In October 1967, the TV series 'Star Trek' explored the parallel universe in the episode 'Mirror, Mirror' written by Jerome Bixby. In the episode, Spock was preparing to beam up Captain Kirk, Scott, Dr. McCoy, and Uhura aboard the USS Enterprise from the Halkan home world when a storm passing through the Halkan system transported the four into a parallel universe where the Federation was replaced by an Empire spearheaded by Spock with a goatee.
In 1979, the morning cartoon series, 'SuperFriends' paid homage to the volcano eruption which destroyed the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum back in 79AD. In the episode, 'Universe of Evil', Superman tried to stop Mount Vesuvius from exploding only to find himself switched from his universe of good into a parallel universe of evil. Mount Vesuvius last erupted in 1944, just before the end of World War II.
In October 1996, the TV sitcom, 'Seinfeld' took viewers into the parallel universe known as Bizarro World written by David Mandel when Elaine discovered her latest ex-boyfriend Kevin was the reverse of Jerry who did everything the exact opposite. In one scene, the trio of Jerry, George and Kramer came face to face with their exact opposites Kevin, Gene and Feldman.
"The idea of parallel universes in quantum mechanics has been around since 1957," the Australian professor in physics, Howard Wiseman, told the 'Daily Mail' in 2014. "In the well-known 'Many-Worlds Interpretation', each universe branches into a bunch of new universes every time a quantum measurement is made. All possibilities are therefore realized – in some universes the dinosaur-killing asteroid missed Earth. In others, Australia was colonized by the Portuguese.
"But critics question the reality of these other universes, since they do not influence our universe at all. On this score, our 'Many Interacting Worlds' approach is completely different, as its name implies." The 'Daily Mail' reminded, "The Many Worlds theory was first proposed by Hugh Everett, who said that the ability of quantum particles to occupy 2 states seemingly at once could be explained by both states co-existing in different universes. Instead of a collapse in which quantum particles 'choose' to occupy one state or another, they in fact occupy both, simultaneously."
Dr. Michael Hall added, "The beauty of our approach is that if there is just one world, our theory reduces to Newtonian mechanics, while if there is a gigantic number of worlds it reproduces quantum mechanics. In between it predicts something new that is neither Newton's theory nor quantum theory. We also believe that, in providing a new mental picture of quantum effects, it will be useful in planning experiments to test and exploit quantum phenomena."
At a conference held in Dedham, Massachusetts, back in 1984, fifty scientists met to find out if the universe was one big computer. 'The Los Angeles Times' reported, "The information revolution created by the computer is beginning to have a broad impact on the philosophy of science and on the fundamental way scientists view the world.
"Not only are computers making their way as useful tools in the application of science and of business, they are also starting to reshape basic ideas about how the universe is organized. The change may help scientists solve major problems in physics, biology and chemistry. The notion here is that the universe is one big computer. The scientists met to consider what computers might tell them about physics and biology, and what physics and biology might tell them about how to build computers that think.
"Their goal was to explore the question: What do computers, physics and biology have in common? Among the problems they talked about were evolution and the origin of life, the structure of atoms and molecules, the organization of the brain and neural networks, and the description of a wide variety of physical processes that are lumped together as 'chaos' – defying all efforts to explain them with current mathematics."
Compuer scientist Daniel Hillis: "Maybe chaos is really a computing machine. There’s a sense that something is about to happen in scientific things. We understand a lot more about information than we did 20 years ago (say 1964). This has reverberations in all fields of science. The microscope was a tool for exploring things. The parallel computer will be a tool for us to explore things that are too big for us to figure out."
Computer scientist Joseph Traub: "In the history of science, we’ve always had some kind of model to explain the world. After Newton, it was masses and springs. But computer concepts are now (in 1984) being used to build models in physics and biology. For the next few decades (1990s and beyond), the computer is going to be the paramount paradigm used to build models. It’s going to dominate our lifetimes."
Physicist Stephen Wolfram: "The computer is a useful practical tool; that’s widely appreciated. What's not so well appreciated is that the concepts on which computation is founded may be of considerable significance in understanding all sorts of science. The reason that computer theory can be applied to physics is that physics is just computation. There is actually a chance that there will be a major advance in scientific thought as the result of computational and information ideas."
Biologist Michael Conrad: "Biology is even more complicated. It brings in many modes of thinking that don't fit into mathematics. The amount of information processing in nature is much more than you can fit in any computer." As reported, "Living creatures have some self-organizing principle that maintains their stability despite numerous failures – small and large – along the way.
"Computers have no such principle. In general, the problem is that humans have been constantly learning since birth, and they are somehow able in an instant to find the appropriate bit of practical knowledge to fit most situations. The scientists at the conference here believe that organization is somehow the key to solving the problem, but there are scant ideas for getting a machine to do it.
"Despite small areas of progress (at the time), artificial intelligence, the goal of computer scientists since computers were developed, remains an intractable problem (at the time). As long as the tasks are severely restricted, computers can do them. But when faced with real-world situations, computers fall on their faces (at the time)." Researcher Tad Hogg: "If you change a few atoms in a rock, the rock is still the same. But if you change a computer program just a bit, you get complete garbage out."