moment of full-absorption, despair that the simulation wasn’t real.
A worker monitoring the simulation facilities noticed Kurt’s despondency.
“You know, there’s an old guy who claims he’s found a travel through -- you know, travel through time and space. Most people think he’s a nut -- he’s a rej.”
Kurt was intrigued, “What’s a rej?”
“Just people who reject society,” the worker said. “Loners.”
The man gave directions to where the man -- supposedly -- lived, a forest of rolling hills outside of the city  that served as a reservation of sorts for people who preferred to live simply.
Kurt trekked through the forest -- the worker had described the woods as almost impenetrable, but for Kurt, who spent his childhood in the dense hardwoods of Minnesota, it was an easy hike. He walked for about an hour when he spied a cabin in a clearing, matching the worker’s description.
Kurt knocked cautiously.
The wooden door opened a crack and kind eyes peered out.
“Can I help you traveler?” The man said. The voice to match the eyes.
“I have been told that you can travel through. I’ve come to learn how.”
“Come in,” the man said as he opened the door, revealing a sparse, but comfortable cabin. “But I am afraid you have been misled. I have not learned any secret.”
Kurt told the rej about the accident and his wife. When Kurt was done, he cleared his throat and said, “You see, I told you I have no secret because there is no secret to traveling through time and space because there is no time or space.”
“I don’t understand.”
The man smiled, “You don’t have to understand. In fact, understanding is what holds you in the here and now. We have been taught that there are an infinite number of universes and realities that surround you, in scientific terms, many worlds. But this is incorrect. There are not many worlds, there are thoughts of many worlds. It is all just information and what travels through those universes of time and space is the thought of thoughts and those thoughts choose whatever vehicle -- a human body, an atom, the feather of a falcon, for example -- to experience reality on whatever level it chooses.”
Kurt followed, but barely.
“Find the source of those thoughts and you find the roots of your experience. You may find that not only has your wife never departed from you, but is, in fact, inseparable from you, as are all beings and all life.”
Kurt glided from the cabin, in nearly a daze. He sat calmly on a stone in the woods and stared into the sunlight filtering through the trees. The light was momentarily blocked and a familiar hand slipped into his own.

 

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Quantum Theories

S is for ... Schrödinger’s Cat

A hypothetical experiment in which a cat kept in a closed box can be alive and dead at the same time – as long as nobody lifts the lid to take a look.

V is for ... Virtual particles

Quantum theory’s uncertainty principle says that since not even empty space can have zero energy, the universe is fizzing with particle-antiparticle pairs that pop in and out of existence. These “virtual” particles are the source of Hawking radiation.

C is for ... Computing

The rules of the quantum world mean that we can process information much faster than is possible using the computers we use now.

I is for ... Information

Many researchers working in quantum theory believe that information is the most fundamental building block of reality.

G is for ... Gravity

Our best theory of gravity no longer belongs to Isaac Newton. It’s Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. There’s just one problem: it is incompatible with quantum theory. The effort to tie the two together provides the greatest challenge to physics in the 21st century.

N is for ... Nonlocality

When two quantum particles are entangled, it can also be said they are “nonlocal”: their physical proximity does not affect the way their quantum states are linked.

D is for ... Decoherence

Unless it is carefully isolated, a quantum system will “leak” information into its surroundings. This can destroy delicate states such as superposition and entanglement.

U is for ... Universe

To many researchers, the universe behaves like a gigantic quantum computer that is busy processing all the information it contains.

A is for ... Alice and Bob

In quantum experiments, these are the names traditionally given to the people transmitting and receiving information. In quantum cryptography, an eavesdropper called Eve tries to intercept the information.

Q is for ... Qubit

One quantum bit of information is known as a qubit (pronounced Q-bit). The ability of quantum particles to exist in many different states at once means a single quantum object can represent multiple qubits at once, opening up the possibility of extremely fast information processing.

K is for ... Kaon

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L is for ... Large Hadron Collider (LHC)

At CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, this machine is smashing apart particles in order to discover their constituent parts and the quantum laws that govern their behaviour.

W is for ... Wavefunction

The mathematics of quantum theory associates each quantum object with a wavefunction that appears in the Schrödinger equation and gives the probability of finding it in any given state.

M is for ... Multiverse

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E is for ... Entanglement

When two quantum objects interact, the information they contain becomes shared. This can result in a kind of link between them, where an action performed on one will affect the outcome of an action performed on the other. This “entanglement” applies even if the two particles are half a universe apart.

P is for ... Planck's Constant

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H is for ... Hawking Radiation

In 1975, Stephen Hawking showed that the principles of quantum mechanics would mean that a black hole emits a slow stream of particles and would eventually evaporate.

I is for ... Interferometer

Some of the strangest characteristics of quantum theory can be demonstrated by firing a photon into an interferometer: the device’s output is a pattern that can only be explained by the photon passing simultaneously through two widely-separated slits.

R is for ... Reality

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W is for ... Wave-particle duality

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C is for ... Cryptography

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A is for ... Act of observation

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L is for ... Light

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O is for ... Objective reality

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D is for ... Dice

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B is for ... Bose-Einstein Condensate (BEC)

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T is for ... Teleportation

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P is for ... Probability

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H is for ... Hidden Variables

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G is for ... Gluon

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U is for ... Uncertainty Principle

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J is for ... Josephson Junction

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Y is for ... Young's Double Slit Experiment

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R is for ... Radioactivity

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T is for ... Tunnelling

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F is for ... Free Will

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R is for ... Randomness

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A is for ... Atom

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Z is for ... Zero-point energy

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M is for ... Many Worlds Theory

Some researchers think the best way to explain the strange characteristics of the quantum world is to allow that each quantum event creates a new universe.

S is for ... Schrödinger Equation

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S is for ... Superposition

Quantum objects can exist in two or more states at once: an electron in superposition, for example, can simultaneously move clockwise and anticlockwise around a ring-shaped conductor.

Q is for ... Quantum biology

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X is for ... X-ray

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B is for ... Bell's Theorem

In 1964, John Bell came up with a way of testing whether quantum theory was a true reflection of reality. In 1982, the results came in – and the world has never been the same since!