The Scientist’s Son

| 1/31/2008 3:51:29 PM

Tags: Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives, universe, quantum, physics, Eels, Mark Everett, Hugh Everett, BBC, documentary,

Eels frontman Mark Everett has been seriously busy of late. Not only does his band have two new CDs out, but Everett also recently narrated a BBC documentary about his father, Hugh Everett III, a well-known quantum physicist. The defining theory of Hugh Everett’s career was based on the idea that there are innumerable universes paralleling our own. He argued that every time the universe splits, which it is constantly doing on the quantum level, a new universe is born. In 1957, when Hugh Everett released his seminal paper on the subject, his ideas were met with criticism and even derision by the quantum physics community. He was so frustrated with the response that he withdrew entirely from academia and his family. An article for the BBC looks at the estrangement between father and son, a major motivation for Mark Everett in making the documentary. The film follows him across the United States as he interviews colleagues, followers, and critics of his father, who died in 1982, in an attempt to understand his father’s studies and, he hopes, the man he never knew.

Morgan Winters