We don't need to understand quantum physicsentirely in order to appreciate it. Even those who have devoted their lives to thestudy of the universe and its atomic structurewill admit that many mysteries remain. Well, I love mysteries, so let's set the scene for this one...

There's a Big Bang. "Whoosh!" go all the molecules. Much swirling commences. Fast forward 12 billion years (give or take a billion)to present day. People all over the world watch sci-fi movies, read physics texts, attendharmonic convergence gatherings, study nanotechnology, and gaze at the stars. Our questions: How did we get here? Who are we? Where is here? Why? What next?

If you’re expecting quantum theory to answerthose questions, you’re going to be disappointed. However, it does give us some heady new ways toanticipate those answers.

Let’s take a look at some terms. Back in the fifth century BC, our Greek friend Democritus had the idea that all matter is ultimately madeup of tiny grains that cannot be divided into smaller pieces. He called these little pieces“atoms” for the Greek phrase “a-tomos” which means “uncuttable”.

Poor Democritus didn’t have the advantageof sophisticated microscopes, so it’s not surprising that, centuries later, it was discovered that atoms are actually cuttable. In fact, atoms are themselves made up of tiny particles we’ve dubbed neutrons, protons, electrons and neutrinos.

But it doesn’t stop there. Now we’re thinkingthat leptons, along with quarks, are the tiniestof particles of all and currently consideredthe ultimate building blocks of nature.

Since we keep finding particles inside particles and adding new names to pieces ofatoms, it’s easier to refer to the smallest chunks into which something can be dividedas quanta. The German physicist Max Planck first proposed that energy might come in little pieces called quanta back in the early1900s. So when we talk about quantumtheory, we’re just referring to the wholeset of ideas surrounding the microscopicworld of atoms.

Along comes Albert Einstein, who recognizesthat this whole idea of quantum physicsturns classical physics on its head and spinsit around. Here all these scientists haddeveloped theories and precise formulas forcalculating predictably and consistently the ways in which bodies move. Now there’s this idea that little particles actually behavein ways we can’t predict with certainty.

These tiny quanta are mysterious. They respondsometimes as particles, and sometimes as waves, and we can’t always tell which way they’re goingto go. If a particle is traveling from point A to point B, we can guess its path, but thetinier the particle, the less sure we are thatthat exact path is the one taken. In fact—hold on to your hat here—we’ve come to understand that not only do we not know the exact path, but that the particles may actually be in twoplaces at once.

Think that’s radical? Back in 1957, a Princetongraduate student named Hugh Everett proposed what is called the “Many Worlds” interpretation. According to his dissertation, quantum theory (the variable behavior of atoms) is true not just for atoms but for everything—like tables, flower pots, SUVs, and even people. Everett was actually stating that these big things could, like tiny pieces of atoms, be in many places at once.

It gets wilder. Everett hypothesized that ifyou observe a sports utility vehicle (SUV) whichis in two places at once, your mind will alsoend up in two states at once—one which perceivesthat SUV in one place, and another which perceives it in another place! So, really, therewould be two versions of you and each one wouldperceive a world in which there is a differentversion of the SUV. Not only that, but thesetwo selves and these two SUVs don’t exist ina vacuum. They actually interact with each other!

This whole concept of multiple realities was abig boon for science fiction writers. The truth is that these ideas are generally considered plausible but not in relation to the large-scale world. We don’t have a way of manifesting alternate universes full of multiple SUVs (thankfully) so we can’t really test it.

But there is one area of the Big World (thatwhich we can see without microscopes) that willbe completely revolutionized by quantum theory,and that’s the development of quantum computers.In quantum computers, experimenters are taking advantage of the ability of particles such as atoms to be in many places at once to do many calculations simultaneously.

Talk about high-speed connections. Quantum computers could solve in seconds problems thatwould take conventional computers millions of years to decipher.

We’re talking WAY beyond quickly downloadingyour email, obviously. What does this mean for the world? What will these quantum computers do? The staggering truth is that a quantum computer will actually perform in different realities—it will be engaging hugenumbers of versions of other computers in alternate universes.

Freaky, huh? But real, and coming soon—or at least, eventually.

Next time you find yourself daydreamingabout how your life could be different, ramp it upa notch. Think about quantum physics and theMany Worlds theory. Consider that your lifemight already be different in some other reality! If it’s possible that it exists exactly as you dream it, there’s no reason you can’t create it here. And heck, you only have to do it in one universe. Piece of cake!

Make that multiple pieces.

Author's Bio: 

Maya Talisman Frost is a mind masseuse. Her work has inspired thinkers in over 90 countries. To subscribe to her free weekly ezine, the Friday Mind Massage, visit www.massageyourmind.com.