Artist’s kit offers chance to produce trillions of new universes

by Denyse O’Leary

But caution: You will never know if you created a Heaven or a Hell, and do you really want that on your conscience?

"$20 kit produces trillions of universes," according to Boing Boing, a "directory of wonderful things".

This instant universes kit is the brainchild of San Francisco conceptual artist Jonathon Keats, and it is based on a controversial interpretation of quantum mechanics: Any measurement causes the universe to split in two, one in which the quantum particle was measured to be here and the other in which it was measured to be there. Short Sharp Science explains,

His universe creator uses a piece of uranium-doped glass to create a steam of alpha particles, which are then detected using a thin sliver of scintillating crystal. Each detection causes the creation of a new universe.

Get yours at the Modernism Gallery in San Francisco, courtesy Keats’s Miracle Works: Art for Deities. Start making mini universes and surprise your friends with a truly unique pile of knick knacks ….

Here are some thumbnails of Keats’s interesting work. See also:

Can reincarnation save Schrodinger’s cat?

Could God live in an infinite sea of universes? It depends …

Quantum mechanics: Could cosmic microwave background show that it is wrong? Also just up at Colliding Universes:

A theory of "almost" everything is the best we can do?

Alfred Russel Wallace on why Mars is not habitable

How can extra dimensions of space be detected?

"When I say it, it’s science, when he says it, it’s religion!"

3 thoughts on “Artist’s kit offers chance to produce trillions of new universes

  1. I thought the last article was funny.
    Penrose apparently disclaimed any theological interest to Brean….
    With due respect to Sir Roger, I do not believe that. Such disclaimers belong in the same category as journalists’ claims to be ‘objective’: they never have been true and never could be.
    How exactly do you think cosmology works, Ms. O’Leary? Do you think physicists just pluck stuff out of thin metaphysics because it sounds nifty-doodle? In fact, hypothetical propositions have to be consistent with theory up to the point of proposition, or they must include alternative theory to that accepted until that point; furthermore they must be distinguishable from alternative hypotheses.
    I find it most amusing that religionists (note: not the same as religious people in general) can complain that “postmodernism” reads ridiculous interpretations into things (deconstruction, anyone?) and then turn around and, without batting an eyelash, start basting mathematical equations with all manner of juicy religious subtexts!
    Believe it or not, actual scientists engaged in actual research, whether they’re atheists or not, do not typically walk around worrying about how their work will influence technically irrelevant belief systems, and tweaking or throwing them out because of the results.
    Democritus was not a physicist by any modern definition, despite the fact that he originated the idea of the atom as an indivisible unit of ‘stuff’, he did not produce testable, rigorously self-consistent theories for anyone to build on or modify with further research. And just because there exists a hypothesis in which the universe has a beginning and a hypothesis in which the universe has no beginning, and your religion happens to champion (in a completely unscientific way) the hypothesis that looks true right now, that does not mean that your religion necessarily has anything to do with it. Nor does a continually bouncing universe have anything to do with Hinduism.
    And believe it or not, scientific theories do not rise or fall based upon their alleged metaphysical implications.
    I am in no way intending to imply that science takes place in a contextual vacuum, that scientists become Vulcans when engaged in research, that there is no cultural/historical aspect to the process of science; however, this business of sitting around looking for ways of squeezing religious connotations from scientific concepts like blood from a stone, is at best misguided and pointless, and at worst maliciously misleading.

  2. “And believe it or not, scientific theories do not rise or fall based upon their alleged metaphysical implications.”
    Maybe not. But it’s a possibility. We’re only human, even scientists. As long as nobody gets all Twilight Zone about “proving that there is no God”, that’s cool with me.

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