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Physicists solve an ancient riddle: the chicken or the egg

(AP)

It is the age-old question that always sparks debate.

The “chicken or egg” paradox was first proposed by philosophers in Ancient Greece to describe the problem of the determination of cause-and-effect.

Now a team of physicists from The University of Queensland and the NÉEL Institute

it has been demonstrated that the chicken and the egg both come first.

Still don’t understand it? The answer lies in quantum physics. We let the experts explain.

Dr Jacqui Romero said that in quantum physics the cause-and-effect was not always as simple as one event causing another.

“The weirdness of quantum mechanics means that events can happen without a set order,” Dr. Romero said. “Take the example of your daily journey to work, where you travel partly by bus and partly by train.

“Normally you would take the bus than the train or the other way around. In our experiment, both of these events could happen first.

“This is the so-called” indefinite causal order ” and it is not something that we can observe in our daily lives.”

To observe this effect in the lab, the researchers used a set-up, a so-called photonic quantum switch.

Dr. Fabio Costa said that with this device the sequence of events — transformations in the form of light depending on the polarization.

“By measuring the polarization of the photons at the output of the quantum switch, we were able to arrange the order of the transformations of the shape of the light,” he said.

“This is just a first proof of principle, but on a larger scale in an indefinite causal order can be really practical uses, such as making computers more efficient or improving communication.”

Still in the war?

This research is, of course, the physics-based, in contrast to others that claimed to have scientifically proved the chicken came first with the help of other methods.

In 2014, British scientists used a supercomputer to look in such detail at a chicken eggshell that they were able to determine the vital role of a protein used for a kickstart of the egg-formation.

That protein is only found in — you guessed it — a chicken.

But chickens don’t really start as the chickens anyway.

The first chicken in the existence would be the result of a genetic mutation occurs in a zygote produced by two almost-chickens.

With amniotic eggs to see around 340 million years ago, and the first chickens are evolving at approximately 58 thousand years ago, at the earliest, others believe that the safe bet is the egg came first.

Sorry if we can’t really help with the troubleshooting of the table argument!

This story was previously published in the news.com.au.

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