Our Universe May be One of Many in the Multiverse
Have you heard of the word multiverse? Multiverse means multiple universes. Our universe may be just one of many universes out there in the multiverse.
In the past, people have thought that their landmass was the only one that's out there. But then they crossed the ocean and found out that there were other continents. In the past, people thought that our planet was the only one. Then with Copernicus's ideas, they realized that our planet is just one of many that revolves around the sun. Not only that, they later realize that our solar system is just one of many in our galaxy. Of course there is not just one galaxy. There are a multitude of galaxies in our universe. Now we are coming to the idea that our universe is not all that is out there and that there are multiple universes as well.
The idea of a multiverse is a new concept in cosmology and physics that has only came out recently. That is why some spell-checkers are still having problems with the word "multiverse". As far as I know the word is spelled as one word without the hyphen. It is spelled this way in the book titled "Visions of the Multiverse". And it is spelled this way in Wikipedia, which defines multiverse as ...
"The multiverse (or meta-universe, metaverse) is the hypothetical set of multiple possible universes"
They use the word "hypothetical" because it hasn't been proven yet. And that is why the title of this article that is our universe "may be" one of many.
Perhaps someday, with experiments at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland (the largest high-energy particle accelerator to date) may be able to prove some of the concepts postulated.
The mathematics done by theoretical physicists are leading them to believe that the multiverse may be the case. Some physicists go as far as to believe that it must be the case that there are multiple universes.
There are many different interpretations of the multiverse. Some of which are the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, Membrane Theory, bubble universes, and so on.
These ideas may sound like science fiction. However they are written about and talked about by notable physicists in the media and in books. Below are just some that are listed for your curiosity.
Belief in the Multiverse
If multiple universes exists, we can not prove or disprove them at this time. This is because the space between our universe and other universes is expanding such that even light can not cross the expanse to the next universe.
If our universe and the other universes remains complete separate, how can we prove something that we can detect or access?
Yet, there are three supporting theories that gives rise to the fact that multiple universe might exist. One is "internal inflation". The second comes from the value of dark energy. And third comes from string theory.
There are many critics of the multiverse. However, some multiverse advocates includes Alan Guth, Alex Vilenkin, and Andre Linde.
Brian Greene Explains the Multiverse on TED
"The Hidden Reality" by Brian Greene
Brian Greene wrote the book The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos published in 2011.
Brian Greene is a theoretical physicist specializing in string theory. He is probably best known by his PBS special The Elegant Universe on Nova which you can watch in the link provided. His other books includes The Elegant Universe and The Fabric of the Cosmos. In another Nova program, Brian Greene talks about the multiverse.
Brian Greene talked with Terry Gross on National Public Radio’s Fresh Air which can listen here. In the interview, Greene says ...
"As we have studied a whole variety of different areas of physics, from relativity, quantum mechanics, cosmology, unified physics, it seems to be the case that whenever we follow the mathematics of these deep theories sufficiently far, we bump into one or another variety of parallel universe idea."
He says that it is possible that there are other universes out there with very different elementary particles and physical laws.
You can also watch Brian Greene on TED Talks as he explains about string theory and why the universe may have 10 dimensions of space and one dimension of time.
Brian Greene studied at Harvard and Oxford University and is a Rhodes Scholar. He taught at Columbia and Cornell University.
"Parallel Worlds" by Michio Kaku
"Parallel Worlds" by Michio Kaku
The word "parallel universe" as in the "parallel universe idea" that Greene mentioned is just one of many terms that physics use to describe the vague notion of multiple universes, or multiverse. It is also worth pointing out that even among physicists, there are different interpretations of the multiverse.
Michio Kaku prefers to use the term "parallel worlds" which is the title of his book "Parallel Worlds: A Journey Through Creation, Higher Dimensions, and the Future of the Cosmos".
Part II of the book is titled "Multiverse" which consists of chapters with exotic titles such as ...
- Chapter 5: Dimensional Portals and Time Travel
- Chapter 6: Parallel Quantum Universe
- Chapter 7: M-Theory: The Mother of All Strings
- Chapter 8: A Designer Universe?
- Chapter 9: Searching for Echoes from the Eleventh Dimension
Although it may sound like science fiction, it is important to remember that this is a non-fiction book (not science fiction) by a notable physicist. Dr. Kaku graduated summa cum laude from Harvard University and is professor at City College of New York.
Besides string theory, Kaku is also interested in thinking about the possibility of time travel. This book (in particularly chapter 5) was the source of information for the Hub articles "Is Time Travel Possible" and "Paradoxes of Time Travel".
"Visions of the Multiverse" by Steven Manly
"Visions of the Multiverse" by Steven Manly
The back cover of the book Visions of the Multiverse by Dr. Steven Manly published in 2011 says ...
"The idea of a multiple universe reality is no longer considered speculative or implausible by many physicists; rather, it is deemed inescapable."
In Appendix, Dr. Steven Manly lists the various interpretations of the Multiverse concept as well as Tegmark's different levels of the multiverse.
As Manly said in the last chapter, it is up to you to decide if you believe in the multiverse or not. His book does have some humor and quite a bit of anecdotes about certain physicists.
The last anecdotes he provided in the book goes to show how confident some physicists are in the belief of the multiverse. Physicist Martin Rees is so confident that he is willing to bet his dog's life on it. Andrei Linde is even more confident in that he is willing to bet his own life on it. Steven Weinberg is only so-so confident in that he is willing to bet both Andre Linde and Martin Rees's dog's life on it. Admittedly, I think they were joking. But at least it goes to show that physicists do have a sense of humor.
This Hub article was written in February 2011. Author may have received books from publishers of the books mentioned and may receive compensation from the links and display ads within content.
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