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You may or may not have heard the music of the American indie rock band Eels – the creation of multi-instrumentalist/songwriter Mark Oliver Everett (also known simply as “E”) – though if you haven’t, do yourself a favour. One of the interesting facets of E’s life is that his father was Hugh Everett, a mathematics genius who originated the “many-worlds” interpretation of quantum physics, a theory which essentially suggests that each time a decision is made a parallel universe branches off, creating a very large (perhaps infinite) number of parallel universes. Thus, everything that could possibly have happened in our past but didn’t, *has* occurred in the past of another parallel universe. Many-worlds is now considered a mainstream theory in quantum physics.

However, Hugh Everett was a very distant father, and he died prematurely in 1982, when Mark Everett was just 19. In a wonderful, witty documentary, Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives, Mark goes in search of his father and his research into parallel worlds by visiting old friends, talking to modern quantum physicists, and looking through his father’s old documents and audio tapes. I highly recommend it – it both educates the viewer about the many-worlds interpretation, and tells an honest (and rather sad) personal story at the same time. I’ve embedded the entire documentary – posted to Vimeo by Mark Everett himself – below for ease of viewing:

If Mark Everett’s life and music (which features throughout the documentary) interest you, you might also like to pick up a copy of his acclaimed book Things the Grandchildren Should Know (Amazon US and US). And definitely grab some Eels albums while you’re at it…