Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Why Sliders may be possible--the science of multi-universes

When I was younger, I was hooked on a television show called Sliders--a concept based on a group of travelers who end up by accident going through a "gateway" to an alternate universe. Throughout the series, they have to go through world after world as they try to find their way back home to their reality. Not sure about you but as a teen, I had a crush on Jerry O'Connell. Anyway, through their travels, the each new world is completely different than the last. Sometimes, they barely make it out into another (they have a device that helps them "slide" to the next location and that device runs on a timer. If it runs out, they're stuck in that world forever).

But what if multi-universes are real? The potential for a multiverse comes from a theory called eternal inflation--postulating 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.

In a recent study, a team of researchers have revealed that they have discovered four statistically unlikely circular patterns in what they call the cosmic microwave background (or CMB-- essentially, it is the thermal radiation filling the observable universe). Bubble universes are thought to be not only irregular-shaped, but that they can move about. The researchers believe that these marks could be "bruises" that our universe received when it bumped into other universes.

On researcher said:

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.

Based on this thought, the researchers developed a computer algorithm to analyze CMB observations for patterns that would fit.
But this wasn't the only strange discovery. Before the bubbles were discovered, quantum physicists in 2010 at the University of California found that an object you can see in front of you may exist simultaneously in a parallel universe (causing some scientists to believe that time travel may be plausible-- if you're interested in reading more on time travel, I wrote two posts on it: Pt 1 and Pt 2). What the physicists found, was a way to move a tiny metal paddle, and yet keep it still at the same time.

This paddle, about a width of a human hair was cooled in the fridge. After dimming the lights and being placed under a special bell jar with all the air sucked out to eliminate vibrations, the paddle was plucked-- and was noted to move and stand still at same time (kind of hard to picture that, I'll admit). As it's explained, electrons, which circle the nucleus of an atom, are swirling around in multiple states at the same time.

What does it mean? One physicist says:

"When you observe something in one state, one theory is it that it splits the universe into two parts."
So because of this, only one universe would be seen and therefore would "freeze" while all the
others remain in motion, out of sight.

While both of the findings (the bubbles and the paddle being in two states at once) could just be coincidental, it could also be a step in the direction of learning more and perhaps proving that our world may not be the only one. What do you think? Do you believe we live in a multiverse?

For fun, there's a site out there that allows you to input your picture and to find your doppelganger. Who do you look like?

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