Permanent url: http://hdl.handle.net/10575/1060
This archive contains a collection of scanned original documents and audio recordings related to Hugh Everett III (November 11, 1930 – July 19, 1982), the American physicist who first proposed what has come to be known as the many-worlds interpretation (MWI) of quantum physics.
These documents include draft and final versions of Everett’s long and short Ph.D. theses and the early notes that led to these published works, Everett’s correspondence regarding his relative state formulation of pure wave mechanics, and miscellaneous biographical material. Most of these documents were discovered in the basement of Mark Everett, Hugh Everett III’s son, in Los Feliz, California by Peter Byrne in 2007 and are published here for the first time.
First published in Reviews of Modern Physics in 1957 as “The ‘Relative State’ Formulation of Quantum Mechanics,” Everett’s theory was not known as the many-worlds interpretation until 1970, and this identification was largely due to Everett’s enthusiastic supporter, physicist Bryce S. DeWitt. Today, the Everett Interpretation of quantum mechanics is one of a handful of serious contenders for explaining the structure of the quantum universe, and arguably provides the best prospects for a satisfactory resolution to the quantum measurement problem. The documents collected here describe the origin and the evolution of Everett’s own understanding of his theory.
This online digital collection was edited by Jeffrey A. Barrett, Peter Byrne, and James O. Weatherall. We would like to thank Samuel Fletcher, Thomas Barrett, and Michelle Light and her staff for their gracious help on this project. This project was supported in part by UC Irvine Libraries and by NSF grant No. SES-0924135.
Biographical and conceptual essays, detailed commentary, and definitive versions of the most important documents in this collection can be found in:
Jeffrey A. Barrett and Peter Byrne (eds) The Everett Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics: Collected Works 1955 - 1980 with Commentary, Princeton University Press (2011).
Jeffrey A. Barrett “Everett's Relative-State Formulation of Quantum Mechanics” in the online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qm-everett/.
Peter Byrne (2010) The Many Worlds of Hugh Everett III: Multiple Universes, Mutual Assured Destruction, and the Meltdown of a Nuclear Family; Oxford University Press, New York.
Jeffrey A. Barrett (1999) The Quantum Mechanics of Minds and Worlds; Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Simon Saunders, Jonathan Barrett, Adrian Kent, David Wallace (2010) Many Worlds?: Everett, Quantum Theory, and Reality; Oxford University Press, Oxford.
The Hugh Everett papers are housed at the American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library & Archives; the recent discoveries will be added to these holdings in the future. This online collection also includes material from other institutions, as noted.
This material is provided for private study, scholarship, or research. Transmission or reproduction of any material protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners and Professor Jeffrey A. Barrett. The author(s) of the material or their heirs retain copyright to this material.