Skip to comments.Other Universes Finally Detectable? New method might uncover "bruises" from other universes..
Posted on 08/25/2011 2:00:41 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
Big as it is, our universe may be just one of many, all floating in a nearly unfathomable "multiverse," scientists say. Problem is, there's been no way to test the idea.
Now, though, physicists say they've devised a way to detect "bruises" from our cosmos's purported collisions with other universes.
The international team has created a new computer algorithm to hunt for such irregularities in our universe, which they say would be disk-shapedthink of the temporary, circular flattening that happens when one beach ball bumps into another.
Because the multiverse would likely have expanded so fast that its universes would have been pulled far apart shortly after their creation, collisions would likely have occurred only during our universe's infancy.
Luckily, modern telescopes are able to study a sort of faint baby picture of the universe: the cosmic microwave background. The CMB is radiation emitted by the hot plasma that dominated the universe up until about 380,000 years after the big bang, which is thought to have occurred more than 13 billion years ago.
"For quite awhile, people have suspected there might be other bubble universes. But they thought this was completely untestable," said theoretical physicist Matthew Johnson of the Perimeter Institute.
"We now have a way to look for signals predicted by the theory. That we're able to test these ideas, period, is huge"and due largely to the development of the new software and improved mapping of the CMB, said Johnson, a co-author of two recent studies describing the new algorithm to be published in future issues of the journals Physical Review Letters and Physical Review D.
Cosmic Dents or Random Patterns?
The multiverse, if it exists, may have sprung out of a chaotic fluctuation of empty space.
Several "bubble" universes similar to our own, but perhaps with slightly different physical laws, would have appeared at about the same time and bumped against each other before diffusing across the multiverse.
The new algorithm offers a systematic, statistics-backed way to search for subtle evidence of these possible crashes in the mostly smooth pattern of the CMBsomething that may be impossible for humans alone.
While people are good at seeing hard-to-detect patterns, we're also prone to seeing things that aren't what they appear to bea face on Mars, for example.
"People tend to recognize patterns whether or not they are there. With something like the CMB that's very faint and very subtle, you need to know if [an anomaly] happened randomly or requires something extra" to have caused it, said cosmologist Sean Carroll of Caltech, who wasn't involved in the study.
"This team doesn't want to be fooled into thinking a pattern is more than just random noise."
(Also see "Every Black Hole Contains Another Universe?")
The algorithm has, so far, found 15 interesting features. Four of these looked especially promising, but statistical analyses suggest chance is the best explanation for the features, according to co-author Johnson.
It may just be that current maps of the CMB are simply not sharp enough to catch the presumably slight shifts that would indicate an inter-universal hit and run.
With that in mind, Johnson and his collaborators are anxiously awaiting new data from the Planck space telescope, which is recording the CMB in a resolution three times better than the most recent CMB map, created using the orbiting Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP).
Planck's data collection is slated to finish later this year, but it will take until January 2013 to clean it up, expunging distortions caused by interference from celestial bodies closer to us in time and space than the CMB.
Big, Earth-Shattering Discovery?
Even with better data from Planck, finding evidence of a universe-to-universe smashup is a game of chance, thanks to the nearly infinite possible outcomes.
A collision might destroy a universe before anyone could observe evidence of the collision or be too gentle to leave detectable evidence behind. There may even be multiple collisions that obscure evidence of one another.
If major collisions happened and are detectable, however, they will have left behind somethinga cooler temperature, a warmer one, irregularities in the density of matter, or some other significant disturbance.
Johnson and his colleagues are keeping the algorithm generic to find any meaningful differences at all in Planck's cleaned-up data.
"It's a long shot. But it would be such a big, earthshattering discovery that it's worth the effort," Caltech's Carroll said.
"If these guys discover the multiverse, it will forever change how we view our own universe."
I think I’ll stick with the eternal mystery theory....
I’d really like to start with what Francis Schaeffer called nothing nothing no space, no time, no laws of nature, no fields, no categories.
From absolutely nothing, get them to derive not only a universe, but reasoning beings questioning its origin and destiny.
“From absolutely nothing, get them to derive not only a universe, but reasoning beings questioning its origin and destiny.”
Give it to the Global Warming Crowd ... they’ll have it on your desk Friday afternoon...next Friday. Can’t expect them to do miracles.
So is this supposed to be proof of there being other versions of human history in alternate universes?
Hmmm, multiple universes, so there must have been more than one Big Bang, eh? A gang bang, as it were.
no. The other universes wouldn’t be like ours necessarily. Could be a completely alien place with different physical laws, etc.
Hot coffee through my nose is not what I needed.............
I repeat. The known universe is approximately 14 + billion years old. Yet we only live for 70. Physics can detect atomic particles that decay in a millionth of a second. The known universe is ‘supposed’ to continue for several TRILLION years. We live 70. It is supposed to end as a black, lifeless, frozen nothing. So exactly WHY do we exist? Some game? It doesn’t make any sense. There is NO purpose to our existence. The time frames are all wrong. Very weird!
When Hubble is able to detect empty space beyond which there is nothing I willl believe in multi universes.
Stuff and nonsense!
Here’s the real takeaway from the article: “Four of these looked especially promising, but statistical analyses suggest chance is the best explanation for the features.”
In other words, they might as well study the payouts on slot machines. And, so what if they discover a real anomaly? It would perhaps be consistent with some hypothesis of a multiverse, but it would hardly make the hypothesis provable. And this would probably interfere with finding the real cause of the anomaly if such a thing were possible. The only productive outcome of this nonsense is to provide a storyline for bad science fiction.
Your tax dollars at work.
There is a show on august 31st on the science channel with John Noble hosting it.
I look forward to it.
[ So is this supposed to be proof of there being other versions of human history in alternate universes? ]
Maybe if we find a universe where communism was defeated early on we could find a way to travel there and all the libs can stay here and we can go there.
[ no. The other universes wouldnt be like ours necessarily. Could be a completely alien place with different physical laws, etc. ]
You mean where up is down, right is wrong, and laight is dark?
So exactly like the Washington D.C. ?
In another life, I was called Olfahrt, Destroyer of Keyboards.
I read an interesting multiverse theory, that makes a lot of sense. But first, a little background.
Physicists have long proposed that time and space are two axis of the same thing, called time-space. On one axis are the three dimensions of space: length, width, and depth (think of a box), and on the other axis, the fourth dimension, time. If you change space or time, the other also changes.
But another longstanding theory, proposed in 1938, is that there is a second pair of axes that complement time-space, with much the same model, called energy-momentum. In the model, momentum is like space, with three dimensions, and energy is like time, a fourth dimension to momentum.
Then, in a straightforward manner, if you combine time-space with energy-momentum, you end up with an 8 dimensional universe called “momentum-space”. So this is the universe we know. Our universe.
But split the universe in half, with momentum and space on one side and time and energy on the other, and you reach an interesting conclusion. Momentum and space make the “volume” of the universe, and time and energy make the “contents” of the universe.
But that is just one perspective on the eighth dimension universe. If you look at it from a different direction, you see a different universe, or the same universe with different emphasis. As in our point of view, we are very perceptive of time and space, from a different point of view what would seem to matter might be momentum and energy.
From a different point of view, looking at the universe via space, it might seem that the part of the universe that mattered was entirely “organizational”. Length, width and depth.