Toward the End of Time Historical Context

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Quantum Physics

Concepts connected to quantum physics and quantum mechanics are suggested in Updike's novel Toward the End of Time. On the quantum (or submicroscopic) level of existence, scientists have discovered that tiny bits of matter, such as electrons and protons, have indeterminate being. This means they may or may not exist. They exist as probabilities. In Newtonian physics, larger objects are said to either exist or not exist, but they do not exist as probabilities.

When extremely small bits of matter can be measured, they are said to exist. Scientists have shown that when quantum particles are not seen or cannot be measured, they exist only in what is referred to as potential reality. An electron, for example, can exist in multiple possibilities of realities, like a cloud of possibilities, and is, therefore, said to exist in a superposition. This is true, however, only as long as...

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This section contains 686 words
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Buy the Toward the End of Time Study Guide
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