Dec 2, 2019

Are there multiple universes?

Posted by in categories: cosmology, quantum physics, space travel

What – one vast, ancient and mysterious universe isn’t enough for you? Well, as it happens, there are others. Among physicists, it’s not controversial. Our universe is but one in an unimaginably massive ocean of universes called the multiverse.

If that concept isn’t enough to get your head around, physics describes different kinds of multiverse. The easiest one to comprehend is called the cosmological multiverse. The idea here is that the universe expanded at a mind-boggling speed in the fraction of a second after the big bang. During this period of inflation, there were quantum fluctuations which caused separate bubble universes to pop into existence and themselves start inflating and blowing bubbles. Russian physicist Andrei Linde came up with this concept, which suggests an infinity of universes no longer in any causal connection with one another – so free to develop in different ways.

Cosmic space is big – perhaps infinitely so. Travel far enough and some theories suggest you’d meet your cosmic twin – a copy of you living in a copy of our world, but in a different part of the multiverse. String theory, which is a notoriously theoretical explanation of reality, predicts a frankly meaninglessly large number of universes, maybe 10 to the 500 or more, all with slightly different physical parameters.

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