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What if there is only one but time-traveling electron in the entire Universe?


Few have tried to explain why it is impossible to distinguish one electron from another, but the One-Electron-Universe theory attempts just that — and if this hypothesis is true, it has insane consequences.


John Archibald Wheeler (1911 - 2008) was an American theoretical physicist who, according to experts in the field, was brilliant, but despite his achievements, his mind had not gained enough fame. Yet Wheeler revived interest in general relativity after World War II, working with Niels Bohr to develop the principles behind nuclear fission and describing the Breit-Wheeler process with Gregory Breit. In addition, Wheeler first used the term black hole for bodies collapsing into their own gravity, and the word wormhole (or wormhole) comes from it. And he originally created One-Electron Theory as well.


Typically, he did not really make the theory known, but Richard Phillips Feynman, a PhD student who later won the Nobel Prize. Feynman spoke of a telephone conversation in 1965 when he received the award, during which Wheeler explained why it was impossible to distinguish one electron from another. To understand this to some extent, we must first know that electrons have the same mass, charge, and even speed, and many other properties. Most physicists simply accept that this is because the Universe is built and works this way: electrons are exactly the same, that is. At the same time, there are those like Wheeler who think about this fact very seriously and also use their imagination to answer it.


So, in that telephone conversation, which occurred in the spring of 1940, Wheeler said that all electrons are the same because there is, in fact, only one electron. And this one electron can move in time, so it can be present in several atoms. Wheeler believed that as light can cause an electron to move in space, there can be an interaction that causes the electron to start moving in time. However, the theory does not stop here, as there is another consequence of this: the electron traveling backwards in time is the positron, which can be compared to the electron both in mass and in many other properties, except for the charge. In other words, not only is one electron the same for all electrons, but this electron travels back in time for all positrons. Although the whole idea is more of an experiment in thought,


Of course, the question arises as to why this theory is true only for electrons when most of the subatomic particles are indistinguishable from each other. The theoretical physicist Nanbu Jóicsiró also applied this to all particle-anti-particle pairs, which according to them neither form nor disappear, their direction of travel simply changes over time.


Going back to the one-electron: what is the truth about it? Wheeler’s theory is an elegant explanation for a problem that many did not even see as a problem until then. In addition, it adds only a new feature to the image of the electron we have known so far: that it can travel not only in space but also in time. Of course, there are problems, the most significant of which is that according to the theory, every time an electron travels back and forth in time, a positron also appears, so the number of electrons and the number of positrons should be the same. However, this is not the case, there is much more to an electron than a positron. Feynman allegedly raised this with Wheeler, who replied that the missing positrons might be hidden inside the protons. But the answer may be that it is only in the case of the Universe we observe that there are more electrons.


Wheeler, by the way, was nearly certain that his thought experiment did not reflect actual quantum reality, but suppose it was true nonetheless. Moreover, this statement is true for all indistinguishable subatomic particles! And such an assumption, if nothing else, certainly shows how easy it is to traverse from the crazy and absurd world of quantum mechanics to the realm of philosophy. For if the same atom is found in every human being, and even in the stone, in the tree, in the Sun, what does it tell us about the individual? If this electron (or other particle) from which we are all made is actually the same single particle, what does this say about passing away, death? And what does he say about life in the end?


(Source: IE, Gizmodo)

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