Life is an illusion, at least on a quantum level, in a theory which has recently been confirmed by a set of researchers.They finally have the means to test John Wheeler’s delayed-choice theory and concluded that the physicist was right.
In 1978, Mr. Wheeler’s proposed experiment involved a moving object that was given the choice to act like a wave or a particle – the former acting as a vibration with a frequency that can distinguish it from other waves and the latter having no frequency that you can determine its position in space, unlike a wave – and at what point does it ‘decide’ to act like one or the other.
At the time, the technology was not available to conduct a strong experiment, but scientists have now been able to carry it out.
Quantum theory suggests that the result can only be measured at the end of the object’s journey, and that is what a team of researchers have found.Physicist Andrew Truscott from the Australian National University (ANU), said: “It proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it.”
To carry out the test, researchers from the Australian institute placed a number of helium atoms in a suspended state known as a ‘Bose-Einstein condensate’.
They then ejected all of the atoms until there was only one atom left. This sole atom was dropped through a pair of laser beams that had a grating affect to act as a crossroads for the travelling atom.
The ANU added: “A second light grating to recombine the paths was randomly added, which led to constructive or destructive interference as if the atom had travelled both paths. When the second light grating was not added, no interference was observed as if the atom chose only one path.”
The fact that the second grating was added after the atom passed through the initial crossroads suggests that the atom had not determined its nature before it was measured for the second time.
Ultimately, the researchers claim, that this shows that future measurement was affecting the atoms path.
Professor Trusscott explains: “The atoms did not travel from A to B. It was only when they were measured at the end of the journey that their wave-like or particle-like behavior was brought into existence.”