The idea of the existence of infinite worlds has been fascinating scientific minds for centuries. Let’s explore some of the most intriguing theories and studies that suggest our universe is not the only one.
According to the conventional cosmic theory, our universe was created about 13.7 billion years ago in what is known as Big Bang. In a small fraction of seconds (of the order of s) immediately after the Big Bang, the universe underwent a sudden and super-fast expansion called, “inflation”. The Inflation Theory, as proposed by the MIT physicist Alan Guth was suggested to explain for such unresolved issues as the homogeneity of our universe and its cosmic wave background (CMB) despite its relative short long lifetime in astronomical scales. Once seen as an innovative suggestion, the inflation theory is now regarded as the leading cosmological hypothesis owing to many confirmations of its predictions.
Universe and multiverse are two contradictory words for describing the same “thing” that we live in. The first, i.e., “universe” refers to our classical understanding of the environment that exists out of us; while the later, i.e., “multiverse” refers to a possible set of infinite universes or multi-universes that exist alongside our own representing the real entity where we are used to be calling the universe. Parallel universe is another name for Universe’s within the multiverse and is equally used in scientific literature.
Extending the inflation theory, some cosmologists suggest that during inflation, small subatomic scraps of space underwent a sudden expansion of their dimension growing to sizes comparable to that of our present observable universe. During this process, the energy of expansion led to the explosion of the compact mixture of particles and radiation resulting in a Big Bang. According to them, we are currently living in a parallel or “bubble” universe while other bubbles may still be at their growing stage.
The emergence of the theory
The idea of parallel universes was first proposed in 1950 by a graduate student at Princeton named Hugh Everett in his article titled “Many Worlds” theory. The theory was aimed at explaining weird issues in quantum mechanics.
Although the idea did not receive much attention at its time, it was later developed and presented as MIW or “Many Interacting Worlds” theory by the Texas Tech University physicist Bill Poirier. Poirier’s work was originally aimed at understanding of chemical compounds and quantum mechanics of complex molecules, but it too ended up in the parallel universe, providing of yet another support for the theory at the quantum level.
Quantum mechanics and infinite worlds
Although more than a century has passed since the introduction of quantum mechanics and its strange interpretation of the nature of matter and interactions like wave-particle dual nature of matter and fields, many controversies of the theory has still remained unresolved to be explained later. In his article on infinite worlds published in 2014, Poirier suggested that all strange and vague issues in quantum mechanics could be best explained as the interaction of parallel worlds. According to the theory, in each parallel universe wave function for particles does not necessarily exist.
Another important feature of the theory is its explanation of the constants of nature. In physics, there are mysterious unique constants such as Newton’s constant of gravity, Planck’s number, the mass of the electron, electric charge, etc. that have not been accounted for by now. These constants are so well-tuned and pre-determined that slightest change in them could lead to another version of the universe, a universe without our Milky Way galaxy, solar system or even life. According to the theory, in a multiverse, life can only be developed in those universes that their constants are those needed for the formation of life such as our universe. As a result, universes that are not compliant with this condition cannot have this property.
The experiment has always been the only proof of a theory. The theory of infinite worlds can indeed be verified through its traces in our universe. Some researchers have suggested that a collision between two universes like our universe with a neighboring universe can produce its trace on our universe’s CMB (Cosmic Microwave Background).
CMB is the reminiscent of the radiation produced at early stages of Big Bang. The argument was carefully tested, and based on a comprehensive review by the astrophysicist Ranga-Ram Chary from the U.S. Planck Data Center at Caltech. There seems to be a good proof that such an imprint has indeed been detected. Comparing the CMB map prepared by the European Space Agency (ESA), with a shot of the night sky captured by the Planck telescope, he managed to find a patch of light 4,500 times brighter than it should be. There have been some other assumptions that the result may have been due to noise, but it may equally be a cosmic bubble bump.
The issue still remains to be verified, but the new result and later ones will finally lead to the conclusion. If the theory is right, then it will result in profound changes in our understanding of universe and quantum mechanics with its weird concepts.
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