Multiple histories

Multiple histories

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The concept of multiple histories is closely related to the many-worlds interpretation
Many-worlds interpretation
The many-worlds interpretation is an interpretation of quantum mechanics that asserts the objective reality of the universal wavefunction, but denies the actuality of wavefunction collapse. Many-worlds implies that all possible alternative histories and futures are real, each representing an...

 of quantum mechanics
Quantum mechanics
Quantum mechanics, also known as quantum physics or quantum theory, is a branch of physics providing a mathematical description of much of the dual particle-like and wave-like behavior and interactions of energy and matter. It departs from classical mechanics primarily at the atomic and subatomic...

. In the same way that the many-worlds interpretation regards possible futures as having a real existence of their own, the theory of multiple histories reverses this in time to regard the many possible past histories of a given event as having real existence.

This concept was introduced by Richard Feynman
Richard Feynman
Richard Phillips Feynman was an American physicist known for his work in the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics, the theory of quantum electrodynamics and the physics of the superfluidity of supercooled liquid helium, as well as in particle physics...

, whose Feynman path integral is integrated
Integral
Integration is an important concept in mathematics and, together with its inverse, differentiation, is one of the two main operations in calculus...

 over the set of all possible histories.

The idea of multiple histories has also been applied to cosmology
Cosmology
Cosmology is the discipline that deals with the nature of the Universe as a whole. Cosmologists seek to understand the origin, evolution, structure, and ultimate fate of the Universe at large, as well as the natural laws that keep it in order...

, in a theoretical interpretation in which the universe
Universe
The Universe is commonly defined as the totality of everything that exists, including all matter and energy, the planets, stars, galaxies, and the contents of intergalactic space. Definitions and usage vary and similar terms include the cosmos, the world and nature...

 has multiple possible cosmologies, and in which reasoning backwards from the current state of the universe to a quantum superposition of possible cosmic histories makes sense.

See also

  • Consistent histories
    Consistent histories
    In quantum mechanics, the consistent histories approach is intended to give a modern interpretation of quantum mechanics, generalising the conventional Copenhagen interpretation and providing a natural interpretation of quantum cosmology...

  • Fabric of Reality
  • Interpretation of quantum mechanics
    Interpretation of quantum mechanics
    An interpretation of quantum mechanics is a set of statements which attempt to explain how quantum mechanics informs our understanding of nature. Although quantum mechanics has held up to rigorous and thorough experimental testing, many of these experiments are open to different interpretations...

  • Many worlds interpretation
  • Multiverse
    Multiverse
    The multiverse is the hypothetical set of multiple possible universes that together comprise all of reality.Multiverse may also refer to:-In fiction:* Multiverse , the fictional multiverse used by DC Comics...

  • Quantum cosmology
    Quantum cosmology
    In theoretical physics, quantum cosmology is a field attempting to study the effect of quantum mechanics on the formation of the universe, or its early evolution, especially just after the Big Bang...