Causality is one among those difficult scientific topics which will easily stray into the realm of philosophy. Science’s relationship with the concept began simply enough: an occasion causes another event later in time. That had been the quality understanding of the scientific community up until quantum physics was introduced. Then, with the introduction of the famous “spooky action at a distance” that’s a side effect of the concept of quantum entanglement, scientists began to question that straightforward interpretation of causality.
Now, researchers at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and therefore the University of Oxford have come up with a theory that further challenges that standard view of causality as a linear progress from cause to effect. In their new theoretical structure, cause and effect can sometimes happen in cycles, with the effect actually causing the cause.
The quantum realm itself because it is currently understood is inherently messy. there’s no true understanding of things at that scale, which may be thought of higher as a group of mathematical probabilities instead of actualities. These probabilities don’t exactly lend themselves well to the thought of a particular cause and effect interaction between events either.
The researchers further muddied the waters employing a tool referred to as a unitary transformation. In simple words a unitary transformation may be a fudge wont to solve a number of the maths that’s necessary to know complex quantum systems. With the help of makes solving the famous Schrodinger wave equation possible using real computers.
To give a more complete explanation requires delving a touch into the “space” that quantum physics operates in. In quantum physics, time is just another dimension that has got to be accounted for similarly to how the standard three dimensions of what we expect of as linear space are accounted for. Physicists usually use another mathematical tool called a Hamiltonian to unravel Schrodinger’s equation.
A Hamiltonian, though a mathematical concept, is usually time dependent. However, it’s also a part of the equation that’s changed when a unitary transformation is introduced. As a part of that action, it’s possible to eliminate the time dependency of the Hamiltonian, to form it such, rather than requiring time to travel a particular direction (i.e. for action and reaction to require place linearly), the model turns more into a circle than a line, with action causing reaction and reaction causing action.
If this isn’t all confusing enough, there are some extremely difficult to imagine implications of this model (and to be clear, from a macro level, it’s just a model). One important fact is that this finding has little to no relevance to each day cause and effect. The causes and effects that might be cyclical during this framework “are not local in spacetime”, consistent with the handout from ULB, in order that they are unlikely to possess any impact on day to day life.
Even if it doesn’t have any everyday impact now, this framework could hint at a combined theory of quantum physics and general theory of relativity that has been the foremost wanted prize in physics for many years. If that synthesis is ever fully realized, there’ll be more implications for lifestyle than simply the existential questions of whether we are literally on top of things of our own actions or not.