Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives

Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives

Ratings: 8.29/10 from 63 users.

Parallel Worlds, Parallel LivesFollow EELS frontman Mark Oliver Everett on his quest to comprehend the theory of parallel universes while unraveling the remarkable life story of his iconoclastic father Hugh - creator of the radical quantum physics theory - in this installment of the popular PBS series Nova.

Dubbed one of the most important scientists of the 20th century by Scientific American, Hugh Everett III proposed the controversial Many Worlds Theory back in 1957.

The basis of that theory is the idea that parallel universes are constantly spinning off from reality as we know it. Though generally ignored at the time, that theory has gone on to become not just a popular topic of study among respected physicists, but the inspiration for such popular films, television shows, and books as Star Trek and The Golden Compass.

As a young boy growing up, Mark never understood why his father was so distant. It wasn't that Hugh didn't care about his family, just that his brain was constantly swirling with ideas and concepts, and that anything that pulled him out of his own thoughts was considered something of a distraction.

Now the last surviving member of his troubled family, Mark interviews his father's old college friends, colleagues, and admirers - including MIT physicist Max Tegmark - in an emotional journey to not only better understand the man he barely knew in life, but also to gain a greater understanding of the ideas that still inspire physicists to this very day.

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4 years ago

What a wonderful documentary; enlightening, fun, and poignant. Very well edited and the narration is superb. I'll be sharing this with some fellow rock and science weirdos for sure. Thank you for creating this site. I'm just lovin' it.

9 years ago

If we follow the theory of parallel universe then if I am low here I good be high there. So if I which to improve my life now all I need to do it connect and seek the power from the parellel me because after all the parallel me and I are one

toddy potseed
10 years ago

nice doc. The topic especially the math is more than likely over my head. I need to ask those more familiar with the concept these next two things.

So, if i understand the idea of parallel universe's at all those times were i just escaped with a couple of scratches and bruises i may haved died in some universe's.. Also, if the idea of time travel is at all posible then ones destination is not in the starting universe , but another.

10 years ago

It's always made sense to me, even though I really don't understand any of it. This was time well spent.

Smokey Murray
11 years ago

A simply beautiful documentary charting the discovery of ones father and his life, more than the paralel world theory he created. Moving, inspiring, and thought provoking

11 years ago

Mark, so glad you got to know your father even better posthumously. He was a "rock-star" in his universe! He did some very important work aside from his Parallel Universe theory, so you have the right to be very proud of him.
I'm sorry to hear of your loss of your mother and sister too, but I think they
would all be so proud of you and your music accomplishments too!

11 years ago

but of course

11 years ago

music is maths therefore 'e' =genius

12 years ago

Worth a look....funny, smart and well done...........

12 years ago

Pretty good.......I enjoyed it, laughed and learned a lot. Worth a look.

Andre E Bordeleau
12 years ago

I am simply happy that it turned out happy for Mark, sure I am a big fan of his but I have felt an outsiders sadness and pain in him, now knowing of of the tragic family life he has had and how it turns out in this quest for him, well I am happy for him and he his not such a sad guy like he portrays in his music.bonus I get quantum mechanics a little more to since it was explained nicely for a simpleton like me...great doc from BBC!

12 years ago

Anyone read Seth chanelled by Jayne Roberts? Same theory different way of saying it.

12 years ago

I feel better now. While I sit here watching documentaries, my other parallel universe self is busy getting the chores done. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

Yanis Vergos
12 years ago

Great doc. Explains the most fundamental modern physics very simply for everyone to understand.

In a parallel universe of course, i didnt write this because I wouldnt stay home to watch it if my car had worked today. But wait a sec..

So you who read this, right now, exist in my universe, in my reality which formed my thoughts typed here n right now?

That's very interesting. So how could it be that both our universes meet right now?

Its all endless paradox if you think like Schroedinger. And a new challenge to be a great mathematician if you have your own thought on the matter.

Come to think of it, d you know the odds of ur father's single sperm to get all the way into the womb who made u?? less than 1 in the trillion?

12 years ago

Based on current goings on in American politics I would posit the theory of multiple universes is true and unfortunately those multiple universes have collided in our Congress.

12 years ago

The prob I have with this concept of multiple universes is its a serious waste of energy on a universal scale. At every 'quantum event' the theory states that a new universe is created in which the alternate possibility is carried out. This universe and that universe now may have their own quantum events making 4, then 8, then 16... exponentially increasing into infinity. I recall it said in another doc that if you have to invoke infinity in a solution something has gone terribly terribly wrong. Ok, ill buy into a multiverse theory where matter is shared on a quantum level, but not an infinity of split, duplicate universes.

12 years ago

I'll admit its a mind-bending concept to grasp.
It's not that the universe is MADE of math in the strict sense, but that everything we see and interact with can be represented and expressed THROUGH math. Wind, sunlight, heat, the color of gold, all of this can be represented and understood through the use of mathematics and more specifically, Quantum Mechanics. Therefore, the Universe is, technically speaking, made of math.

Reality is what you make of it, but there's still something funny going on at the smallest levels of existence that fascinates and puzzles the greatest (and ordinary heh) minds all over the world.

The proof is in the fact that everything is made up of particles. It would do us no good to just stop there, we'd like to understand the fundamental rules and laws which govern these little bits of matter and energy but the more we look into it, the stranger things become.
This does have profound implications because, as stated, you and I and everything else is made up of particles which, at the smallest level, act very strange as the double slit experiment continues to show today. The questions remain as to how particles can act so strangely on their own, but when they are arranged in a form of say a human or an apple, they obey very simple and logical laws along with a whole host of other odd and unusual behaviors.

Just for the record, I'm not a college student nor am I a professor. I'm a high school graduate currently working full time and training for the military, but I love to study the weird Quantum world every chance I get.

12 years ago

This documentary sucked. There is absolutely no proof for parallel universes.
Theoretical Physics is turning into math and this implies that if you don't understand the math you don't understand reality. What a load of nonsense.
Michio Kaku has even claimed that, "This even affects morals. I mean, why should I obey the law knowing that in some universe, if I comit a crime I'm gonna get away with it." Hey I'd be happy to send him a card in prison. I've heard Max Tegmark claim that the universe is made up totally of math. Rubbish. Again where's the proof? Where are the experiments? I've seen none

12 years ago

Very nice poignant doc.

12 years ago

I really liked the slid experiment in this docu, I finally felt like I understand it completely now. Unlike in the other docus, this one doesn't explain what isn't happning, but only what is happening, and by that I mean that they don't explain what they thought would happen, cause I always mix it all up a week after I have watched it.

Also cool beard, I didnt think the George Michael look would look ok on anyone anymore.

12 years ago

Really cool documentary. As a fan of the Eels; and a layman, but still a fan of quantum mechanics, I found this fascinating.

12 years ago

cool e. The two lines of light are not a presumption. During experimentation there are two lines when the protons are observed passing through the slits, more when not observed. This is why light is considered to behave both like a particle, and a wave. Light protons travel in straight lines.

12 years ago

A great little documentary about one of the most important hypotheses in history. There was something annoyingly smug and irreverant about the son, but that is just me.


Cool E Beans
12 years ago

Good observation, pulunco. Not having your insite I would conclude that the cat is always either dead or alive but not both. This is simply an either or scenario. If the cat is alive when you open it then it never died but if it is dead then the only thing to determine is when did it occur.

It is only a presumption that the protons would make a pattern of two stripes and not necessarily a given. The tennis ball graphic shows the balls being shot out at different angles, thereby passing through the slits and either passing cleanly through or bouncing off of the edges of each slit on one side or the other. If the protons are launched in the same manner, you would have to know if they would bounce off of the edge of a slit and bounce as a tennis ball would.

Another thing you would have to know is the path that it takes. Another presumption is that they leave the laser in a streight line with no variance. What if the normal movement of a proton is spiral in nature. Think of a spring or slinky. The proton leaves the laser along the path of the wire of a slinky moving around in a circle and forward, passing through each slit either on its way up or down through each slit. Due to the frequency of the protons, each one that passes on its way up strikes the film at the top of its path of travel and each one that passes on its way down strikes the film at the bottom of its path of travel. Those protons passing through the bottom slit on their way down would create a low band of hits, the protons passing up through the bottom and down through the top slit would create a middle band and the protons passing through the top slit on their way up would create a high band. None would strike in the middle two areas as these would not have passed through the slits in the first place.

Changing the end distance of the film may be a way to determine if this has any bearing but the adjustment would have to be in fractions of the length of one rotation.

12 years ago

Nice little documentary with a pleasing aesthetic. I don't know, I always thought that the cat itself would act as an observer in the Schrödinger's cat thought experiment.