The universe is something we take for granted. Here it is. Here we are. Job done?
No. There is another idea, which may sound a little far-fetched, and is still widely debated among the scientific community.
That idea is the multiverse.
What is the Multiverse?
The multiverse is the premise that our universe is just one of an infinite number of universes.
These other universes sit side by side with ours, in higher dimensions than our senses are capable of perceiving.
Each different universe carries its own different version of reality. Its own different laws of science.
Every possible combination of what is possible (and that includes the impossible in our universe) exists in the multiverse.
Mind blown? Let's look at a Lego example.
In our universe, we have Ironman and Batman. In another universe, we could have Ironbat...or Batiron?!
Here's another example.
In our universe, we have Flash and he can travel at almost 800mph.
In another universe, then the speed of light may not be finite and Flash could travel infinitely fast. But then he probably wouldn't exist.
So, life may not exist in a universe where the speed of light is infinite. Or it may.
The possibilities for life in the multiverse are as infinite as the universes it contains.
What does the Multiverse mean to me?
At a recent talk from Professor Brian Cox, he suggested that the infinite number of universes could explain our own existence.
If there are an infinite number of universes, then every single possible combination of scientific laws exists.
We are just one universe where the laws of science mean that our specific form of life can exist.
So, we have to exist in the multiverse concept because we are one perturbation of an infinite number of possibilities, and universes.
Can we travel to another universe?
No. The main criticism of the multiverse theory is that it can not be experimentally proven. Some argue that this means the multiverse theory is some sort of "no man's-land between mathematics, physics and philosophy that does not truly meet the requirements of any."
That said, a cold spot in space was recently discovered that could have been created by two universes colliding. It's missing 10,000 galaxies and has baffled the scientific community.
Are we one of an infinite number of universes? We may never know.
But we should always ask.
As James Bullock, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at UC Irvine, told Astronomy: “There’s going to always be this fuzzy frontier on the edge of knowledge where things are not locked down. And that doesn’t mean those pursuits aren’t worthy. That’s where the crux of the issue lies: we want to be honest about the things we understand and don’t understand.”
Extra reading and watching
Here's a great video and write up from the BBC on the foundations of the multiverse from a quantum mechanics point of view. And Space.com covers 5 reasons we may live in a multiverse in this excellent post.
So, do we live in a multiverse? Here's a great video summarising the concept with some of our universe's superstar scientists:
And I love this snapshot on the consequences of the multiverse from Max Tegmark's studies:
What is Sunday Science?
Hello. I’m the freelance writer who gets tech. I have two degrees in Physics and, during my studies, I became increasingly frustrated with the complicated language used to describe some outstanding scientific principles. Language should aid our understanding — in science, it often feels like a barrier.
So, I want to simplify these science sayings and this blog series “Sunday Science” gives a quick, no-nonsense definition of the complex-sounding scientific terms you often hear, but may not completely understand.
If there’s a scientific term or topic you’d like me to tackle in my next post, fire an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below. If you want to sign up to our weekly newsletter, click here.
Main image from http://nftu.net/multiverse-theory-vladimir-moss/.
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