Multiverse – have astronomers found evidence?
In a study by the UK’s Royal Astronomical Society, there has been an evidence of a ‘cold spot’ in the universe, discovered by NASA’s WMAP satellite in 2004 and ten later confirmed by ESA’s Planck Mission. Most astronomers and cosmologists believe that this phenomenon is mathematically difficult to explain by the inflation theory. While Professor Tom Shanks of Durham University explains that an unlikely fluctuation cannot by ruled out, more exotic explanations such as a collision between our universe and another might suggest this to be first real evidence for the multiverse theory.
What lies beyond what is visible and humanly, or otherwise, perceivable? Brian Greene, a theoretical physicist and the author of “The Hidden Reality” explains one of the most mind-blowing theories: The Multiverse. This theory supposes that there are an infinite number of separate universes parallel to ours. He proposes not one, but nine types of multiverse theories, ranging from an ever extending universe with infinite domains similar to ours, to cyclic universes and a super-fast accelerating expanding universe. The article by George Ellis argues that since these types are all mutually exclusive, there is no way yet to test the correct theory. He also argues that if the cosmological constants were any different, the galaxies would not exist. However, probabilistic arguments only make sense if these universes actually exist. Although the multiverse argument is a well-founded philosophical proposal, it cannot be tested and thus, does not belong in the scientific fold.
As the theoretical support to the string theory, a unique 11-dimensional theory advances, Weinberg’s prediction about the value of cosmological constants varying from place to place in a very large universe simultaneously solidifies. If held true, it would imply that the eternal inflation of the universe would produce an large spacetime volume. This inflation would never end thus the vacua of string theory would produce ‘pocket universes’ which would expand eternally, creating a multiverse. If the fundamental laws of physics vary from place to place, how would we make the predictions that we so base our knowledge of science on. The infinite universe, containing infinite pocket universes is a major obstacle for making these predictions. The prediction that time could end sounds bizarre, however, it does not contradict the theory even if the probability of encountering such an event may be small, and thus, if we want to avoid the ‘end of time’ conclusion of the theory, it would require a radical change in our thinking about the measure.
13.7 billion years ago, a condensed bubble the size smaller than a pin head grew, and grew exponentially into what is now known as the observable universe — This was call inflation. Physicists such as Alan Guth himself have found out that unlike a regular ‘explosion’, it does not slow down; instead it is accelerating through a process termed as “Eternal Inflation.” This theoretical mechanism states that the Universe grows at an accelerating rate for eternity which would lead to an infinite ‘pocket universes’ within our universe. Alan Guth, a Theoretical Physicist, in this article explains how our universe could be a product of inflation. And that eternal inflation is the future of the universe. His assertion that the new observations are generally consistent with the simplest inflationary models only solidifies this claim further.
For about 70 years now, there have been two major non-unified theories: General Relativity —- The theory of everything big; and Quantum Theory — The theory of everything small. Both these theories have been successful in their own frames, but as soon as you try to unify them, things get chaotic and the math doesn’t make sense. According to Michio Kaku, the two theories must have been essentially working together at the instant of the Big Bang when the gravitational forces and temperatures were so violent and powerful that even particles would have been ripped apart. Here, Einsteins theory becomes baseless and quantum theory takes over. i.e. to find the origins of the universe, the two theories need too be unified. Michio Kaku, a well renowned physicist and one of the pioneers in the field, describes our universe as a tiny bubble in a sea of boiling water, calling it a quantum bubble in the sea of universes, i.e. the multiverse.
To understand the universe: all the billions of galaxies, the millions of stars within them, and planets beyond counts, is itself overwhelming. To add to that overwhelming feeling, imagine 10500 possible universes; a multiverse. The multiverse is a contrast to the Theory of Everything, which says that physical laws and particle interaction are all somehow related. It instead portrays our universe as an accident; that what we know as ‘constants’ of nature such as gravity or proton-to-neutron mass ratio, happen to have their values out of pure accident. This article supports the multiverse theory while building up on Max Tegmark’s book Our Mathematical Universe. From seeing the world through a tiny tunnel of our day-to-day lives, Andrew Liddle takes us on a journey. He zooms out, from the current frame of reference of the earth to the universe, and zooms further out, pushing the human brain to its limit, into the multiverse. Each universe, somehow different than the other, exclaiming that everything you see around you, is just a matter of chance.
In March, 2014, a team of physicists and cosmologists announced the very first detection of gravitational waves that were presumably generated in the first instants of the Big Bang. The origins of the universe were in the major news. According to the BICEP2 study, there was less than one in 2 million chance of this being a random occurrence and was thus, hailed as a proof of the Big Bang inflationary theory. This article argues has accused the detection of having “serious flaws”, which could render the analysis incorrect and transforming this detection into a false positive. A careful reanalysis by scientists at Princeton University has concluded that the pattern could be a result of foreground effects without any contribution from gravitational waves. By pointing out these flaws, this article provides an alternative perspective on the multiverse theory and thus, requiring the scientists and theorists to identify a better paradigm that truly describes the origin and future of the Universe.
Why is everything the way it is? What caused our Big Bang? What came before? Is all form of life just insignificant? Our observable universe is a result of an explosion: The Big Bang (now called inflation) which occurred about 13.7 billion years ago. The real question arises from what was before it? How was matter created from nothing? To answer these questions, Max Tegmark, a Theoretical and Cosmological Physicist at MIT, offers an explanation of an infinitely many parallel universes. While admitting that the theory is, “highly controversial” because of its untestability, it remains as one of the very few theories consistent with the inflationary model. Tegmark further categorizes the multiverses into “Levels” with Level 1 being infinite unobservable universes with the same physical laws as ours; Level 2 is made of infinite level 1 multiverses and Level 3 is the “many-worlds” interpretation which pictures multiple realities exploring topics related to quantum entanglement and ‘split-states’. Tegmark’s book is not just science, but informative speculation. However, if his theory of infinite universes is true, it would imply that there are an infinite you’s, along with infinite number of everyone and everything you’ve seen. It would make the multiverses deterministic and imply that any ‘creator’ exist only in imagination. It is this kind of speculation that led Einstein to the theory of General Relativity which was considered highly controversial in the past and it is this kind of speculation which would move the physics for multiverses forward.
Thales of Miletus Source: Wikipedia
Thales of Miletus, a sixth-century greek philosopher asserted that the world is governed by laws. From Archimedes’ simple laws around 200 B.C. to Isaac Newton’s mathematical expression of gravity in 1680s and Laplace’s theory that the world is deterministic and does not need a God to run it. Physicists like Stephen Hawking and Mlodinow describe our universe as a “miracle” for having the laws of physics that allow for a hospitable Universe — one in which for every 1 billion and one matter particles for every billion ant-matter particles, where the gravitational constant is just right and where carbon-based organisms have evolved. This article argues that such a Universe would not have been possible if the constants of nature were any different. Hawking and Mlodinow explain that the Inflationary Theory where a very young Universe blows up into a vast , geometrically flat universe we see today, has a verified basis thus, implying that inflation and M-theory, together form the much debated, but theoretically verifiable, Multiverse Theory.
What if each decision you’ve ever made could be summed into a model? What if every decision of every person or thing in this entirety of the universe could be portrayed this way? Hugh Evertt, in his doctoral thesis proposed that each event ‘splits’ the Universe, resulting in an endless number of separate, mutually exclusive histories. Since then, this notion has become a basis of science fiction and fantasy. Writers outside the world of science fiction have viewed this multiplicity of worlds as more of a concept of philosophy than physics. Gary Wolfe, in his article, describes how the multiverse theory is portrayed in science fiction. He also explains how most science fiction writers tend to get a few theories wrong, but some of them stay updated with the current theories and go so far as to support their claims by providing calculations. He also supports the fact that these speculations about the multiverse, while not fully tested, provide a dialogue between theoretical physicists and fiction writers, making it a “romantic imagination working perfectly efficiently in both arts and sciences.”