As bizarre as it may sound, a new quantum physics experiment by physicists from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh has suggested that objective reality may not exist after all. While this idea was once only a theory, it has now been taken into the lab and tested.
As Science Alert reports, the new experiment has shown that in the world of quantum physics, two different people can witness the same event occurring and note different outcomes, and neither of these two perceived events may be incorrect.
The physicist Eugene Wigner was the first scientist to hit on this topic when he suggested back in 1961 that one of the odder thought experiments in quantum mechanics involved the idea that two individuals, in this case Wigner and Wigner’s friend, could observe two different realities, with neither individual technically being wrong.
Since this thought experiment in quantum physics was first proposed, physicists have called this theory “Wigner’s Friend,” and have sought to determine for themselves whether objective facts really exist in life. Because objective facts can theoretically be proven by scientists in a laboratory, it makes sense that they would be important.
However, according to this thought experiment, if two people see two different realities taking place, it would be quite impossible to agree on which one is seeing the correct reality.
New Quantum Physics Experiment Suggests That Reality Isn't Objective https://t.co/1pIM7T7d4m
— ScienceAlert (@ScienceAlert) March 12, 2019
Now for the first time, Massimiliano Proietti and fellow physicists have performed this famous quantum physics thought experiment for themselves by creating two alternative realities and then comparing these two worlds. After their experiment, the physicists determined that Wigner was absolutely correct with his suggestion that two people can disagree on the realities that they are witnessing, showing that even simple and objective facts can’t be agreed upon.
In the new experiment at Heriot-Watt University, physicists used lasers, beam splitters, and six photons to test out Wigner’s theory, and had two scientists study a single photon, which appears to viewers as either a wave or a particle.
Even though this photon could take on either of these two guises, it remains in a superposition of both, at least until it is measured. In this case, the two scientists who witnessed the photon could not agree on what they were seeing and the objective reality of its alignment as both scientists observed something different.
While other physicists have attempted to recreate this experiment of themselves, this is the first time that such an experiment has been successful. However, it is important to remember that this new research has still not been analyzed by other academics just yet, but will no doubt be thoroughly studied in the future.
The new quantum physics study which has suggested that objective reality may not exist is currently available on the preprint server arXiv.