Make Your Own Universe Kit

I know you are not surprised to see this heading here, after all, isn’t making your own universe what life is all about, especially here at the Slice of Heaven 24-hour Pie Shop and Driving Range?

My own universe, as you may have noticed, seems to focus primarily on pie and golf, but maybe you have other ideas for your personal copyrighted piece of reality. I certainly hope so, and I’d love for you to tell me all about it, perhaps in private, at a later date over a nice piece of virtual-reality pie.

Anyway, I love the idea of a “make your own universe kit” and I hope you will remember this item as the holidays approach, now that my birthday is finally over, and National Novel Writing Month is starting to kick in.

Some of you, though, will immediately recognize this entry as just another foil that I am using to let Schrodinger’s Cat of of the box, dead and alive. Get over it.

By the way, I included the comments section to this purloined New Science blog entry because they just cracked me up, which is not that hard, as you know. For even more examples of the fine art of commenting, take a look at the responses that poured in when Boing Boing ran its own blog entry on this item, too.

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October 31, 2008 2:01 PM

Multiverse machine.jpgThinking about the perfect Christmas present for your egocentric friends? What about a make-your-own-universe kit which will allow them to play God and create an unlimited number of new worlds. The kit goes on sale next month for $20.
The kit, created by Jonathon Keats – a conceptual artist from San Francisco – relies on the multiverse theory of the universe that arises from quantum mechanics.

If two events are possible, quantum theory assumes that both occur simultaneously – until an observer determines the outcome. For example, in Schrödinger’s famous thought experiment, in which his cat may have been killed with a 50 per cent probability, the cat is both alive and dead until someone checks. When the observation is made, the universe splits into two, one for each possible outcome. For example, Schrödinger’s cat would be alive in one universe and dead in the other universe.

According to the theory, any kind of measurement causes the universe to split and this is the basis of Keats’ new device. 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.

Given the rate at which Uranium decays, Keats’ claims this should allow users to create literally trillions of universes. The device will go on sale at the Modernism Gallery in San Francisco on 20 November.

David Robson
New Scientist intern

Categories: Physics & Maths


All comments should respect the New Scientist House Rules. If you think a particular comment breaks these rules then please let us know, quoting the comment in question.

The outer glass blocks alphas. UR DOIN

Look up spinthariscope, this is 100+ years

The scintillator will catch gammas occasionally

i’m in ur universe, pwning yur species

could you not just put a cat in a box and leave it there a while to achieve the same results?

Ah. More badly worded, misleading tripe. Shouldn’t anyone writing for New Scientist really, you know, know a bit about science?

By Andy Baker on November 1, 2008 11:02 AM
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