- Education and Science
Solving the Multiverse Conjecture
Is the Multiverse really the answer to everything? Lack of evidence for supersymmetry in data from the Large Hadron Collider seems to place the Big Bang scenario in doubt. We now have a new direction in physics which resolves the puzzle, though.
There is a fatal flaw in the theory of primordial expansion for the Universe whimsically known as the Big Bang. As the fireball of energy emerged from the initial singularity and cooled to form hydrogen and helium, both matter and antimatter particles should have been created in equal numbers. Yet as far as we can tell, the entire Universe around us consists only of matter.
To rescue the theory, several ideas have historically been proposed. In 1967 the Russian physicist Andrei Sakharov, guided by symmetry violation in kaon particle decays, worked out that three conditions were necessary to create an imbalance between matter and antimatter which could produce a matter-only Universe. Since then, experiments have shown no evidence that these conditions would occur in a sufficient way to explain the anomaly.
Attention in the meantime had shifted to Grand Unified Theories, or GUTs, where particles might in principle change their identities at the extremely high energies of the unification of the four known forces of Nature; and supersymmetry, which matches every particle so far discovered with an unknown, as-yet undiscovered, partner. Trouble is, the first of these occurs at energies far higher than particle accelerators are capable of ever reaching, while the second option now also seems defunct. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN near Geneva should have been able to detect supersymmetric particles in the decay products of high-energy collisions, but so far it hasn't.
In this context, no supersymmetry seems to mean no Big Bang either. We are left with a Universe which apparently refuses to be created from pure energy. Has cosmology arrived at a dead end, then?
The answer to this appears to be that we now need to appreciate the presence of intrinsic order in the organisation of spacetime, which has so far been missing from theoretical physicists' inner focus on particles and forces. Spacetime has up till now had no conventionally meaningful existence in its own right, except as a background for chaotic quantum conditions such as zero-point energy and spontaneous emission. Yet somehow it is capable of providing massive localised amounts of energy on demand, provided the debt is repaid almost instantly. Intriguingly, there is also a “force of spacetime”, F say, given by a very simple equation as:
(1) F = hc/2πr2
where h is Planck's constant, c is the velocity of light, and r is a length parameter usually associated with separation between point charges or masses. In the case of spacetime, however, what exactly might be separated from what? We don't know how to use this equation except for the special case of two conducting parallel plates of area A, for which the inverse square length dimension becomes A/r2.
This special case is called the Casimir effect, named after the Dutch physicist Hendrik Casimir, who with a coworker in 1948 theoretically predicted it and proposed an experiment to test it. The force is tiny at all but very close separations, below a few microns (one micron is 10-6 metres), so it was not measured with any accuracy until 2001. Also, the maths treatment requires quantum field theory, from which an additional constant is derived that further reduces its strength. In spite of these constraints, spacetime still has a force which is vastly greater than the force of gravity. Until recently, no obvious direction to that force had been found, and so spacetime's energy was believed to exist as nothing but a chaotic soup of virtual particles simply popping in and out of existence for fleeting moments.
Two years ago, that all changed. Up till then and arguably for all but a tiny minority of planetary physicists today, our Solar System was and still is believed to consist of planets which follow precise orbital dynamics in no preferred orbits, apart from gravitational resonance effects. Many surprising coincidences have been found, none of which unfortunately seem accurate enough for a scientific case which might provide evidence for the existence of a fifth force of Nature, the “quintessence” of archaic physics. Most of these use angles, or distances in the form of orbital radii which because of orbital eccentricities are inherently imprecise. If instead we take the “time “ part of spacetime, a much more accurate picture emerges.
The cyclic duration of planetary orbits is known as their sidereal orbital periods. Data on these can be found, for instance, on the JPL-NASA website at:
Measured values given there are extremely accurate, with last-digit +/- errors of about one part in two to ten million. So it comes as a surprise to find out almost at once that three out of the eight major planets seem to combine their orbital periods in a simple precise numerical way. For Mars, Saturn and Neptune, these periods Ma = 1.880,847,6 years, Sa = 29.447,498 years and Ne = 164.791,32 years can be put together in a group where their time dimensions cancel out, as:
(2) Ma2/( Sa x Ne) = 0.000,728,995 = 36/(26x56)
The inaccuracy here is very small, a mere seven parts per million error with the numerical fit on the right-hand side. The immediate inference is that we should go to the sixth root of time to discover more about this. In fact, it turns out to be the inverse sixth root of the sidereal orbital periods which is important. Amongst other things, it then becomes possible to arrange all eight major planets in a perfectly precise and symmetrical linear equation, which works for any time unit their periods are measured in. In order from the Sun, the sidereal orbital periods Me, Ve, Ea, Ma, Ju, Sa, Ur, Ne in years can be converted for convenience of working into their inverse sixth roots to produce the data values:
me = 1/ 6√Me = 1.267,778,02
ve = 1/ 6√Ve = 1.084,336,98
ea = 1/ 6√Ea = 0.999,997,10
ma = 1/ 6√Ma = 0.900,066,09
ju = 1/ 6√Ju = 0.662,170,65
sa = 1/ 6√Sa = 0.569,060,71
ur = 1/ 6√Ur = 0.477,828,74
ne = 1/ 6√Ne = 0.427,081,68
The accurate symmetrical equation which connects them all is given by:
(3) 9( me + 2sa) + 16( ma + 2ur) = 9(ve + 2ju) + 16( ea + 2ne)
For the JPL-NASA data, the left-hand side of the equation has a calculated value of 51.344,672, while the right-hand side also works out as 51.344,672 . The equation is exact to eight significant figures, no mean feat for eight planets stretching across more than four thousand million kilometres of space!
Recall also that there are four small rocky inner planets Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars, separated by the asteroid belt from four gas giants Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune (Pluto having been demoted to a dwarf planet some years ago). The crossed 1:2 symmetry in the equation then becomes obvious.
In our Solar System, every planet seems to know its exact place in the inverse sixth root of time cosmos. All of them appear to be perfectly organised in an apparently chaotic spacetime physicists have long taken for granted could never produce orderly behaviour. Somehow the “force of spacetime” is directing operations to provide a constraining influence on the otherwise freely- determined gravitational dynamics.
The solution to the Multiverse conjecture begins with this simple exact linear equation. We are first of all faced with answering the questions: why time to the inverse sixth root? why the numbers nine and 16? where are the other equations which are needed to uniquely define the values? A research study over the past two years shows that the sidereal orbital period inverse sixth roots are quantised into large numbers (of order 105) which combine to form simple exact number symmetries. For instance, using the same JPL-NASA data as before, three nearest neighbour subtractions, for (ve – ea), (ea – ma) and (ju – sa), taken in pairs as a ratio produce the simple numerical solution:
(4) ( - ve + 2ea – ma)/( - ve + ea + ju – sa) = 1.777,767 = 16/9
For such a close double subtraction, the error of only a few parts per million in the association confirms that for these five planets the experimental data must be almost spot-on for accuracy. To check consistency, the quantised solution is exact, as it should be.
How does this new approach to the physics of spacetime affect existing ideas in cosmology?
In terms of energy conservation, the Multiverse is the most wasteful conjecture ever devised. For our own Universe to be created, the present number of photons of weak energy in the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR) tells us that around 30 million Universes' worth of energy were discarded in the creative process, mysteriously redshifted down to almost nothing by the expansion of the Universe. Where did this overload of primordial energy come from, and where is it now, according to the law of conservation of energy? Worse still, every parallel universe in the Multiverse, created from inflating quantum fluctuations, must inevitably have the same adverse cost-benefit ratio.
A simple solution to this staggering improbability is that the universes are all very small indeed, only one microscopic spacetime domain each in size, and together they create our Universe. On the smallest scale, our spacetime could consist of “grains” containing divergent energy-time. These would then produce a cosmological constant in the form of negative gravity, the exact opposite of convergent atomic matter which produces positive gravity. Expanded spacetime rather than expanding spacetime. Indeed, there is a nice coincidence between the value of the Hubble constant, H0 (which measures the velocity of space apparently caught in the process of expanding), and is presently measured as about H0 = 2.3 x 10-18 sec-1, and that of the cosmological constant Λ (which measures the acceleration of spacetime due to its (negative) self-gravitational influence), with a present approximate value of Λ = 3.9 x 10-36 sec-2. To just less than 20% difference, we can write:
(5) H0 = √Λ
Spacetime might then be merely presenting the illusion of expanding, so that we end up looking at the same effect in two different ways. In principle, there is no reason why Einstein's general theory of relativity shouldn't be able to take this into account. Every domain in the quantum world, being divergent energy-time, would act as a tiny stretched-out de Sitter universe. This would prevent the Schwarzschild solution of collapse into a black hole from occurring, and also invalidate the Friedmann solution of an expanding or contracting Universe. The only remaining option is the Gödel solution for a rotating Universe, something we see every day of our lives and interpret as Earth spinning on its own axis once a day.
The solution to the Multiverse conjecture is then that it is simply no longer needed to explain anything. Recall from cosmological thought going back to the 1980s that it was the fine-tuning paradox – why the natural forces should be balanced so carefully against each other that stars and galaxies would form for long enough to enable conscious life to emerge – that called for an enormous number of universes to be created, of which ours happened to be a particularly suitable one. Since we can now demonstrate that spacetime is capable of creating perfect natural order in our Solar System – order which could never have arisen from chaotic origins – whether or not we understand how and why this occurs, fine-tuning isn't a paradox any longer. It is just another normal part of our natural world.
Talking in general, the theoretical physicist Fotini Markopoulou, now at the Perimeter Institute, Ontario, has indicated her view of how maths and physics approach the question of physical existence, commenting that “in mathematics you can construct something and if it's consistent it's correct; in physics you can construct something, if it's consistent Nature might not care at all”.
Assuming that aliens with a mathematical sense of humour aren't responsible for placing the eight major planets in our Solar System, we now seem to have solid, liquid and gaseous proof that Nature cares more about consistency than we do.