Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
United Kingdom Science

First Observational Test of the "Multiverse" 258

Posted by samzenpus
from the que-the-evil-doppelgangers dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The theory that our universe is contained inside a bubble, and that multiple alternative universes exist inside their own bubbles – making up the 'multiverse' – is being tested observationally by UK physicists, who are searching for disk-like collision patterns in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation. Though CMB is generally thought of as a uniform schmear of radiation extending in all directions in our universe, in fact, they say if a multiverse exists, there ought to be imprints trapped in the muck like footprints of where our universe banged into others."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

First Observational Test of the "Multiverse"

Comments Filter:
  • first (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @06:14PM (#36978262)

    in this universe at least.

    • Re:first (Score:4, Informative)

      by History's Coming To (1059484) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @08:07PM (#36979632) Journal
      Interesting question. There are several different kinds of possible multiverse (see Tegmark [mit.edu]). What this is looking for is type one, possibly type two. They're the most "boring" in some ways because the "other versions" of you exist simply because of statistical imperative and are also a very, very long way away. It's like proving two identical snowflakes have existed, but not knowing where or when. Still, I love the fact that people are trying to test ideas that were thought to be untestable at one point.
  • Collision? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pushing-robot (1037830) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @06:15PM (#36978274)

    If universes can physically interact with each other, can each really be called a "Universe"?

    • by flaming error (1041742) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @06:17PM (#36978302) Journal

      Yes. Inaccurately perhaps, but life goes on, the sun will still rise and fall.

      • Yes. Inaccurately perhaps, but life goes on, the sun will still rise and fall.

        "Flaming Error" is claiming the sun will rise tomorrow...

        It reminds me of Hume.

        Somewhere, an Irony Universe has just bumped into ours.

        =)

        • by Heed00 (1473203)

          It reminds me of Hume.

          Hmm, it reminds me of Sextus Empiricus [wikipedia.org]. Either way, it's formally known as the Problem of Induction [wikipedia.org].

        • The irony is that the theory that the sun rises and falls proved overly simplistic, but we keep repeating the inaccurate terminology even today. And nobody really notices or cares.

          • by Surt (22457)

            In what way did it prove overly simplistic? For anyone who isn't an astronomer, in what way is that not a sufficient description of what happens?

      • by drawfour (791912)
        I bet the tides will come in and out, too.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by blair1q (305137)

      "Can" and "Could" are two different things, especially when you're looking at the CMB. It emanates from the initial state of the universe, before the time when the laws of physics as we know them had formed. The other universes are not this universe because they degenerated to different laws. But before then, it was one big multiverse stew.

      Or some silly shit like that.

      • Also if our universe is a slice of a higher dimension (ie if our own universe is a 4 or more dimensional slice of an n dimensional universe), there may be others in other slices that we have no way of detecting (that I know of at least :p ). Such alternate universes would be pretty meaningless if we had no way of testing for their existence though..

        • by blair1q (305137)

          Such alternate universes would be pretty meaningless if we had no way of testing for their existence though..

          Unless they had a way of testing for our existence, and of developing a way to tell us of it.

          • by matrim99 (123693)

            Unless they had a way of testing for our existence, and of developing a way to tell us of it.

            Unless they had a way of testing for our existence, but upon observation, we behave like Schrödinger's cat.

            FTFY

            • by blair1q (305137)

              We behave a lot more like the Three Stooges.

              And really, who wouldn't want to be a part of that?

          • by Raenex (947668)

            Unless they had a way of testing for our existence, and of developing a way to tell us of it.

            I see you've invoked Flatland [wikipedia.org].

      • "Can" and "Could" are two different things, especially when you're looking at the CMB. It emanates from the initial state of the universe, before the time when the laws of physics as we know them had formed.

        Uhhh... no.

    • by Dachannien (617929) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @07:00PM (#36978848)

      Yes, but our universe is called Universe A. You can be Universe B.

    • Well theoretically they would each be started by separate big bangs, and possibly even have slightly different laws of physics. So yes Universe is what we are calling our enclosure that contains our physical realm, with multiverse being the larger unit.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by l0ungeb0y (442022)

      Oh my god -- wow -- what a mind blowing concept...
      If more than one universe, can it really be called a universe?

      Maybe we will need to call it something else...
      If more than one universe - hmmm - that'd possibly be very many.
      Many is multiple of one...

      I got it!

      We'll call it a MANYVERSE!
      No... wait .. that doesn't have a catchy enough ring to it.

      Many... mega... multi... multiple... hmmm....
      Multipleverse?? multiver..

      Ahh yes that's it -- A MULTIVERSE!

      Or you could have just read the damned summary.

      • by Pfhorrest (545131)

        I'm not fond of calling people morons, but when they make asses of themselves like that, I'm very tempted.

        GPP asked not whether the set of several universes can be called a universe; obviously, we call that a multiverse. He asked whether, if those several universes physically interact with each other, can each of those several physically-interacting things rightly be called a "universe", which together compose the multiverse?

        Traditionally, part of the definition of the universe is its causal closure and spa

      • by istartedi (132515)

        If it has more than one verse, it's some kind of poetry or a song. If it has an infinite number of verses, it's Vogon poetry.

    • Friendly Reminder: Apple, Google, Nintendo and Valve are the for-profit corporations a Slashdotter is permitted to like.

      Since when is it acceptable to post anything even suggesting you like Apple? Apparently, I missed that memo.

    • by Dunbal (464142) *
      We're not sure - so please send more grant money.
    • Re:Collision? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by pclminion (145572) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @08:29PM (#36979866)

      If universes can physically interact with each other, can each really be called a "Universe"?

      If they could not physically interact, what would be the point? If something can't be seen, measured, felt, etc then how can it even be said to exist?

    • by thelandp (632129)
      I think the OP should be given "-1 Pedantic", and I wouldn't normally dignify it with a response, except I notice a symmetry here with the other end of the scale: If particles can be split apart, can each really be called "Atoms"?
    • Can I get universal collision insurance coverage for that? I need my universe to get to work, and without it I'm stuck.
  • This is why I love Physics. The mere fact that we are considering such a colossal hypothesis and devise a method to verify/falsify it by observing reality...

    • by blair1q (305137)

      This is why I love Physics. The mere fact that we are considering such a colossal hypothesis and devise a method to verify/falsify it BY OBSERVING REALITY!

      FTFY

      • This is why I love Physics. The mere fact that we are considering such a colossal hypothesis and devise a method to verify/falsify it BY OBSERVING REALITY!

        FTFY

        Sorry, I have a sore throat. ;)

    • No, not verify. You can only say that the tiny amount of observation we've directed at the hypothesis is consistent or inconsistent with it.
      • Re:This... (Score:5, Informative)

        by elsurexiste (1758620) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @07:50PM (#36979454) Journal

        I was expecting this kind of comment. You fell into my trap! Muahahaha! :)

        Now, seriously, Karl Popper is a late guest in the show. There are two lines of thought, verificationism and falsationism (Popper and its following). The first one states that you must verify your hypothesis with experiments. Those experiments, though, are nothing more than steps in an endless stair of confirmation. Popper said that scientists should aim for the opposite, that is, you can't verify but you can falsify, and Science's objective (with capital "s") should be to keep trying to falsify hypothesis.

        It doesn't matter in the end with which epistemological view you adhere, as they are two sides of the same coin. If you are a verificationist, you keep doing experiments that will verify your hypothesis until you find one that doesn't. If you are a falsationist, you keep doing experiments that will falsify your hypotesis while you wait for the one that succeed in doing that. Either way, you keep on testing: that is the essence of the scientific knowledge.

  • Hopefully we can pick up some new television channels and radio stations. I'm getting pretty bored with the universe our universe offers.

    Or multinet. Think of the porn!

    • by genner (694963)

      Hopefully we can pick up some new television channels and radio stations. I'm getting pretty bored with the universe our universe offers.

      Or multinet. Think of the porn!

      ...but we already live the universe that has all the porn.
      Rule 34 is just a myth else where.

  • by Reality Master 101 (179095) <`RealityMaster101' `at' `gmail.com'> on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @06:40PM (#36978602) Homepage Journal

    You know, my 11-year-old son said something kind of interesting last night, on this subject. This month's article in Scientific American is about multiverse theories, and he asked me (paraphrase), "If the universe is contained among a bunch of other universes, and the universe is expanding, isn't it possible that the other universes are exerting pressure on our universe as it's expanding?"

    I'd never really thought about that before, and it may be an unanswerable question (along the lines of, "what are the multiverses contain in"), but I thought that was an intriguing thought.

  • Just finished reading The Hidden Reality [wikipedia.org] by Brian Greene, a respected string theorist. He explicitly mentions mining the CMB data for exactly this kind of observation.
  • For those who don't want to read the actual paper: they conclude that the average number of detectable collision events is <1.6, with a 68% confidence. Or to put it differently, the data is consistent with there not being any detectable collisions at all, and the number is certainly no more than a handful.

    They should be able to say more once they get new data from the Planck satellite.
  • that should have been a big bang
  • If there is even a hint of order in the cosmic microwave background radiation then there is only one possible conclusion and that is that there was an intelligence at work in the creation of the universe. What other possible explanation could there be?
  • "...trapped in the muck like footprints, of where our universe banged into others."

    This may be true, depending on the definitions of the (perhaps metaphorically used) words "trapped", "muck", "where", "universe", and "banged".

    Also, wasn't the same phenomenon cited as evidence of structure that existed "before" the big bang by someone else recently? Roger Penrose?

  • Why doesn't the submitter link to the actual articles? Why don't the editors make sure those links are included before the story is posted? Why is there at all a link to ScienceBlog? All relevant information the blog post contains would fit into a Slashdot summary.

    Does anyone have the links to the papers so we can actually read about this work?

  • This assumes the leading edge of the matter and radiation in the universe have reached the surface of this "bubble" and that the bubble isn't expanding in and of itself ahead of any sort of detectable edge.

    Think "bubble inside a bubble".

    The inner bubble represents the known universe, background radiation, matter, etc. The outer bubble represents the actual edge of our universe.
    Now imagine being able to put a needle through the outer bubble and into the inner one, then introduce more air. The inner bubble

  • It *is* turtles all the way down!
  • by xenoc_1 (140817)

    Nobody has realized that the collision patterns might be from Superboy-Prime punching the walls of reality [tumblr.com]?

  • ...then it exploded.

  • by Chrisq (894406)
    Ubuntu users have been seeing it for years [ubuntu.com]

APL hackers do it in the quad.

Working...