The Multiverse Theory

Joel Wray

Space may not be the final frontier. In a world where distances are constantly shrinking, it may be comforting to discover that we could have further to travel. The topic chosen is the theory of a multiverse, that is, an infinite quantity of parallel universes. In each time point of history has strayed from the dimension we are in, at some point in time, and progressed itself on a different course. This could be as simple as one photon of light existing or not existing or as drastic as a world without life forms, where a different set of rules regarding physics and other sciences applies. The endless possibilities of experience that occur when contemplating such things as multi-dimensional travel capture and entrance the imagination. The multiverse theory offers many solutions to problems as well as many problems without solutions.

This theory is one that could greatly affect human progression through time. With an infinite number of alternate realities the must be one that has succeeded ours at a technological level. Thus, it seems plausible that any problem we have now in a single universe has a solution in an alternate universe. Multi-dimensional theorists work closely with wormhole theorists as it is often speculated that these two areas are intertwined..

The Multiverse:

The multiverse theory undergoes many different names and variations. The model is considered a farce by some and an absolute truth by others. Of course there is no real way to tell; still the theories and reasoning are fascinating. The main multiverse theories are the bubble universe model, an adaptation of the chaotic inflation theory and to a lesser degree the oscillatory universe theory. Separately theorised but on the topic is the travel between these universes, adopting the wormhole theory.

To begin, the bubble universe model is an adaptation of that of the Big Bang. This model was first proposed by Andrei Linde during the years of his physics degree. After finishing his degree he halted work on this topic. The theory describes a universe in a false vacuum state. Portions of this false vacuum state break from this false vacuum and create smaller universes that expand until they reach a true vacuum state. These universes continue to “bubble” off the false vacuum over time, creating multiple true vacuum universes (Linde, 1994). That is, a multiverse. These true vacuum universes are in no way in causal contact with each other and are said to be unimaginable distances apart. There have been many theories emerging as variations of this theory; however none have been as accepted as well as the bubble universe theory (Boyle, MSNBC.com).


Image: From The Self-Reproducing Inflationary Universe by Andre Linde.

The Chaotic inflation theory of a multiverse is accepted by fewer members of the scientific profession; however as in the case of most models it has as much evidence for as against its validity. It is usually the disbelief of such an idea that draws so much criticism. The theory of chaotic inflation shows the simplicity of creating a universe the size of ours using merely a hundred-thousandth of a gram of matter. Once appropriate energy is applied the vacuum would expand exponentially to come to be one the size that we are familiar with now. Alan Guth and other physicists have come to the same postulation when theorizing about this topic (Holt, 2004). These physicists state that, in theory, it is entirely possible that a physicist in another universe created our universe as a school science project or simply just for fun. The creator could have controlled the resultant physics in our universe with ease as a way of trying to send us a message. The theory goes that if one (ours) was created then there must have been one to create ours in. Also if one was created what would stop an infinite amount to be created? This theory obviously causes much concern in society as people do not like the idea that their lives are the result of someone playing around in a laboratory. Theology and the religious sector of our society strongly oppose this theory as it is the one most against the creation story.

The oscillatory-universe theory (more recently referred to as the cyclic model), to a different degree, also satisfies the multiverse theory. Where the first two theories discussed referred to different universes in no causal contact existing in the same point of space-time but a different three-dimensional space, the oscillatory-universe refers to multiple universes existing in the same three-dimensional space in no causal contact because they exist in different space-time. These universes are the result of the continual cycle between a big bang and a big crunch. As time progresses, a universe is destroyed and another is created. This is another example where the wormhole theory plays an integral part in universe traversing. Different to the normal application of a wormhole, to traverse between universes under the confines of this model it would be required to change your position greatly in space-time rather than three-dimensional space. Many theorists believe this would be a completely plausible possibility. The cyclic model or oscillatory-universe model collect high levels of criticism due to the contradictions to the findings of Stephen Hawking. Also the requirement of string theory to uphold this theory is a cause for debate as the string theory is not very well accepted by the majority of the scientific society. However, as in most cases the theory cannot be disproved and is still a valid possibility for the multiverse theory although different to the previous possibilities.

This is where the wormhole theory comes in to play. Wormhole theory has long been a topic of hot debate among astrophysicists and will be, possibly forever. Wormhole theory is not a theory of the multiverse, however wormhole theory is the only method theorised to be able to pass between universes in a multiverse (Guldvog, 2004). A black hole such as the many that commonly occur in our universe is a volume of space so dense it can actually rip apart the fabric of space. The wormhole theory is like this in that there would be something similar to a black hole with a gateway in the centre. This gateway would allow matter to pass through it unharmed to the connecting universe or area in space-time.

As a whole, the theoretical possibility of a multiverse is a certainty. The reality of this case is a matter of hot debate and will be so for a long time. There are three variations on the multiverse theory. They are the bubble-universe model, the chaotic inflation theory and the less accepted oscillatory-universe theory. All have evidence for and against as theories for the existence of a multiverse.

Bibliography:

  • The Big Lab Experiment”, by Jim Holt. 19/05/2004
  • Cyclic Universe or Bubble Universe”, Alan Boyle at MSNBC.com
  • Could cyclic universe explain mystery?” by Ker Than, 8/05/2006. www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12690177/
  • The Self-Reproducing Inflationary Universe”, by Andre Linde. From, Scientific American November Issue 1994.
  • Cosmological Fantasies” by Mohammad Gill. 17/11/2004. www.chowk.com.
  • Wormholes”, by Tormod Guldvog. 30/06/2004. www.hypography.com/topics/wormholes.cfm
  • Parallel Universes” by Max Tegmark in Science and Ultimately Reality: From Quantum to Cosmos 23/03/2003
  • Inflation for Beginners” by John Gribbin in Cosmology for Beginners www.lifesci.sussex.ac.uk/home/John_Gribben/cosmo.htm
  • The Endless Universe: Introduction to the Cyclic Universe” by Paul J. Steinhardt. 05/2002. www.actionbioscience.org/newfrontiers/steinhardt.html



Home  |  Archives  |  Submission Guidelines  |  About Us  |  Feedback  |  Links

OnSET is an initiative of the Science Communication Program
URL: http://www.onset.unsw.edu.au/     Enquiries: onset@unsw.edu.au
Authorised by: Will Rifkin, Science Communication
Site updated: 7 Febuary, 2006      UNSW 2006 | Disclaimer
Science UNSW - The Best Choice
CRICOS Provider Code: 00098G
 
Search OnSET

OnSET is an online science magazine, written and produced by students.

divide

OnSET Issue 6 launches for O-Week 2006!

divide

Worldwide Day in Science
University students from around the world are taking a snapshot of scientific endeavour.

divide

Sunswift III
The UNSW Solar Racing Team is embarking on an exciting new project, to design and build the most advanced solar car ever built in Australia.

divide

Outreach Centre for Sciences
UNSW Science students can visit your school to present an exciting Science Show or planetarium session.

divide

South Pole Diaries
Follow the daily adventures of UNSW astronomers at the South Pole and Dome C through these diaries.

News in Science

UNSW is not responsible for the content of these external sites