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What is a Parallel Universe, Multiple Dimension, or Alternate Reality?
(*Please refer to the glossary at the end of the article for help with bold, italicized terms.)
“So many worlds, so much to do, so little done, such things to be—Alfred, Lord Tennyson[i]
During the 1950s, physicist Hugh Everett studied the bizarre implications of quantum mechanics. He theorized when someone locates an electron, the world splits into multiple universes. The electron has a different position in each one. These worlds, each equally real, go on to develop their own futures. This idea in quantum mechanics is called the many-worlds interpretation.[ii] According to the model, each universe produces a multitude of new ones every quantum instant, each fragmenting again into another. The total amount of universes would be infinite. Contact with any of them is theoretically impossible, each realm separate and distinct from the other. The theory is becoming more popular among theoretical physicists.
An opposing theory to the existence of any other universe is the idea of biocentrism. Developed in 2008 by biologist Robert Lanza, it asserts there is one Universe and it exists because we are here to observe it.[iii] The theory suggests the Universe is a living organism, and everything throughout is connected at the quantum level. It relies on the double-slit experiment, which is substantiated by several different experiments.
Considering how this publication interprets multiple realities, reality in this Universe relying on the existence of conscious beings should have nothing to do with whether or not there is a multiverse. The double-slit observation can be interpreted as a reason why universes split into alternate realities. Biocentrism, on the other hand, demands existence relies on the conscious observer, and only one reality is destined to exist.
Many-world interpretations adhere to the idea of an infinite number of possibilities diverging for every microsecond of each atomic event. According to the uncertainty principle, these possible futures branch off and become different pasts for an infinite number of alternate realities, all originating from a single universal realm. The theory is akin to the once popular television show, Sliders, where Jerry O’Connell and his gang jump from one alternate Earth to another, each harboring its own history. If true, every split second of every event or action throughout the Universe would branch off into its own reality with a unique past and future. In one reality, Reagan was elected president and in another, Walter Mondale. The same would be true for each and every action or decision made by every single organism in the Universe. The many-worlds interpretation is different from parallel universes that harbor their own unique realm and set of environmental circumstances, in addition to their own set of branching alternate realities. If parallel universes exist, they do so independent of their parent universe. They are unique in every respect, and some may harbor truly bizarre realities.
Is there enough “space” for alternate universes, multiple dimensions, and parallel universes throughout the multiverse? Multiple-universe scenarios already violate Occam’s razor: “Don’t multiply entities more than is absolutely necessary.”[iv] The notion of an infinite number of possible quantum histories for every event of every type of universe would annihilate it.
Theoretical physicists group parallel and alternate universes into the inflationary universe theory, but they are two different concepts. There are not enough black-hole gateways for an infinite number of alternate histories to branch out from any given parallel universe. The two concepts are logically inconsistent with each other. Inflating universes that branch from ours will harbor their own set of parameters. Decoherence is directly related to each parallel universe, not a result of them coming into existence. Alternate-reality universes, on the other hand, would decohere to another plane of existence related to its own universe group.
[i] Johnson, Charles Howard. The Complete Works of Alfred Lord Tennyson. New York: Frederick A. Stokes Co., 1891, p. 140.
[ii] Bryce, Dewitt; Everett, Hugh; Graham, Neill. The Many-Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics. Princeton, NJ: PrincetonUniversity Press, 1973.
[iii] Lanza, Robert. Biocentrism. Dallas: Banbella Books, 2009.
[iv] Rees, Martin. Before the Beginning: Our Universe and Others. UK: Helix Books, 1997, p. 247.
String, or M-Theory
(*Please refer to Figure #1 above for a Diagram.)
String theory predicts an existence of up to10 dimensions. (Different versions and interpretations of the theory suggest a different permissible number, and Ramanujan’s function allows for up to 26. The differences between each version are not important for the purposes of this publication. Going forward, the theory will be referred as harboring 11 dimensions, or ten of space and one of time.) Three are what we observe and time is how we measure those objects in motion. The remaining six are not visible to three-dimensional beings, at least not in principle. In M-theory, an extension of string theory that adds the dimension of time, ordinary matter is confined to three-dimensional surfaces, or branes, separated by a microscopic gap along the eleventh dimension. The alternative, though fundamentally similar structure of the big bang outlined in string theory is called the big splat, or origin of the Universe where two branes come together and collide in hyperspace. String theory points out flaws in the space-time continuum, ones that lay the foundation for the overall structure of the Universe. Again, this theory is different from alternate-universe interpretations. (This distinction will be revisited momentarily.)
The most popular and favored interpretation of M-theory is the Steinhardt-Turok model endorsed by theoretical physicist Neil Turok and Professor of Physics at Princeton Paul Steinhardt.[i] It describes how the big bang is cyclical, much like big bounce theory. Two folds, or branes, separated by an atom’s width in higher dimensions, sometimes collide with each other in hyperspace. The fourth dimension of time is what fills the hyperspace gap. When they waver close enough to touch, what takes place is similar to a big crunch; more specifically a big bounce that creates a new big bang and the Universe either starts all over again or produces a new one altogether. Dark energy is the driving force behind this phenomenon and causes the branes to waver. The model explains how black holes play a part in drawing two branes together. It pins the dimensions at fault lines, or cosmic strings, in the fabric of the Universe.
Their analysis allows for all three interpretations of the big bang. Dr. Turok is upset some old-school scientists refuse to accept any other model. He argues some of them refuse to adopt new ideas and are stuck on the status quo since they devote their entire lives to their own theories. This is one of the biggest flaws in scientific research.
Magnetic monopoles are one-dimensional objects, length being their exclusive extension. Domain walls are two-dimensional “sheets” spread throughout space. Three-dimensional objects are the remaining structures in the Universe with known textures. According to string theory, this intricate web is the basic physical structure of any three-dimensional universe. Each of these parallel realms harbors its own set of alternate realities but may all share the same underlying dimensions in string theory. The remaining distinction is how multiple dimensions relate to many-worlds if parallel universes contain their own set of each.
Superstrings are different from cosmic strings, but new evidence suggests there may be a correlation. Superstrings are thought to exist in ten-dimensional space and are associated with the underlying forces of particles in nature. Cosmic strings are one-dimensional and, though their existence too is hypothetical, should be observable. Superstrings are underlying structures and cosmic strings direct ones. Cosmic strings are flaws in the fabric of the observable Universe.
[i] Steinhardt, Paul; Turok, Neil. Endless Universe: Beyond the Big Bang. New York: Doubleday Books, 2007.
Do You Believe There Are Parallel Universes To Our Own?
Alternate vs Parallel Universe
As indicated, there is a fundamental difference between an alternate and parallel universe. An alternate universe to ours exists within a local universe group, or LUG, but on another plane of three-dimensional existence or in an infinite number of atoms within each universe, also referred to as the atom universe hypothesis. A brane is what separates one to eleven dimensions in string theory, and a plane is what separates one three-dimensional reality from another related to each distinct parallel universe. Just like with a parallel universe, an alternate reality to ours can be either devoid of life or similar, exhibiting its own alternate history. For instance, the first version of our Universe may have been devoid of life and it needed the manifestation of several alternate versions before life had the ability to appear in one or many of them.
To eliminate some confusion and to recap, many-worlds and alternate universes are basically the same thing. If there are no more than 11 dimensions in string theory and a finite number of parallel universes branch out from ours and others by way of black holes, then a model for many-world, alternate realities has yet to be quantized by theoretical physicists.
A parallel universe exists as a distinct, though similar, multi-dimensional reality “beside,” yet separate from, another. Each may have its own set of three or more dimensions and its own set of alternate-universe planes, but a parallel universe has no association with another. In the distant future, a person might cross over to a parallel universe through a black hole, but there are not enough of them in any given universe to be gateways to alternate versions of our own.
Detection of any separate parallel universe would be impossible without discovery and mastery of a wormhole. If all universes are like separate balloons floating in hyperspace, none would be observable from any other by known, conventional methods. A more radical approach to quantum mechanics might bridge that gap.
A LUG consists of an infinite group of alternate universes with an infinite number of alternate histories. If there are trillions of black holes in each universe leading to trillions of parallel universes, this still leaves no room for the many-worlds interpretation. Otherwise, a black hole would spring up for every nanosecond of every observation made throughout the entire Universe. If that were the case, the Universe would be marred out by black holes and unable to perpetuate. A parallel universe will include its own set of branching alternate universes, or its own LUG, separate and independent from any other.
Everything physical in each parallel universe is stuck on a three-dimensional membrane surrounded by up to 11 multiple dimensions. They relate by way of gravity since this force is thought to exist throughout multiple dimensions. These extra dimensions extend over distances as small as an atom’s width. Why are they invisible if they remain so close? All known matter is stuck on a three-dimensional wall, called a d-brane, in the space of the extra dimensions. Electrons, protons, and photons cannot move in these dimensions. Electric and magnetic field lines cannot spread into the higher-dimensional space, only gravitational field lines. The graviton is the only observable entity able to travel between dimensions, but the particle responsible, the graviton, has yet to be verified even though we can measure gravity directly. Dark matter and energy do as well, but so far we are unable to observe or measure their effect. We can only witness their presence indirectly by looking at cosmic background radiation and how universes clump together and then spread apart.
What might be the properties for each plane of existence related to each parallel universe since alternate dimensions in string theory are different from alternate universes? Each alternate universe should harbor a unique set of up to 11 dimensions, just as any parallel universe might unless higher dimensions are spread throughout hyperspace and relate to all parallel universes. If they are localized, some parallel universes may exhibit strange properties and harbor, say, up to 52 dimensions.
Where might we find the necessary “space” required for an infinite number of alternate realities, and where might these planes of existence fit into the multiverse pantheon? One interpretation that could harbor the necessary room to house these different planes of existence is the atom universe hypothesis. Each atom within our Universe is that alternate plane of reality. This hypothesis is the one interpretation that could facilitate a near-infinite number of alternate realms and histories, but size would be relative.
Quantum Physics And Particle Aspects
Detection of any separate universe would be impossible without discovery and mastery of a wormhole. If all universes are like separate balloons, none would be observable from the other via conventional astronomical methods. A more radical approach to quantum mechanics might eventually bridge that gap.
The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle does not allow measurement of both the velocity and position of a particle at the same time. If one measures either quantity more precisely, the other’s value becomes less certain. This principle prevents scientists from determining the moment and duration of a decaying atom, also substantiated by the double-slit experiment.
Many physicists subscribe to the Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum physics, which declares it is nonsensical to say a particle has both a determined velocity and position. Logical positivists believe it makes no sense to discuss immeasurable entities. To them, it is senseless to say a particle has both a velocity and a position, but the evidence persists. Einstein was one of the biggest critics of this interpretation. To paraphrase, he once stated, “God does not play dice with the Universe.” He felt there was no such thing as quantum indeterminism.
What is quantum tunneling, and how does it relate to indeterminism? On the subatomic scale, quantum tunneling is the ability of a particle to escape an otherwise inescapable barrier and find itself no longer trapped. Classical physics does not allow such tunneling, but quantum physics declares it depends on the size or amplitude of the wave function near a particle at any given point. There is a small probability the particle will find itself outside the barrier where there is nonzero amplitude.
Schrodinger’s Cat Experiment
A particle may exist in a superposition of states, neither here nor there until someone makes a measurement. In 1935, Erwin Schrodinger illustrated the principle of superposition in quantum theory with a simple thought experiment. Schrodinger’s cat experiment attempts to determine whether superposition applies to macroscopic objects.[i]
According to the thought experiment, a cat is placed in a soundproof box with a radioactive atom that has a 50/50 chance of decaying each hour. Radioactive atoms decay at random and quantum physicists can predict just one possibility. Included in the box is a Geiger counter. It is hooked up to a shotgun and will shoot the cat if it senses the decay. According to the Copenhagen interpretation, this quantum system is in a superposition state until the measurement forces the collapse of the wave function or until someone looks in to see if the cat is either alive or dead. Until someone does, the cat is neither alive nor dead, but in a superposition of states. In summary, it purports reality is determined by consciousness.
Applying Schrodinger’s cat experiment, why should the wave function of what the cat experienced not collapse until a remote perspective observes it? Since the cat, itself, is a living being, would it not know it is alive, thereby collapsing the wave function whether someone looks in or not? Why must there be an independent observer for causality? Of course the dead know nothing, but perhaps the growing bacteria on the dead carcass have a story of their own to tell if only they were intelligent enough to speak.
Specific observations of cosmic rays and subatomic particles are forcing physicists to revisit the causality of Schrodinger’s thought experiment. It is egotistical to assume human observance is any more significant than the observance or experience of any other life form. What if the observer was an advanced android that has no contact with any living being as opposed to a biological entity? Would the wave function not collapse after the android makes the observation?
One must disregard individual perspective as a causal determinate. The tree falling in the forest indeed makes a sound whether anyone is around to hear or observe it. While pressure waves require an auditory mechanism and response to hear the sound, the waves remain there just waiting to be heard.
A better example might be the inevitable course of a lifeless asteroid colliding with another in vacuum. If that collision causes one of them to hit Earth and destroy all life, will everyone on the planet witnessing its descent argue, “This can’t be possible since the wave function of the initial collision that sent it here wasn’t witnessed by any living entity in the vacuum of space. Perhaps if everyone shuts their eyes, there will be a 50/50 chance of it not striking us in this reality. Just don’t look…Just don’t look!”
Quantum aspects in physics do allow for alternative approaches to a comprehensive reality more so than classical ones, yet more discoveries and some revisions are inevitable. The Universe may not be as complex as one might assume. Perhaps remaining exclusive to one approach or the other is the biggest error among scientists. There may be a valid aspect to just about all classical and quantum scientific theories. Finding the primer that verifies legitimate aspects of each is the key to unlocking the true nature of reality. There must be a contributing factor to almost every theory supported with viable evidence, including some hypotheses. Combined with the philosophical insights of each, in particular those able to culminate aspects of most, we may discover they each have something important to contribute after all.
The easiest solution to Schrodinger’s Cat takes into account the logically consistent many-worlds interpretation: the Universe splits into another every time an event has more than one possible outcome. An infinite number of possible universes thus form, but the real question is to where? One logical option is to some other plane of three-dimensional reality or in a near-infinite number of atoms throughout the same Universe.
[i] Gribbin, John. Schrodinger’s Kittens and the Search for Reality. London, UK: Orion Publishing Group, 1996.
Do You Believe There Are Alternate History Versions Of Earth Out There Somewhere?
If there is any merit to the many-worlds model, an infinite number of possible scenarios would exist on these different planes of existence. Alternate-history fiction books by Harry Turtledove are less-exaggerated versions of what could happen in an alternate universe. In one reality, Hitler was victorious and the state of the world remains in peril. One could imagine an alternate reality where something like Star Trek is real provided humanity began evolving a few hundred years earlier than they did in this one. A reality where you are president of the United States also may exist. Fantasy realms similar to Middle Earth or the World of Krynn could exist in a universe with peculiar “magical” properties. Pick any book by your favorite author or your favorite television show, and in some alternate universe a similar story could be very real. Anything you could imagine and beyond would have to be possible when considering an infinite number of variant realities. Some alternate realms may rely on unfamiliar properties of science and physics since the notion of infinite means just that—anything would be possible.
The Universe appears to have order because of its ability to give rise to intelligent beings. But it only has superficial order, just enough for the random appearance of intelligent, biological beings separated by vast distances. Life might arise in more instances within a universe that has more order than ours. Human beings are far from orderly: short life spans, frequent terminal diseases, rampant crime and murder, and so on. Other universes with higher frequencies of life-favorable conditions might make this one appear dark and foreboding.
The purpose of this article was to brainstorm for a comprehensive explanation that covers the different hypotheses and theories on the topic. Most of it is based on pure speculation, but we have to start somewhere since no single theory is comprehensive enough to differentiate between the various multiverse interpretations. Level one through four parallel-universe interpretations devised by cosmologist Max Tegmark are too generic.[i] Brian Greene’s nine types of parallel universes are the most lucid but present too many conflicting explanations and can be confusing for the average reader.[ii] (See bibliography if you wish to read up on these variants.)
My hope is that readers will take with them a better understanding of the differences between the various alternate-reality theories with a more lucid interpretation of what they actually portray.
[i] Tegmark, Max, “Parallel Universes.” Scientific American. (May 2003), pp. 35-47.
[ii] Greene, Brian. The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos. New York: Borzoi Books, 2011.
Was This Article Clear And Helpful?
(*Terms devised or uniquely interpreted by the author)
*Alternate Universe A coexisting state of reality, perhaps on another plane of existence or in an infinite number of atoms throughout a particular universe, contained within and related to each distinct parallel universe. An alternate, three-dimensional reality that lies outside the realm of our detection or experience. The many-worlds interpretation in quantum mechanics defines alternate universes since they are one in the same. See also atom universe hypothesis and many-worlds interpretation.
Android A synthetic being manufactured in the lab. An android is different from a mechanical robot since, on the surface, it appears human. One may be composed of grown biological components, others synthetic. In theory, it can be programmed to perform various duties like a robot.
Atom Universe Hypothesis Idea each universe is contained within a single atom. This violates what scientists know about atoms, but quantum theory might provide us with some surprises as we gain more insight. Size is beyond relative in this scenario. In conjunction with alternate-universe theory, our Universe is a parent universe and every atom within contains its own plane of existence with its own alternate version of our Universe. Inside each of those atoms is another set of alternate planes, ad infinitum. These atoms are a result of the splits that occur in quantum theory after alternate decisions are made by each and every conscious being. Atoms and other subatomic particles may harbor the only “space” necessary to contain an infinite number of alternate universes within each parallel-universe realm. See also alternate universe.
Big Bounce An oscillating-Universe interpretation of the big bang. Similar to the big crunch, but the Universe oscillates instead of coming to a definitive end. The theory purports there was a big bang, the Universe expanded, and in the future enough matter remains (in the form of dark matter and dark energy) for it to collapse back in on itself. Following that, it will “bounce” back out again after another big bang, ad infinitum.
Big Crunch Similar to the big bounce, but the Universe does not oscillate. Instead, it ceases to exist after matter collapses back in on itself. The laws of thermodynamics suggest the Universe cannot be recycled to come back into existence.
Big Splat Concerning M-theory, it is a beginning-model of the Universe when two branes in hyperspace collide. Similar to the big crunch and big bang theories but includes an alternate explanation for its source or how it occurred.
Biocentrism Idea that the Universe is real strictly because there are conscious beings within to observe that reality. In essence, the Universe cannot exist without conscious entities. Existence is subject to the conscious experience, not just a part of it. After all, what significance is there to a universe that includes no method of verification? Some argue that stance is anthropocentric since any given universe should be able to exist and evolve independent of any observation. For billions of years following the big bang, there was no life anywhere to reflect upon its evolution. But here we are. Just because we are unable to see said universe does not mean it is not there, alive or not. Which form would be dependent on its existence, itself or individual living beings that may or may not arise within it? It is an interesting theory but may have irrevocable flaws.
Branes In string theory, they are layers of multidimensional folds found throughout the fabric of the Universe but in different dimensions. These branes are thought to reside a mere atom’s width apart, but one would need to travel the length of a dimensional fold and back again to observe the other side, or other reality. However, if the folds are just a separator between the dimensions, one could argue the traveler remains limited to the opposite side of the same three-dimensional fold, and the higher or lower dimensions “in between” remain unreachable and unobservable.
Copenhagen Interpretation One of the earliest interpretations of quantum mechanics developed by Niels Bohr and his colleagues. It describes the wave function of a photon having either a particle or wave property though not at the same time. Observation of a particle dictates its wave function and influences an experiment’s results. Some argue the observation of something never dictates either result since wave functions should collapse after the interaction or observation by localized atoms and bacteria. In other words, there are no functions anywhere in the Universe not “observed” by something. Many wave-function aspects of the early Universe collapsed before any living being was around to observe them, therefore are independent of individual, conscious observation. Some argue this implies there is either continuous divine observation or a Living Universe.
Cosmic Strings Hypothetical, one-dimensional, subatomic particles millions of light years long. They are thought to be topological imperfections, or “cracks,” in the structure of the Universe that formed in the early part following the big bang. Also responsible for clumping matter together so stars and galaxies could form.
Dark Energy Hidden energy thought to exist in higher dimensions. It accounts for 72.8% of the missing matter in the Universe. (Dark matter accounts for the missing 22.7%, leaving only 4.6% for observable matter.) Dark energy is the driving force behind the expansion of visible matter in the Universe and its overall uniformity. Dark energy has a different function, though it too should be found in hidden dimensions.
Dark Matter Hidden matter thought to exist in higher dimensions. It accounts for 22.7% of the missing matter in the Universe. (Dark energy accounts for 72.8 %, the remaining 4.6% normal, observable matter.) Dark matter is responsible for the clumping together of visible matter, dark energy for the expansion and overall uniformity of it.
D-brane In string theory, they are objects strings end on, such as a point in space, or D0, an extended line, D1, a two-dimensional, flat plane, D2, observable existence, D3, and so on. The theory supports up to 26 dimensions, though most theoretical physicists now believe there is a maximum of 10 spatial plus one of time, or 11 total. A universe with more would be unstable, and the math tends to break down.
Decoherence Also called quantum decoherence. It provides an explanation for the appearance of the wave-function collapse as the information of a particular event leaks into the environment. Decoherence is the loss of that information after the wave function of a specific moment collapses. The information decoheres and can no longer be interpreted.
Domain Walls An interface or topological defect separating such forces as magnetism, optics, or other entities in string theory. Average spans between each wall are a mere 100 to 150 atoms apart.
Double-Slit Experiment A quantum experiment outlining how matter and energy display characteristics of both particle and wave properties until a measurement is made. There is no way to determine, in advance, if a beam of light will display one property or the other. Without going into too much detail, the experiment proves there are many differences between classical and quantum physics. It suggests there is no way for the observer, with any certainty, to predict the results of either displayed property.
Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle States it is hard to know both the precise position and momentum, or specific properties, of a particle at the same time. This makes it difficult to predict the future behavior of any subatomic particle.
Inflationary Universe Theory Established by cosmologist Alan Guth, an extension of the big bang illustrating the first few moments of inflation. It is believed to be generated and driven by some type of exotic matter, such as dark energy.
*Local Universe Group (LUG) A family of alternate universes, all of which relate to one another. For example, our Universe and any alternate reality that decoheres from it, either on another plane of three-dimensional existence or in an infinite number of atoms within said universe, are part of the local group. We are not the original version of our Universe but one on an infinite number of alternate planes. A parallel universe will have its own family of alternate-universe planes with its own set of alternate histories, or its own LUG. The parameters of a plane are not described anywhere in physics, so they are strictly hypothetical. A differentiation between alternate universes, parallel universes, the many-worlds interpretation, and higher dimensions in string theory has yet to be quantized correctly by theoretical physicists.
Logical Positivism Also called logical empiricism. A strict philosophical movement that argues scientific knowledge is the only valid method of learning about the nature of reality. All metaphysical aspects of existence, including the belief in God, are nonsensical and should not be included in any model or postulate.
Magnetic Monopoles A hypothetical, one-dimensional concept in particle physics, but superstring and grand-unified theories predict their existence. The idea is to separate either a distinct north or south-pole property of a magnet into isolated monopoles after cutting one in half. A bar magnet retains its own set of both properties after being divided, each with a distinct north and south pole still intact, so scientists, as of yet, are unable to separate the forces. Quantum mechanics might provide physicists with the ability to do so in the future.
Many-Worlds Interpretation (MWI) An interpretation of quantum mechanics where an infinite number of possible realities stem from each and every collapsed wave function. For example, a decision one makes as a boy can lead to him becoming president in one universe, a criminal in another, and everything else in between in yet others, ad infinitum. Each and every action or decision made by a conscious being, never mind level of intelligence, produces an infinite number of alternate decisions that each branch out into their own reality. This would need to occur either on a different three-dimensional plane, though its properties have yet to be defined by theoretical physicists, or in a near-infinite number of atoms within each respective universe. Since the Universe may not be a living entity, and each universe first perpetuates without conscious beings in it, the wave-function collapse by the interaction of atoms taking various pathways may be essential to the interpretation, thereby producing some alternate-reality universes with peculiar properties. Many would prohibit the ability to support life. Our ideal reality exists because there are an infinite number of possibilities allowing for trial and error. There could be versions of a universe where everyone on Earth lives in a perfect utopian society with no pain or suffering. Others may resemble what some Christians would interpret as Hell. See also alternate universe.
M-theory (Magic, Matrix, or Mystery Theory) An extension of string theory that allows for the existence of up to 11 hidden dimensions, or 10 spatial and one of time. Some versions allow for up to 26, but the math tends to break down above 10. Each dimension exists on its own membrane, or brane, and is an atom’s length apart. The reason we are unable to see these dimensions is because one would have to travel the length of the Universe and back along the dimensional fold to witness anything above three dimensions. Physicists argue these higher dimensions could be similar to ours but may be more dynamic with peculiar properties. Our three-dimensional bodies could not exist in or witness any higher dimension.
Multiverse Encompasses all known and unknown reality and existence. Includes all parallel and alternate universes throughout all of hyperspace. Bigger than the Universe.
Occam’s razor William of Occam’s postulate that says, “Entities should not be multiplied without necessity.” Only when the simplest explanation regarding something is inadequate should one move on to a more complex interpretation. Another paraphrase for it is, “The simplest explanation usually tends to be the right one.”
*Parallel Universe A proportional universe that exists “beside” ours and harbors its own, distinct space-time continuum with its own set of many-world, alternate universes. (Each may harbor its own set of higher dimensions, but string theory suggests these exist throughout hyperspace as a standard backdrop or framework for all parallel universes.) A universe containing its own big bang, inaccessible and unobservable from our space-time continuum. This is different from an alternate universe since a parallel one would harbor a different, unique set of alternate histories.
*Plane In the alternate-universe or many-worlds interpretation, it is a separate realm, or level, of three-dimensional existence. A purely hypothetical concept but is the singular logical interpretation to differentiate between parallel and alternate universes. The only exclusive, established theory of multiple dimensions exists in string theory, but a dimension is different from a universe. A plane is a separate, three-dimensional realm for the many-worlds interpretation (again, same as alternate universe), whereas a brane separates a higher or lower dimension in string theory. Though multiple dimensions may exist throughout hyperspace and all parallel universes, a part of them may be confined to each parallel universe. For example, one parallel universe may exhibit the potential for no more than seven higher dimensions, or six plus one of time, this one contains 11, or 10 plus one of time, and yet another might contain up to 26. There are not enough black holes in the Universe for the parallel-universe interpretation to harbor an infinite number of alternate histories. There are not enough of them to account for the overwhelming number of possibilities. Another interpretation is other planes of alternate realities exist in an infinite number of atoms throughout each universe, which is outlined in the atom universe hypothesis. Each of these “atomic planes” contains an alternate history to that of our own. An atomic plane in a different parallel universe would incorporate its own unique set of alternate histories.
Quantum Indeterminism Idea that future events are not always caused or influenced by present decisions, actions, or events. They can be, but are not a causal determinate for decisions about to be made. It dictates there is no cause and effect at the subatomic level, and events pretty much occur at random. It is one of a freewill proponent’s biggest argument against fate.
Quantum Tunneling The transmission of an object from one location to another, but not by classical means. Since quantum mechanics deals with wave functions, an object’s position, theoretically, can appear in another location without anyone touching it. Macroscopic objects do not behave this way, so the theory applies exclusively to subatomic particles. Some theoretical physicists believe it may determine the operation of quantum teleportation for macroscopic objects.
Ramanujan Function Developed by Srinivasa Ramanujan, an Indian mathematician born in 1887 who died at age 33 from tuberculosis. His function is a set of mathematics with the “magic” number, 24, repeatedly appearing throughout his journals. These equations fit nicely with string theory. His papers are still used today for such fields as polymer chemistry, computer applications, cancer research, and much more. Some of the equations remain baffling to the greatest mathematicians of our day. Srinivasa was self-taught with no formal training and considered one of the greatest mathematicians ever to live. At first, these equations were thrown away by Cambridge mathematician Godfrey Hardy in 1913. Ramanujan tried to explain the visions for these equations appeared in his dreams by the Hindu Goddess of Creativity, Namakkal.
Schrodinger’s Cat Experiment A thought experiment devised by Erwin Schrodinger in 1935. It deals with observed wave functions in quantum mechanics. The wave function of a particular observation does not collapse and is in an unknown state until someone makes an observation, thereby collapsing the wave function. Before doing so, it is in a superposition of states. The experiment describes placing a Geiger counter hooked up to a vial of poison and a cat in a box. There is a 50/50 chance a small radioactive substance placed beside the Geiger counter will decay. If it reads the decay, the poison will release automatically and the cat will die. If not, it remains alive. Until someone makes the observation to determine either way, the cat is stuck in a superposition of states, neither dead nor alive. Some argue the experiment is flawed if the Universe, itself, is a type of living organism. In addition, the cat is a living being able to make the observation it remains alive. The existence of microbes, bacteria, and atoms in the box make additional observations of their own and collapse the wave function long before anyone peeks into it. If the Universe is a living organism, it is already “aware” of any decay and no observers of any sort are necessary. Also consider wave functions throughout the Universe collapsed during its early stages before the existence of any life. If anything, the experiment suggests nothing more than the Universe is a type of living organism.
String Theory Its goal is to reconcile incompatible aspects of quantum mechanics and general relativity into a theory of everything. See also M-theory.
Superposition State A particle exists in all possible states until an observation of it is made. The concept relies on independent, living observers, which determines the state a particle is in. Sometimes it is in state A and sometimes state B. Until an observation is made, it is in neither state, but a superposition of them alternating between one another. The idea assumes a tree falling in the forest does not make a sound unless someone is around to hear it. See also Schrodinger’s Cat Experiment.
Superstring Theory A version of string theory dealing with supersymmetric particles. It attempts to model particles and forces of nature after vibrating strings. Each type of particle or force can be recognized by its distinct “note” in higher dimensions. See also supersymmetry and M-theory.
Uncertainty Principle States a particle’s position and momentum cannot precisely be known at the same time. Wave mechanics and matrix mechanics are two interpretations of the uncertainty principle. It highlights the differences between classical and quantum physics. See also Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.
Wormhole A theoretical tunnel that connects two distant regions of space or one parallel universe to another. Considering the overwhelming distances between each star in the Galaxy, a wormhole might be the exclusive, viable method of interstellar mobility. Scientists of the future would need to learn how to stabilize one, or the overwhelming gravity would destroy the traveler. See also Einstein-Rosen Bridge.