How to do an infinite number of things before breakfast

 作者:澹台耱炒     |      日期:2019-03-15 07:20:02
By John D. Barrow YOU get up, shower, eat something, clean your teeth and leave the house. It doesn’t sound like much, so why are you always running late? Is it because there’s a physical limit to the number of things you can get done in a fixed amount of time? Sadly, that’s not going to wash as a reason for being late to work. In fact, the laws of physics suggest that your hurried morning routine is as nothing compared with what you could theoretically achieve before your day gets going. You can, in theory, do an infinite number of things before breakfast. And while research into this “supertasking” is unlikely to speed up your exit from the house, it is no idle speculation: it goes to the heart of modern physics. Build a machine that can do an infinite number of things in a finite time and you may have found a way to probe the fundamental structure of our universe. How’s that for a reason to get out of bed? Hermann Weyl, a contemporary of Einstein, was the first physicist to argue that the possibility of an “infinity machine” should be taken seriously. Although he didn’t believe that such a thing could exist, neither did he manage to prove that it couldn’t. In work published in 1949 he imagined a machine that would complete step one in ½ minute, step two in ¼ minute, step three in 1/8 of a minute,