A question that probably everyone had at some point, heavily debated over the years, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” might get a surprising answer from quantum physics: perhaps both. A new research conducted by the University of Queensland and the NEEL Institute team was posted last week in “Physical Reviews Letters”.
A new approach to answer this old dilemma
Physicists from France and Australia are trying to solve this riddle from a different angle. The new approach involves using quantum physics. Jacqui Romero, who is a researcher from the University of Queensland, stated that in quantum physics things can happen without any determined order. Romero mentioned that in the experiment conducted by the team of scientists, two different events that would normally occur one after another can happen both at the same time. This is known as “indefinite causal order” and as you can probably guess, it is not something that we can notice in our daily lives.
A photonic quantum switch was used by researchers in order to be able to observe “both” occurrences of indefinite causal order. What was found was something quite strange and interesting. As Adrian Cho from the Science magazine noted, it is not possible to say in which order two events take place. This may sound incredible to our ears, since we would have to get rid of the notion of before and after.
This is not the first time when quantum physics is suggesting funny things. It was shown before that electrons can exist at two different places at the same time. The magazine said that similarly to this, a diagonally polarized photon can actually act in two distinct ways at once, which means that both events are, in fact, happening first.