Oxford Prof Nails Parallel Universe Theory ... Also Doesn't

The Recording Industry Association of America may have a new fight on its hands: copyrighted music seeping into parallel universes. That's just one of the implications of research coming out of Oxford University proving mathematically that parallel universes do indeed exist. Could this mean a further decline in music sales?

Probably not, as the decline in music sales is actually the result of extremely awful music generated by the major record labels. And, in fact, just the opposite could be true: Combining the receipts of, say, Nickelback and Corbin Bleu from an infinite number of Target department stores (where all the best music can be found) in a multiverse that continues to propagate indefinitely could show a geometric growth in music sales from fiscal quarter to fiscal quarter. It is unknown at this time whether the RIAA's physics department is working out the implications, which could, in some universes (but probably not this one), lead to an easing up of the RIAA's legal actions against universities.

Aside from solving the impoverished music industry's financial woes, the Oxford research also seems to solve some quantum mechanical difficulties that have perturbed the sorts of folks who get perturbed by these sorts of things for decades.

The research team, led by David Deutsch at Oxford U, demonstrated that the universe branches out into parallel versions of itself in order to address various probabilistic quantum outcomes. (The information was reported in New Scientist. See link below.) Hence it might actually be a good idea to buy that extended warranty because in some version of the future you'll actually need it. This reporter will also start buying lottery tickets so that some version of us can retire and open up that used bookstore we've been thinking would be a nice way to pass the time until some version of us gets selected for the first mission to Mars manned entirely by sarcastic journalists.

The concept now widely known as the "many-worlds interpretation of quantum physics" was first proposed in 1957 by the American physicist Hugh Everett III out of Princeton University. It had become a tired concept in science fiction by about 1967, although, along with pocket universes and kill-your-own-grandpa time paradoxes, it remained a popular topic at college-age parties through about 1978.

In other news, researchers at the parallel Oxford University found that parallel universes do not exist, thus negating our own universe, if this reporter reads his Schrödinger correctly. So nevermind.

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About the Author

David Nagel is editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Technology Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal and STEAM Universe. A 25-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at or follow him on Twitter at @THEJournalDave (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education).


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