World learns of MWI (1976)

Sales of the DeWitt-Graham collection were not bad. By February, 1974, a few months after its publication, 485 hardbound and 326 paperbound copies had been sold, more than half of them abroad [87]. The book bore fruit, as Everett began to be mentioned by physicists [105-107], and finally general readers heard of him too—at least, readers of science fiction and the popular magazine Analog [108]. The Everetts were visiting in New York when an issue of Analog including reference to his work appeared. Unfortunately, Everett learned about this issue only later, by which time unsold copies of the magazine had been recycled. But as the result of an inquiry sent to the editors [109], the Everetts apparently obtained some copies, one of which was sent in Princeton, where it created a small furor. A Xerox copy was made for Wheeler, who by then had moved to teach at the University of Texas in Austin [110].

Before long the many-worlds view became a whole branch of science fiction, and posthumously Everett himself became a character in stories and novels [111-113, etc.]. As usual, it seems that writers invented it all before the scientists. Fans have found in a 1938 story by half-forgotten Jack Williamson, "The Legion of Time," this statement: "Geodesics have an infinite proliferation of possible branches, at the whim of subatomic indeterminism" [114]. Other many-world stories appeared early, including Philip K. Dick's "Captive Market," written in 1954 and published in April, 1955 [114a]. However, the science-fiction ideas were more anti-Everettian than either pre- or pro-Everettian: The principal distinction is that an Everettian observer can observe only one branch world. (The next conceptual revolution was proposed only in 2000 [114b], but that is quite another subject.)


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