Part IX – The Multiverse – Part I
The universe we live in may not be the only one out there. In fact, our universe could be just one of an infinite number of universes making up a “multiverse.”
Although the concept may stretch beyond our imagination, there is solid physics behind this concept. And there seems to be several ways to get to a multiverse – numerous physics theories independently point to such a conclusion. In fact, some experts think the existence of hidden universes is more likely than not.
The Cavitation Model of the Big Bang – The potential that we live in a multiverse arises from a theory called eternal inflation, which posits that shortly after the Big Bang that formed the universe, space-time expanded at different rates in different places, giving rise to bubble universes that may function with their own separate laws of physics.
The idea has seemed purely hypothetical, until now. In a new study, researchers suggest that if our universe has siblings, we may have bumped into them. Such collisions would have left lasting marks in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation, the diffuse light left over from the Big Bang that pervades the universe, the researchers say.
It brings the idea of eternal inflation and bubble collisions into the realm of testable science. If it’s not testable, it’s hard to even call it science. If you imagine two ordinary soap bubbles colliding, then the surface where they intersect is going to be a circle, so that’s the key signature we’re looking for in the CMB.
It’s not any old perturbation, it’s circular and it’s got a particular type of profile. There’s no obvious sort of other thing that could cause this.
-Daniel Mortlock, Astrophysicist
-Imperial College London.
The researchers developed a computer algorithm to analyze CMB observations for patterns that would fit. In data from NASA’s Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP), the program found four regions in the universe that were flagged as promising. However, statistical analyses suggested these patterns were likely to be random, resembling the circular shapes of collisions simply by coincidence.
Current scientific theories suggesting we live in a multiverse:
Infinite Universes – Scientists can’t be sure what the shape of space-time is, but most likely, it’s flat (as opposed to spherical or even donut-shape) and stretches out infinitely. But if space-time goes on forever, then it must start repeating at some point, because there are a finite number of ways particles can be arranged in space and time.
So if you look far enough, you would encounter another version of you — in fact, infinite versions of you. Some of these twins will be doing exactly what you’re doing right now, while others will have worn a different sweater this morning, and still others will have made vastly different career and life choices.
The observable universe extends only as far as light has had a chance to get in the 13.7 billion years since the Big Bang (that would be 13.7 billion light-years), because the space-time beyond that distance can be considered to be its own separate universe.
In this way, a multitude of universes exists next to each other in a giant patchwork quilt of universes.
Space-time may stretch out to infinity. If so, then everything in our universe is bound to repeat at some point, creating a patchwork quilt of infinite universes.
Bubble Universes – In addition to the multiple universes created by infinitely extending space-time, other universes could arise from a theory called “eternal inflation.” Inflation is the notion that the universe expanded rapidly after the Big Bang, in effect inflating like a balloon.
Eternal inflation, first proposed by Tufts University cosmologist Alexander Vilenkin, suggests that some pockets of space stop inflating, while other regions continue to inflate, thus giving rise to many isolated “bubble universes.”
Thus, our own universe, where inflation has ended, allowing stars and galaxies to form, is but a small bubble in a vast sea of space, some of which is still inflating, that contains many other bubbles like ours. And in some of these bubble universes, the laws of physics and fundamental constants might be different than in ours, making some universes strange places indeed.
Parallel Universes – Another idea that arises from string theory is the notion of “braneworlds” – parallel universes that hover just out of reach of our own, proposed by Princeton University’s Paul Steinhardt and Neil Turok of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Ontario, Canada.
The idea comes from the possibility of many more dimensions to our world than the three of space and one of time that we know. In addition to our own three-dimensional “brane” of space, other three-dimensional branes may float in a higher-dimensional space.
Out universe may live on one membrane, or “brane” that is parallel to many others containing their own universes, all floating in a higher-dimensional space.
Columbia University physicist Brian Greene describes the idea as the notion that “our universe is one of potentially numerous ‘slabs’ floating in a higher-dimensional space, much like a slice of bread within a grander cosmic loaf,” in his book “The Hidden Reality” (Vintage Books, 2011).
A further wrinkle on this theory suggests these brane universes aren’t always parallel and out of reach. Sometimes, they might slam into each other, causing repeated Big Bangs that reset the universes over and over again.
Daughter Universes – The theory of quantum mechanics, which reigns over the tiny world of subatomic particles, suggests another way multiple universes might arise. Quantum mechanics describes the world in terms of probabilities, rather than definite outcomes.
And the mathematics of this theory might suggest that all possible outcomes of a situation do occur – in their own separate universes. For example, if you reach a crossroads where you can go right or left, the present universe gives rise to two daughter universes: one in which you go right, and one in which you go left.
And in each universe, there’s a copy of you witnessing one or the other outcome, thinking – incorrectly – that your reality is the only reality.
-Brian Greene, Theoretical Physicist
-The Hidden Reality
Mathematical Universes – Scientists have debated whether mathematics is simply a useful tool for describing the universe, or whether math itself is the fundamental reality, and our observations of the universe are just imperfect perceptions of its true mathematical nature. If the latter is the case, then perhaps the particular mathematical structure that makes up our universe isn’t the only option, and in fact all possible mathematical structures exist as their own separate universes.
A mathematical structure is something that you can describe in a way that’s completely independent of human baggage. I really believe that there is this universe out there that can exist independently of me that would continue to exist even if there were no humans.
-Max Tegmark of MIT
This might be the region of Artificial Intelligence,
and the realm of Gods
Part X – The Multiverse – Part II
The Multiverse (multi-universe) is a so-called scientific concept, which states that no physical laws exist which would prohibit the existence of parallel worlds. The first suggestion of this concept was put forth by science fiction writer H.G. Wells who proclaimed in his 1895 story, The Door in the Wall.
And after 62 years, this idea was developed by Dr. Hugh Everett, in his graduate thesis at the Princeton University. It basically posits that at any given moment the universe divides into countless similar instances.
The Nature of Choice, as a gift from God – And the next moment, these “newborn” universes split in a similar fashion. In some of these worlds you may be present: reading this article in one universe, or watching TV in another. The triggering factor for these multiplying worlds is our actions, explained Everett.
If we make some choices, instantly one universe splits into two with different versions of outcomes.
-Dr. Hugh Everett
In the 1980s, Andrei Linde, scientist from the Lebedev’s Institute of physics, developed the theory of multiple universes. He is now a professor at Stanford University.
Space consists of many inflating spheres, which give rise to similar spheres, and those, in turn, produce spheres in even greater numbers, and so on to infinity. In the universe, they are spaced apart. They are not aware of each other’s existence. But they represent parts of the same physical universe.
The fact that our universe is not alone is supported by data received from the Planck space telescope. Using the data, scientists have created the most accurate map of the microwave background, the so-called cosmic relic background radiation, which has remained since the inception of our universe.
They also found that the universe has a lot of dark recesses represented by some holes and extensive gaps. Theoretical physicist Laura Mersini-Houghton from the North Carolina University with her colleagues argue: the anomalies of the microwave background exist due to the fact that our universe is influenced by other universes existing nearby. And holes and gaps are a direct result of attacks on us by neighboring universes.
The Nature of the Soul – So, there is abundance of places or other universes where our soul could migrate after death, according to the theory of neo-biocentrism. But does the soul exist? Is there any scientific theory of consciousness that could accommodate such a claim?
According to Dr. Stuart Hameroff, a near-death experience happens when the quantum information that inhabits the nervous system leaves the body and dissipates into the universe. Contrary to materialistic accounts of consciousness, Hameroff offers an alternative explanation of consciousness that can perhaps appeal to both the rational scientific mind and personal intuitions.
Consciousness resides, according to Stuart and British physicist Sir Roger Penrose, in the microtubules of the brain cells, which are the primary sites of quantum processing. Upon death, this information is released from your body, meaning that your consciousness goes with it.
They have argued that our experience of consciousness is the result of quantum gravity effects in these microtubules, a theory which they dubbed orchestrated objective reduction (Orch-OR). Consciousness, or at least proto-consciousness is theorized by them to be a fundamental property of the universe, present even at the first moment of the universe during the Big Bang.
In one such scheme proto-conscious experience is a basic property of physical reality accessible to a quantum process associated with brain activity.
-Sir Roger Penrose
Our souls are in fact constructed from the very fabric of the universe – and may have existed since the beginning of time. Our brains are just receivers and amplifiers for the proto-consciousness that is intrinsic to the fabric of space-time.
So is there really a part of your consciousness that is non-material and will live on after the death of your physical body? Dr Hameroff told the Science Channel’s Through the Wormhole documentary
Let’s say the heart stops beating, the blood stops flowing, the microtubules lose their quantum state. The quantum information within the microtubules is not destroyed, it can’t be destroyed, it just distributes and dissipates to the universe at large.
-Dr. Stuart Hammeroff
Robert Lanza would add here that not only does it exist in the universe, it exists perhaps in another universe. If the patient is resuscitated, revived, this quantum information can go back into the microtubules and the patient says “I had a near death experience.”
If they’re not revived, and the patient dies, it’s possible that this quantum information can exist outside the body, perhaps indefinitely, as a soul.”
This account of quantum consciousness explains things like near-death experiences, astral projection, out of body experiences, and even reincarnation without needing to appeal to religious ideology.
The energy of your consciousness potentially gets recycled back into a different body at some point, and in the mean time it exists outside of the physical body on some other level of reality, and possibly in another universe.
Dreams and the Multiverse – In this world there could be a copy of yourself making different decisions and seeing places that somehow later manifest themselves in your dreams. For thousands of years people have wondered about the meaning of dreams. Why do some people dream about future events? Why are some dreams full of hidden meaning?
Can some of our dreams be glimpses of events taking place in an alternate reality, a parallel Universe? Our ancestors were as curious about dreams as modern scientists are today. Ancient Greeks and Romans believed dreams provided messages from the gods. In ancient China people treated dreams as a way to visit the world of dead. Ancient Egyptians were convinced that those who could interpret dream possessed special powers.
Many Native American tribes and Mexican civilizations believed dreams were a different world we visit when we sleep. The word “dream” comes from an old word in English that means “joy” and “music.” Today we know that dreams are often expressions of thoughts, feelings and events that pass through our mind while we are sleeping.
When we ask a profound question about the nature of reality, do we not expect an answer that sounds strange? Evolution provided us with intuition for the everyday physics that had survival value for our distant ancestors, so whenever we venture beyond the everyday world, we should expect it to seem bizarre.