The multiverse theory—the theory of many universes–means there may be multiples of you running around in space. If you’ve ever wished you could be in two places—or more—at once, then the multiverse theory is something very exciting to think about. Last week, scientists announced that they had found direct evidence of the Big Bang, an event which, prior to their announcement, was purely theoretical. This evidence includes the measurement of ripples, also called gravitational waves, in space that have been left over from the Big Bang, and it gives weight to the theory of multiverses.
Alan Guth, who works at MIT as a theoretical physicist, says that because scientists now know that inflation (what happened after the Big Bang) is true, it is actually difficult to come up with any “models of inflation that don’t lead to a multiverse.” Now that researchers have found direct evidence for the Big Bang, he says, many scientists are starting to get really serious about exploring the possibility of multiverses.
In order for a non-scientist to understand how proof of gravitational waves can lead to multiverse theory making sense as a theory, it’s easiest to think about the concept of bubbles. As the universe expands, it could create “bubbles” or other universes which are different from our own and which even have different laws of physics. The bubbles might have formed as, in the seconds after the Big Bang, the universe inflated faster in some spots than in others. This is what might cause space to bend and form bubbles which could eventually break off and form additional universes, each stemming from their own Big Bang. As those universes expanded in turn, there could also be sections which expanded faster or slower, and so on. It could be like an infinity of mirrors except with bubbles that keep expanding and eventually forming multiverses. Multiverse theory might mean multiples of you living out an endless number lives in a limitless variety of ways.
Sean Carroll, a physicist, wrote a piece in the New York Times in which he explained that the finding announced earlier this month is thrilling to scientists, especially when thinking about the idea of multiverses. Carroll says that the initial concept of inflation in the universe stemmed from early people’s need to better understand the natural world around them. Now, the theory has evolved to include something that was once considered a far-reaching idea.
Carroll goes on to explain that knowing inflation goes on forever makes it likely that there could be an endless number of worlds. Some physicists have posited that we could be existing in some or many of those worlds at the same time we are existing in this one.
According to several of these theories, in the multiverse, you could be living in a limitless number of scenarios, such as being a huge celebrity or being president. While it might seem like a stretch to imagine, remember that at one time, the Big Bang and its ensuing endless inflation wasn’t taken all that seriously either. Now, we have direct evidence that the Big Bang is the true origin of our universe. The multiverse theory might mean there are multiples of you running around all over the space-time of endless universes. What would your other yous be doing right about now? Relaxing on the beach with a margarita? Performing onstage to the sound of thunderous clapping of thousands of fans? Or simply curled up with some alien pets watching TV? It’s fun to ponder, and even more fun to realize it may actually be true.
By: Rebecca Savastio