Scientists solve perplexing question: Who came first, "chicken or the egg?"

Chicken Pixabay

Ancient Greece philosophers first put forward the 'chicken or egg' paradox to describe the problem of determining cause and effect. Since then, the paradox has perplexed common people, including experts. But, now a team of scientists at the University of Queensland and Neel Institute has finally uncovered the answer to this age-old question.

The researchers who took part in the study revealed that both the chicken and the egg can come first. Experts used various theories in quantum physics to formulate this answer.

Dr Jacqui Romero, a researcher who took part in this study argued that the cause and effect will not be always as straightforward as one event causing another in quantum physics. He also added that events can happen without a proper set of order in quantum physics.

As reported by Romero said, "The weirdness of quantum mechanics means that events can happen without a set order. Take the example of your daily trip to work, where you travel partly by bus and partly by train. Normally, you would take the bus and then the train, or the other way around. In our experiment, both of these events can happen first. This is called 'indefinite causal order' and it isn't something that we can observe in our everyday life."

During the study, researchers used a setup called photonic quantum switch to observe the indefinite casual order in a lab.

"By measuring the polarization of the photons at the output of the quantum switch, we were able to show the order of transformations on the shape of light was not set. This is just a first proof of principle, but on a larger scale, an indefinite causal order can have real practical applications, like making computers more efficient or improving communication," said Dr Fabio Costa, a research team member.

It should be noted that these study results are just based on quantum physics. In 2014, a team of British scientists analyzed the eggshell and determined that proteins are necessary for egg formation. Interestingly, proteins are found in chicken and they concluded that chicken came first. However, the chicken they refer could not be the actual chicken which we see now.

This article was first published on September 6, 2018