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It started about five years ago with a practical chemistry question.

Little did Bill Poirier realize as he delved into the of complex molecules that he would fall down the rabbit hole to discover evidence of other parallel worlds that might well be poking through into our own, showing up at the quantum level.

The Texas Tech University professor of chemistry and biochemistry said that quantum mechanics is a strange realm of reality. Particles at this atomic and subatomic level can appear to be in two places at once. Because the activity of these particles is so iffy, scientists can only describe what's happening mathematically by "drawing" the tiny landscape as a wave of probability.

Chemists like Poirier draw these landscapes to better understand chemical reactions. Despite the "uncertainty" of particle location, quantum wave mechanics allows scientists to make precise predictions. The rules for doing so are well established. At least, they were until Poirier's recent "eureka" moment when he found a completely new way to draw quantum landscapes. Instead of waves, his medium became parallel universes.

Though his theory, called "Many Interacting Worlds," sounds like science fiction, it holds up mathematically.

Originally published in 2010, it has led to a number of invited presentations, peer-reviewed journal articles and a recent invited commentary in the premier physics journal Physical Review.

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