The road to the multiverse

Are we alone? Is there another me out there? People have pondered these questions since the dawn of humanity. In the last century scientists have begun to approach this question, basing hypotheses on complex mathematical structures. These theories describe vast multiverses and alternate realities that challenge the boundaries of the imagination. It is important to note that these hypotheses are untestable and therefore unfalsifiable, so scientifically speaking they have no value. Even so, we cannot help but wonder what lies beyond the cosmic horizon.

Level I: the infinite universe

You’ve probably heard that the universe is expanding, that space itself is growing. But what if it continues to expand forever? If the universe were infinitely large, chances are there would be another you out there. In fact, if space were truly infinite, all possibilities would be realized. Somewhere beyond the cosmological horizon would exist Earths where cats flew, people were purple, and you were the supreme ruler of the world. Some versions of you would be very similar, while others would be hardly recognizable. Next time you‘re feeling down, just remember that somewhere you could be on top of the world.

Scientists believe there may exist other Earths beyond the cosmic horizon. Sociologists debate whether these space-humans would be able to agree about anything either.

Level II: different physical constants

Imagine our universe as a bubble of space in a larger medium, an air pocket in a loaf of bread. Each bubble contains a separate universe with varying amounts of matter. Here’s the crazy part: like air pockets in bread, each bubble forms differently, giving each world different physical constants. In some universes atoms could be as big as elephants and water as dense as lead. Light could travel at different speeds, and gravity could be half as strong. These new constants could transform stars and galaxies or prevent their existence altogether.

An artist’s impression of a level II multiverse. One of these bubbles would contain everything in our universe except Kanye West’s ego, which would consume at least three or four additional worlds.

Level III: the many-worlds interpretation

Quantum (sub-atomic) particles exist in multiple states: they occupy many locations at once. When we observe them, however, they appear in just one. How can the particles show up in only one location when we know they exist in other places as well? According to the many-worlds interpretation, they still exist in all states—just in alternate realities. The theory posits that observing a quantum event splits the universe into a series of alternate worlds in which every possibility is realized. This means that observing a particle creates a parallel universe for every place it could appear. Though we see the particle in only one place, it occupies all locations across the spectrum of alternate realities. Perhaps even stranger is that the power to split the universe lies in the blink of an eye.

Level IV: new laws of physics

Our universe seems to be governed by a precise set of mathematical equations, but would other universes have the same laws? Under this hypothesis their physics could be entirely different.  Similar to the level II multiverse, this theory takes the idea a step further by suggesting that the equations could come to new equilibria, that our laws of physics are just one of many, possibly infinite possibilities. These other universes would look and function in ways beyond the scope of the human imagination and feature creations the likes of which we have never seen.

Different laws of physics could alter the universe in inconceivable ways. Scientists agree the only thing to remain unaffected would be the lines at the DMV.

So what do you think of these multiverse hypotheses? Is it strange to think there could be another you? Let me know in the comments section below! As always, please like, share, or reblog this post if you enjoy it. Be sure to check me out on Twitter and Facebook as well. Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to subscribe for new content every Wednesday!

Want more cool science stuff? Click here to read Five Mind-blowing Secrets of Outer Space!

Itching to learn more about quantum mechanics? Click here to read Three Amazing Facts About the Quantum World!

Click here to read last week’s post: Four Weird Things You Did as a Kid!

 

Comment question of the week

Which multiverse theory is most mind blowing?

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3 thoughts on “The road to the multiverse

  1. Pingback: Multiverse – An array of universes! | Rajkamal Mohanram's Blog

  2. the concept of parallel universes has fascinated me for the last 15 years. I first came across it when studying material on time travel. One of the theories claimed that time travel was nothing but traveling from one universe to another. This explanation would eliminate the paradox created by the possibility of one going into the past and killing one’s grandfather when he was a kid. Since you traveled into a parallel universe, you could still return to the universe of your origin and exist in it.

    I really feel that we are closer to an answer than we ever have been. It is a great time for scientific and spiritual awakenings to combine and look for an answer to the mysteries of the universe and multi-verse.

    Thanks for a great post 🙂

    • The theory about time travel is very interesting. It would imply that alternate universes exist on a different time scale, which I have never considered.

      Though I feel that mathematicians are close to uncovering even more profound hypotheses about the universe, I question whether these theories will ever become testable. They certainly exceed the limits of current technology, and unless we discover a means of traveling faster than the speed of light it would take an unimaginably long time to travel outside our Hubble volume (our observable universe). I guess all we can do for now is use our imaginations! It’s weird to think that there may be other Earths out there!

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