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Events in the future can affect what happened in the past

The weirdness of the quantum world is well documented. The double slit experiment, showing that light behaves as both a wave and a particle, is odd enough – particularly when it is shown that observing it makes it one or the other.

But it gets stranger. According to an experiment proposed by the physicist John Wheeler in 1978 and carried out by researchers in 2007, observing a particle now can change what happened to another one – in the past.

According to the double slit experiment, if you observe which of two slits light passes through, you force it to behave like a particle. If you don’t, and observe where it lands on a screen behind the slits, it behaves like a wave.

But if you wait for it to pass through the slit, and then observe which way it came through, it will retroactively force it to have passed through one or the other. In other words, causality is working backwards: the present is affecting the past.

Of course in the lab this only has an effect over indescribably tiny fractions of a second. But Wheeler suggested that light from distant stars that has bent around a gravitational well in between could be observed in the same way: which could mean that observing something now and changing what happened thousands, or even millions, of years in the past.

- The 10 Weirdest Physics Facts From Relativity to Quantum Physics