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Space Science

New Universes Will be Born from Ours 440

David Shiga writes "What gruesome fate awaits our universe? Some physicists have argued that it is doomed to be ripped apart by runaway dark energy, while others think it is bouncing through an endless series of big bangs and big crunches. Now, scientists have combined these two ideas to create another option, in which our universe ultimately shatters into billions of pieces. Each shard would then subsequently grow into a whole new universe. The model could solve the mystery of why our early universe was surprisingly well ordered."
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New Universes Will be Born from Ours

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  • by night_flyer ( 453866 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @01:43PM (#17950680) Homepage
    Isaiah 40:22 It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth...
  • Re:Evidence (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ambitwistor ( 1041236 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @01:54PM (#17950868)
    Right now, the theory with the most evidence in its favor is the theory which includes a dark energy described by Einstein's cosmological constant. In that theory, the universe's expansion will continue to accelerate forever, although not at such a great rate that there is a "Big Rip" which tears atoms apart. That is the "heat death" scenario, in which the universe lasts forever and runs down until nothing much is going on. Because of the accelerating expansion, we will see fewer and fewer distant galaxies as time goes on, because they will accelerate away from us faster than light can reach us. Ultimately we will only see a few local galaxies in the cluster in which we are bound.

    This scenario is explored in more detail here [].

    However, it's possible that the dark energy is dynamical instead of constant, and so the expansion of the universe could accelerate or possibly even reverse and decelerate. With enough deceleration, a Big Crunch is still feasible. There are also the scenarios in which our universe spawns new "universes", such as the one discussed here.
  • The paper (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ambitwistor ( 1041236 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @01:56PM (#17950906)
    I think the work being referred to may be in this paper [], in which the universes are "causal patches" which are disconnected from each other causally by the Big Rip.
  • by silentounce ( 1004459 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @02:00PM (#17950944) Homepage
    Nice way to ruin it for the unitiated.
  • Re:Mystery (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 09, 2007 @02:03PM (#17951016)
    Intelligent Design is not as good a theory as any, as you say, unless you think theory means "gosh all this science is hard stuff! Let's throw up our hands in reverent awe and say that some unknowable entity poofed us into existence. Alright, time for lunch."
  • Re:Mystery (Score:3, Informative)

    by ardor ( 673957 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @02:03PM (#17951018)
    ID does not qualify as a scientific theory because of including God as a factor. God, however, cannot be probed. No one can prove or disprove God, essentially turning God into a joker. "Hmm... there was the Cambrian Explosion... oh - I know, God did it!" Since god is a non-verifiable entity, it has no place in science. For the same reason, some scientists are starting to dismiss String Theory (there is currently no way to verify it).
  • Re:Evidence (Score:3, Informative)

    by shma ( 863063 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @03:01PM (#17951956)
    I would like to add something to the previous post. While it's true that there will not be a big rip, in an accelerating universe we will still end up with a universe with no atoms. The reason is that in an accelerating universe, the horizon (the maximum distance at which we can interact with objects*) is forever shrinking. That means that after a long enough time, it will be smaller than the distance between electrons and protons in atoms. Wih the electron outside the proton's horizon, there will be no interaction to hold the atom together. So the process which starts with our galaxy being isolated from other galaxies will continue on down until nothing interacts with anything else. *In a universe which is static, the horizon is just given by the age of the universe times the speed of light. But in an expanding universe (where the scale is given by a(t), it depends on the rate of expansion, given by the hubble constant H (H = (1/a)* da/dt) . An accelerating universe satisfies d/dt c/(aH) 0, which is the precise condition that the horizon is shrinking
  • Re:Mystery (Score:3, Informative)

    by morgan_greywolf ( 835522 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @03:02PM (#17951976) Homepage Journal
    Intelligent Design is not as good a theory as any. It's not testable, it's not falsifiable. It can't be repeapted. It's not based on multiple observations. These problems and more make Intelligent Design invalid as a scientific theory. No matter how you package it, Intelligent Design is religious dogma, not science.

    Also, I could modify that last line of yours to say that majority of the religious community used to believe (and some members STILL believe) that the Earth is flat. Based on your post, I should say that you should believe the Earth is flat, too. It says so in your Bible.
  • by Chmcginn ( 201645 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @04:55PM (#17953652) Journal

    When geometers came up with curved ways to define straight lines, they called it "hyperbolic geometry" meaning approximately "unnecessary but still pretty cool geometry."

    Not the adjective 'hyperbolic' as in 'exaggerated'. It's called 'hyperbolic' cause it's related to hyperbolas.

  • Re:Evidence (Score:3, Informative)

    by Ambitwistor ( 1041236 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @05:36PM (#17954492)
    I don't wholly agree with your analysis. An atom is an electromagnetically bound system and resists expansion; you can't just take a straight Friedmann GR solution and make conclusions from that. That's why the Big Rip scenario was invented: it is an acceleration so severe that even bound systems become unbound by the cosmological expansion. A cosmological constant (w=-1) is right on the boundary: atoms become unbound only asymptotically. There is no actual finite time at which atoms (or galaxies) fall apart; a simple analysis on the basis of comparing the system size to the Hubble radius doesn't work. What actually happens is that space in the vicinity of the atom doesn't expand as fast as the rest of the universe; it's the same reason why your atoms aren't expanding with the universe right now.

    See the Big Rip paper [], page 2.
  • Re:Evidence (Score:3, Informative)

    by Ambitwistor ( 1041236 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @10:25PM (#17958438)

    Assuming the big bang/crunch theory is correct and (here's the unlikely bit) time and space are not relative (unlikely I know) what are our odds of ever being able to detect the preceding receeding universe "shells".
    We can't; they're forever outside of our causal horizon. The best we can do is find indirect evidence for them (e.g., a dark energy theory, verified by cosmological observations, which has these "causal patches" as a predicted but unobservable side effect ).

    Final stupid question, with the constant speed of light providing an indication of a "stopped" position in space is the centre of the known universe stationary or moving?
    There is no center of the universe. (See this FAQ [].)
  • Re:Evidence (Score:2, Informative)

    by cbacba ( 944071 ) on Saturday February 10, 2007 @01:40AM (#17959874)
    It's all speculation.

    Big bang has the most support over alternatives like steady state - which evidently still has some adherents - apparently like halton arp.

    Despite being the most supported, there seem to be more kludges and band-aids on the theory than seems reasonable. The latest is that apparently, we're accelerating rather than slowing down. That's an experimental observation based upon supernovae intensity - which like most other things - can have alternative causes.

    What's worse, it seems that searching for star trek solutions is more lucrative than for more mundane ones. Hence, what is called dark matter is now primarily exotic new previously undiscovered phenomenon - rather than regular matter not radiating. It's very much the same sort of thing as lawyers seeking to establish precendent with new laws rather to gain a reputition rather using existing laws that have all the precedents taken care of and it's merely making use of it.

    One of the most recent 'proof' or 'evidence' of dark matter is a photo that surfaced recently showing gravitaiton lensing concentrated around a galaxy colision where the visible gas clouds had been swept out and were located elsewhere. The obvious conclusion was that since the gas was moved, all the matter was swept out of the area, leaving only mysterious dark matter. While gas can tend to be swept out, it doesn't happen to larger bodies like planet type bodies (or primordial fog particles). Perhaps such things are quite mysterious as they are unknown - but it doesn't necessarily mean they are made from something exotic or mysterious.

    Like most things nowadays, a healthy dose of skepticism should be in order. Certainty is only for religions.

    If there really is an acceleration of separation in the universe, then it would imply that the universe will die spread out and dark. However, considering that there isn't a real cause known for such an event - it means we don't know enough to have a clue what will happen in future and perhaps we are clueless as to what happened in the distance past. It might even mean we are back to square one for the infinitely large and the ultra small.

    Some things seem to imply that all of space and time is totally connected turning things into a jumbled knot.

    Considering that some quasars show as many as 13 or so different red shifted renditions of absorption lines - it just might be possible that there's a lotta stuff out there that just isn't glowing - and hence is dark matter.

    Despite the apparent preponderence of evidence (note that a general agreement of scientists cannot be proof of anything)which points to the big bang, that doesn't mean the steady state theory is totally gone. Arp may be virtually the last high powered holdout, but being the last one doesn't guarantee that he is wrong or the multitude is right. And, it wouldn't be the first time such a serious swapover has happened. The earth centered cosmology competed and dominated the sun centered cosmology for over a thousand years, providing superior predictive power and showing more promise than the sun centered which even suffered from a negative result experiment that seemed to actually falsify it (failure to find parallax in any of the fixed stars). It was only later that in the midst of a religious battle between a sun worshipping cult and the catholic church that scientists actually started to determine that despite its successes, that perhaps the greatest philospher of all time was in error, the catholic church screwed up taking a position on the wrong side of reality and that the whack-job sun worshippers were actually right about the sun being the center of the universe - at least as understood at that time. It was only duringthe 20th century that it started to become evident that the totality of all things was more than just the milky way.

  • by Progman3K ( 515744 ) on Saturday February 10, 2007 @03:01AM (#17960420)
    If the universe is expanding, then there might be things that are heading away from us at the speed of light (speed of light = c).

    Since they are receding at 100% of c, you'll never see them; their light cannot ever catch up to us: we are (relative to them) moving away from them at the speed of light and since neither can go faster than c, whatever distance separates us can never be crossed, it is infinite: no matter how long you travel at c, you get no closer.

    This is the same reason we see galaxies receding from us at nearly c; if they were red-shifted any more (receding at c), they would be outside our light cone and invisible in every sense. They would not exist as far as we are concerned. pace#Raisin_bread_model/ []

No problem is so large it can't be fit in somewhere.