Multiverse: A Brief Introduction

Multiverse From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia For other uses, see Multiverse (disambiguation). Physical cosmology Universe · Big Bang Age of the universe Timeline of the Big Bang Ultimate fate of the universe [show]Early universe [show]Expanding universe [show]Structure Formation [show]Components [show]Timeline [show]Experiments [show]Scientists v
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The multiverse (or meta-universe, metaverse) is the hypothetical set of multiple possible universes (including the historical universe we consistently experience) that together comprise everything that exists: the entirety of space, time, matter, and energy as well as the physical laws and constants that describe them.

The term was coined in 1895 by the American philosopher and psychologist William James. [1] The various universes within the multiverse are sometimes called parallel universes.

The structure of the multiverse, the nature of each universe within it and the relationship between the various constituent universes, depend on the specific multiverse hypothesis considered. Multiverses have been hypothesized in cosmology, physics, astronomy, religion, philosophy, transpersonal psychology and fiction, particularly in science fiction and fantasy.

In these contexts, parallel universes are also called “alternative universes”, “quantum universes”, “interpenetrating dimensions”, “parallel dimensions”, “parallel worlds”, “alternative realities”, and “alternative timelines”, among others.

Contents [hide] 1 Multiverse hypotheses in physics 1. 1 Tegmark’s classification 1. 1. 1 Level I: Beyond our cosmological horizon 1. 1. 2 Level II: Universes with different physical constants 1. 1. 3 Level III: Many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics 1. 1. 4 Level IV: Ultimate Ensemble 1. 2 Cyclic theories 1. 3 M-theory 1. 4 Anthropic principle 1. 5 WMAP cold spot 1. 6 Criticisms 1. 6. 1 Non-scientific claims 1. 6. 2 Indirect Evidence 1. 6. 3 Occam’s Razor 2 Multiverse hypotheses in philosophy and logic 2. Modal realism 2. 2 Trans-world identity 2.

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3 Fictional realism 3 Multiverse hypotheses in religion and spirituality 3. 1 Hinduism 3. 2 Islam 3. 3 Planes of existence 3. 4 Afterlife 3. 5 Eschatology 4 In popular culture 4. 1 Literature 4. 2 Film 4. 3 Television 4. 4 Other fictional uses 5 See also 6 References 6. 1 Notes 6. 2 Bibliography 7 External links [edit]Multiverse hypotheses in physics [edit]Tegmark’s classification Cosmologist Max Tegmark has provided a taxonomy of universes beyond the familiar observable universe.

The levels according to Tegmark’s classification are arranged such that subsequent levels can be understood to encompass and expand upon previous levels, and they are briefly described below. [2][3] [edit]Level I: Beyond our cosmological horizon A generic prediction of chaotic inflation is an infinite ergodic universe, which, being infinite, must contain Hubble volumes realizing all initial conditions. Accordingly, an infinite universe will contain an infinite number of Hubble volumes, all having the same physical laws and physical constants.

In regard to configurations such as the distribution of matter, almost all will differ from our Hubble volume. However, because there are infinitely many, far beyond the cosmological horizon, there will eventually be Hubble volumes with similar, and even identical, configurations. Tegmark estimates that an identical volume to ours should be about 1010115 meters away from us (a number larger than a googolplex). [4][5] [edit]Level II: Universes with different physical constants Bubble universes”, every disk is a bubble universe (Universe 1 to Universe 6 are different bubbles, they have physical constants that are different from our universe), our universe is just one of the bubbles. In the chaotic inflation theory, a variant of the cosmic inflation theory, the multiverse as a whole is stretching and will continue doing so forever, but some regions of space stop stretching and form distinct bubbles, like gas pockets in a loaf of rising bread. Such bubbles are embryonic level I multiverses.

Linde and Vanchurin calculated the number of these universes to be on the scale of 1010107. [6] Different bubbles may experience different spontaneous symmetry breaking resulting in different properties such as different physical constants. [4] This level also includes John Archibald Wheeler’s oscillatory universe theory and Lee Smolin’s fecund universes theory. [edit]Level III: Many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics Hugh Everett’s many-worlds interpretation (MWI) is one of several mainstream interpretations of quantum mechanics. In brief, one aspect of quantum echanics is that certain observations cannot be predicted absolutely. Instead, there is a range of possible observations each with a different probability. According to the MWI, each of these possible observations corresponds to a different universe. Suppose a die is thrown that contains 6 sides and that the result corresponds to a quantum mechanics observable.

All 6 possible ways the die can fall correspond to 6 different universes. (More correctly, in MWI there is only a single universe but after the “split” into “many worlds” these cannot in general interact. [7] Tegmark argues that a level III multiverse does not contain more possibilities in the Hubble volume than a level I-II multiverse. In effect, all the different “worlds” created by “splits” in a level III multiverse with the same physical constants can be found in some Hubble volume in a level I multiverse. Tegmark writes that “The only difference between Level I and Level III is where your doppelgangers reside. In Level I they live elsewhere in good old three-dimensional space. In Level III they live on another quantum branch in infinite-dimensional Hilbert space. Similarly, all level II bubble universes with different physical constants can in effect be found as “worlds” created by “splits” at the moment of spontaneous symmetry breaking in a level III multiverse. [4] Related to the many-worlds idea are Richard Feynman’s multiple histories interpretation and H. Dieter Zeh’s many-minds interpretation. [edit]Level IV: Ultimate Ensemble The Ultimate Ensemble hypothesis of Tegmark himself. This level considers equally real all universes that can be defined by mathematical structures. This also includes those having physical laws different from our observable universe.

Tegmark writes that “abstract mathematics is so general that any Theory Of Everything (TOE) that is definable in purely formal terms (independent of vague human terminology) is also a mathematical structure. For instance, a TOE involving a set of different types of entities (denoted by words, say) and relations between them (denoted by additional words) is nothing but what mathematicians call a set-theoretical model, and one can generally find a formal system that it is a model of. ” He argues this “implies that any conceivable parallel universe theory can be described at Level IV” and “subsumes all other ensembles, therefore brings losure to the hierarchy of multiverses, and there cannot be say a Level V. “[8] Jurgen Schmidhuber, however, says the “set of mathematical structures” is not even well-defined, and admits only universe representations describable by constructive mathematics, that is, computer programs. He explicitly includes universe representations describable by non-halting programs whose output bits converge after finite time, although the convergence time itself may not be predictable by a halting program, due to Kurt Godel’s limitations. 9][10][11] He also explicitly discusses the more restricted ensemble of quickly computable universes.

Cyclic theories Main articles: Cyclic model and Oscillatory universe In several theories there is a series of infinite, self-sustaining cycles (for example: an eternity of Big Bang-Big crunches). [edit]M-theory See also: Brane cosmology and String theory landscape A multiverse of a somewhat different kind has been envisaged within the multi-dimensional extension of string theory known as M-theory, also known as Membrane Theory. 13] In M-theory our universe and others are created by collisions between p-branes in a space with 11 and 26 dimensions (the number of dimensions depends on the chirality of the observer);[14][15] each universe takes the form of a D-brane. [14][15] Objects in each universe are essentially confined to the D-brane of their universe, but may be able to interact with other universes via gravity, a force which is not restricted to D-branes. [16] This is unlike the universes in the “quantum multiverse”, but both concepts can operate at the same time. [edit]Anthropic principle

Main article: Anthropic principle The concept of other universes has been proposed to explain why our universe seems to be fine-tuned for conscious life as we experience it. If there were a large number (possibly infinite) of different physical laws (or fundamental constants) in as many universes, some of these would have laws that were suitable for stars, planets and life to exist. The weak anthropic principle could then be applied to conclude that we would only consciously exist in those universes which were finely-tuned for our conscious existence.

Thus, while the probability might be extremely small that there is life in most of the universes, this scarcity of life-supporting universes does not imply intelligent design as the only explanation of our existence. [edit]WMAP cold spot Laura Mersini-Houghton claims that the WMAP cold spot may provide testable empirical evidence for a parallel universe within the multiverse. [edit]Criticisms [edit]Non-scientific claims Critics claim that many of these theories lack empirical testability, and without hard physical evidence are unfalsifiable; outside the methodology of scientific investigation to confirm or disprove.

Reasons why such claims lack empirical evidence or testability according to most Multiverse theories is that other universes are in a different spacetime framework, so in principle they cannot be observed. [edit]Indirect Evidence The logical foundation of modern science is hypothetico-deductive logic which permits a theory to propose unobvservable entities if these help explain observable outcomes, either by theory based predictions (of future observations) or retroductionism (of already known observations). [17] [edit]Occam’s Razor See also: Kolmogorov complexity

Critics argue that to postulate a practically infinite number of unobservable universes just to explain our own seems contrary to Occam’s razor. [18][19] Tegmark answers: “A skeptic worries about all the information necessary to specify all those unseen worlds. But an entire ensemble is often much simpler than one of its members. This principle can be stated more formally using the notion of algorithmic information content. The algorithmic information content in a number is, roughly speaking, the length of the shortest computer program that will produce that number as output.

For example, consider the set of all integers. Which is simpler, the whole set or just one number? Naively, you might think that a single number is simpler, but the entire set can be generated by quite a trivial computer program, whereas a single number can be hugely long. Therefore, the whole set is actually simpler. Similarly, the set of all solutions to Einstein’s field equations is simpler than a specific solution. The former is described by a few equations, whereas the latter requires the specification of vast amounts of initial data on some hypersurface.

The lesson is that complexity increases when we restrict our attention to one particular element in an ensemble, thereby losing the symmetry and simplicity that were inherent in the totality of all the elements taken together. In this sense, the higher-level multiverses are simpler. Going from our universe to the Level I multiverse eliminates the need to specify initial conditions, upgrading to Level II eliminates the need to specify physical constants, and the Level IV multiverse eliminates the need to specify anything at all. ” He continues A common feature of all four multiverse levels is that the simplest and arguably most elegant theory involves parallel universes by default. To deny the existence of those universes, one needs to complicate the theory by adding experimentally unsupported processes and ad hoc postulates: finite space, wave function collapse and ontological asymmetry. Our judgment therefore comes down to which we find more wasteful and inelegant: many worlds or many words. Perhaps we will gradually get used to the weird ways of our cosmos and find its strangeness to be part of its charm.

Multiverse hypotheses in philosophy and logic edit]Modal realism Possible worlds are a way of explaining probability, hypothetical statements and the like, and some philosophers such as David Lewis believe that all possible worlds exist, and are just as real as the actual world (a position known as modal realism). [20] [edit]Trans-world identity A metaphysical issue that crops up in multiverse schema that posit infinite identical copies of any given universe is that of the notion that there can be identical objects in different possible worlds. According to the counterpart theory of David Lewis, the objects should be regarded as similar rather than identical. 21][22] [edit]Fictional realism The view that because fictions exist, fictional characters exist as well. There are fictional entities, in the same sense as that in which, setting aside philosophical disputes, there are people, Mondays, numbers and planets. [23][24] [edit]Multiverse hypotheses in religion and spirituality Main article: Multiverse (religion) [edit]Hinduism Main article: Hindu cosmology The concept of multiple universes is mentioned many times in Hindu Puranic literature, such as in the Bhagavata Purana: Because You are unlimited, neither the lords of heaven nor even You Yourself can ever reach the end of Your glories.

The countless universes, each enveloped in its shell, are compelled by the wheel of time to wander within You, like particles of dust blowing about in the sky. The srutis, following their method of eliminating everything separate from the Supreme, become successful by revealing You as their final conclusion (Bhagavata Purana 10. 87. 41) [edit]Islam Main article: Islamic cosmology There are exactly seven verses in the Quran that specify that there are seven heavens. One verse says that each heaven or sky has its own order, possibly meaning laws of nature.

Another verse says after mentioning the seven heavens “and similar earths”. So [Allah] decreed them as seven heavens (one above the other) in two days and revealed to each heaven its orders. And We [Allah] adorned the lowest heaven with lights, and protection. Such is the decree of the Exalted; the Knowledgeable. [Quran 41. 12] Fakhr al-Din al-Razi (1149–1209), in dealing with his conception of physics and the physical world in his Matalib, “explores the notion of the existence of a multiverse in the context of his commentary” on the Qur’anic verse, “All praise belongs to God, Lord of the Worlds. He raises the question of whether the term “worlds” in this verse refers to “multiple worlds within this single universe or cosmos, or to many other universes or a multiverse beyond this known universe. ” Al-Razi disagreed with the Aristotelian and Avicennian view of the impossibility of multiple universes. This disagreement arose from his affirmation of atomism, as advocated by the Ash’ari school of Islamic theology, which entails the existence of vacant space in which the atoms move, combine and separate. 25] He argued that God has the power to fill the vacuum with an infinite number of universes. [26] [edit]Planes of existence Main article: Plane (esotericism) Certain religions and esoteric cosmologies propound the idea of a whole series of subtle emanated planes or worlds. [edit]Afterlife Many religions include an afterlife existence in realms, such as heavens and hells, which may be very different from the observable universe. [edit]Eschatology See also: End time Eschatological scenarios may include a new different world after the end time of the current one.

For example, Hindu cosmology includes the idea of an infinite cycle of births and deaths and an infinite number of universes with each cycle lasting 8. 4 billion years. [27] Similar eschatological scenarios appear in other religions, in the form of belief in there being a new and different world after the end time of the current one. [edit]In popular culture This “In popular culture” section may contain minor or trivial references. Please reorganize this content to explain the subject’s impact on popular culture rather than simply listing appearances, and remove trivial references. May 2010) See also: Parallel universe (fiction) and Fictional universe [edit]Literature The term Multiverse was notably used in 1962 by science fiction author Michael Moorcock, though not for the first time in literature, having previously been used by both William James in 1895 and John Cowper Powys in his 1955 novel The Brazen Head (p. 279). The author and editor Paul le Page Barnett, best known by the pseudonym John Grant, later used the term polycosmos for a similar concept binding together a number of his works.

He formed the word from Greek morphemes where ‘multiverse’ uses Latin. [28] Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle Takes place in a parallel universe where the allies lost WWII. The novel follows several characters, one of whom travels to what is implied as an alternate universe for a short time. (our own) In the World of Tiers novels (1965) by Philip Jose Farmer, the background of the stories are set in a multiverse where godlike beings are able to create a number of pocket universes at their whim.

Our own universe is part of this series, but interestingly its boundary appears to end at the edge of the solar system. In a 1971 short story “All the Myriad Ways”, author Larry Niven explores the psychological implications of Multiverse theory. The story somewhat erroneously postulates that since a split in the Multiverse is created at each decision point, the number of suicides would rise dramatically as people consider how the possibility of ending their lives would impact the many versions of the universe.

The idea is that simply considering the act causes all possible outcomes to occur in somewhat equal proportion. While the story is highly entertaining, this notion is pure fiction, and is not supported by any significant theory of muitiple universes. The way in which Robert A. Heinlein used interlocking characters and settings in his novels have led to his worlds being described as a multiverse. [29] In C. S. Lewis’s series The Chronicles of Narnia, multiple universes exist within a monotheistic, rather than a naturalistic framework.

At the will of Aslan (who corresponds to the Christian God), the main characters enter different universes through various means, including a forest containing pools of water. A leap into any pool will take one into a universe with natural laws and even a structure differing from our own. (In Narnia, for instance, the world is not spherical, but flat, and the brave mouse Reepicheep travels to the end of it in order to enter “Aslan’s Country”. In Philip Pullman’s trilogy His Dark Materials the lead characters enter parallel universes by using a knife to cut into the fabric of reality. The novel Timeline by Michael Crichton uses the multiverse theory as a mechanism for travel back to medieval times to research the Hundred Years’ War. A 2000 Dean Koontz Novel, From the Corner of His Eye, is based entirely around the belief in multiple realities. At least four characters in the book have special abilities based around the use of multiple realities.

Stephen King’s Dark Tower series presupposes the idea of a multiverse, an “infinity of infinities”, all meeting at a central nexus point in space and time, the Dark Tower itself. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy features the ‘Whole Sort of General Mish-Mash’, in which every possible universe is located at some point along the probability axis. The 2004 Andrew Crumey novel Mobius Dick uses Everett’s Many Worlds theory as support for a plot involving both multiple histories (Britain as Fascist or Communist state) and multiple literatures (alternative versions of works by Thomas Mann).

Crumey has done academic research on Walter Benjamin and the multiverse of Louis Auguste Blanqui. In the fictional series of Robert Jordan’s World of the Wheel of time, the main character Rand Al Thor at one time uses his One power to channel power through a Portal stone which causes him and his troupe to experience lives in various probability universes, which however always end with his death (he is a pivotal character in the series on account of the dark one).

Both DC Comics and Marvel Comics have made extensive use of the multiverse concept, with DC adopting the notion (later adapted by Marvel) of numbering the many different versions of Earth presented, which culminated in the Crisis on Infinite Earths story arc of the 1980s, and its later sequels Infinite Crisis, 52 and Final Crisis. An example of Marvel using the multiverse concept is the Marvel Zombies series and the Ultimate line of comics which take place in an alternate universe. In the manga ‘Katekyo Hitman Reborn! , the main antagonist of the future arc, Byakuran, is capable of moving between parallel universes, and he also manages to bring himself from one universe to another. [edit]Film In the 2001 Jet Li film, The One, Jet Li’s character travels to several different universes to carry out his deadly deeds. Although not explicitly described as such in the film, the alternate reality experienced by the George Bailey and Clarence characters in the 1946 film It’s a Wonderful Life may be interpreted as a parallel universe.

The 2009 film Star Trek features the characters of Spock and Nero traveling backwards in time by means of a black hole, drastically altering the timeline. Though this is not a true alternate universe, it presents an altered history within our “original” universe. [edit]Television In the 2010 season of Lost a new “flash sideways” storyline seemed to show a parallel universe where the passengers of Oceanic Flight 815 land safely in Los Angeles and the island they originally crashed on is now underwater.

The idea that it was a parallel universe arose from events in the previous season involving several main characters on the island that had traveled back in time to the year 1977. In the episodes leading up to the end of the 2009 season it was implied that detonating a hydrogen bomb within a pocket of electromagnetic energy could reset time and make it so Oceanic Flight 815 never crashed, which leads to the characters who are stuck in 1977 detonating the bomb in the final moments of the season finale.

When the 2010 season opened with what appeared to be two different timelines, one where the plane never crashed and one where the characters that detonated the bomb are back to their original time yet still stuck on the island, it seemed to imply to the viewers that the bomb had created a parallel universe instead of just resetting the one they were in like they had thought it would. However, in the 2010 series finale, it is revealed that the bomb did not reset time or create a parallel universe.

Instead the “flash sideways” world is actually a super flash forward set after all the events on the island that shows a spiritual gateway to the afterlife, created by the characters to find one another after they die and to allow themselves to let go of their physical lives before moving on, rather than an actual parallel universe in the physical sense. During the “Android Arc” in Dragon Ball Z, the show’s main character, Son Goku dies from an incurable heart virus roughly two and a half years after killing Frieza and his father King Cold.

Six months later, a pair of androids appear and kill all of the Z fighters (except for Son Gohan and infant Trunks). As a result of this divergent timeline, several key characters are not born. These characters are: Goten, Pan, Bra, Marron and Uub. Trunks, now nearly an adult, travels 20 years into the past where/when the main timeline viewers are familiar with exists. In the network movie Turtles Forever, the 2003 turtles meet their 1980s conterparts, claiming that they came from an alternate universe.

It is later revealed that there is a multiverse of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The television show Sliders was based entirely on the possibility of parallel universes. In each episode the stars experienced an alternate universe through the use of a device that would create a portal through which to travel to those alternate realities. In the season 8 premiere of Family Guy, Stewie and Brian use an enhanced device to travel to different universes. They temporarily stay in a world that has not been influenced by Christianity, therefore the world being technologically head 1000 years, and a world where dogs are the dominant species before returning to their world. The Fox show Fringe explores an alternate universe as part of its series-wide plot. The show also touches on crossing over to the other side, the advancement of science and technology bringing two worlds together, as well as the possibility of two worlds colliding and bringing one of them to an end. Several storylines in the Star Trek and Doctor Who franchises have involved multiverses.

Examples include: “Mirror, Mirror” (and sequels) in Star Trek: The Original Series; “Parallels” in Star Trek: The Next Generation; and “Inferno”, “Rise of the Cybermen” and “Turn Left” in Doctor Who. Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis, and Stargate Universe also have episodes where people travel to different parallel universes and alternate timelines. Episodes include “There but for the Grace of God”, “2010”, “2001”, “Moebius” parts 1 and 2, “Before I Sleep”, “Mackay and Mrs. Miller”, “The Last Man”, “Vegas” and “Time”.

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Multiverse: A Brief Introduction
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