Physicists Solve ‘Which Came First the Chicken or the Egg’ Riddle
The cause and effect paradox has stumped philosophers since Ancient Greece. Using quantum mechanics, a team of physicists from The University of Queensland and the Néel Institute say the the answer is both: the chicken AND the egg.
“In our experiment, both of these events can happen first. The weirdness of quantum mechanics means that events can happen without a set order. This is called ‘indefinite causal order’ and it isn’t something that we can observe in our everyday life.” Dr. Jacqui Romero, via Fox News
Researchers used what’s called a photonic quantum switch to observe the effect in the lab.
The device reads the order of event as “transformations on the shape of light.” With the device, the order of events depends on what researchers refer to as “polarization.”
“By measuring the polarization of the photons at the output of the quantum switch, we were able to show the order of transformations on the shape of light was not set.” – Dr Fabio Costa, via Fox News
Biologists may shake their heads at a physics explanation for the chicken and egg conundrum. They contend that biological evidence shows the safe bet is that the egg came first. Physicists, however, point to important future applications of the idea that both the chicken and the egg came first.
“… on a larger scale, indefinite causal order can have real practical applications, like making computers more efficient or improving communication.” – Dr Fabio Costa, via Fox News