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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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  • Possible (Score:5, Interesting)

    by styryx ( 952942 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @01:39PM (#17950644)
    There has been a lot of research showing that Black Holes themselves are essentially fundamental particles. Coupled with (even if string theory isn't true the fundamental particle geometry is interesting) two concepts of measuring distance. Such that when one passes the Plank Length the 'easy' way of measuring distance becomes hard and measures the reciprocal instead, while the previous hard way becomes easy. Then throw into all of this the notion that we are all moving through space-time at constant velocity (light speed - this is why when you travel faster through space time slows down. so no-one really understands what time is, or how many dimensions (of 11, say) are time, or whether they are essentially different from space, mathematically, physically or philosophically.

    So yeah, i'm just about willing to believe anything right now.
  • by 22RealMcCoy ( 864375 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @01:43PM (#17950682)

    Cool pictures of the production at: []

    ALL TIED UP & STRUNG ALONG, a movie about String Theorists and their expansive theories which extend human ignorance, pomposity, and frailty into higher dimensions, is set to start filming this fall. Jessica Alba, John Cleese, Eugene Levie, Jackie Chan, and David Duchovney of X-files fame have all signed on to the $700 million Hollywood project, which is still cheaper than String Theory itself, and will likely displace less physicists from the academy.

    "As contemporary physics is about money, hype, mythology, and chicks," Ed Witten explained from his offices at the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study, "The next logical step was Hollywood, although I thought Burt Reynolds should play me instead of Eugene Levy."

    Brian Greene, the famous String Theorist who will be played by David "the truth is out there" Duchovney, explained the plot: "String theory's muddled, contorted theories that lack postulates, laws, and experimentally-verified equations have Einstein spinning so fast in his grave that it creates a black hole. In order to save the world, we String Theorists have to stop reformulating String Theory faster than the speed of light. We are called upon to stop violating the conservation of energy by mining higher dimensions to publish more BS than can accounted for with the Big Bang alone, and I win the Nobel prize for showing that M-Theory is in fact the dark matter it has been searching for."

    Greene continues: "At first my character is reluctant to stop theorizing and start postulating, but when my love interest Jessica Alba is sucked into the black hole, I search my soul and find Paul Davies there, played by John Cleese. I ask him what he's doing in my soul, and he explains that the answer is contained in the mind of God, which only he is privy too, but for a small fee, some tax and tuition dollars, a couple grants here and there, and an all-expense-paid book tour with stops in Zurich and Honolulu, he can let me in on it. And he shows me God in all her greater glory, as he points out that we can make more money in Hollywood than writing coffee-table books that recycle Einstein, Bohr, Dirac, Feynman, and Wheeler. I am quickly converted, and I agree to turn my back on String Theory's hoax and save Jessica Alba."

    But it's not that easy, as standing in Greene's way is Michio "king of pop-theory-hipster-irony-the-theory-of-everything- or-anything-made-
    you-read-this" Kaku, played by Jackie Chan. Kaku beats the crap out of Greene for alomst blowing the "ironic" pretense his salary, benefits, and all-expense paid trips depend on. "WE MUST HOLD BACK THE YOUNG SCIENTISTS WITH OUR NON-THEORIES!! WE MUST FILL THE ACADEMY WITH THE POMO DARK MATTER THAT IS STRING THEORY TO KEEP OUR UNIVERSE FROM FLYING APART, OUR PYRAMID SCHEMES FROM TOPPLING, AND OUR PERPETUAL-MOTION NSF MONEY MACHINE FROM STOPPING!!" Kaku argues as he delivers a flying back-kick, "There can be ony ONE! I WILL be String Theory's GODFATHER as referenced on my web page!! I have better hair!"

    But Greene fights back as he signs his seventeenth book deal to make the hand-waving incoherence of String Theory accessible to the South Park generation, senior citizens, and starving chirldren around the world. "Kaku! Kaku! (pronounced Ka-Kaw! Ka-Kaw! like Owen Wilson did in Bottle Rocket)," Greene shouts. "It is theoretically impossible to build a coffee tables strong enough to support any more coffee-table physics books!!!"

    "Time travel is also theoretically impossible, but there's a helluva lot more money for us in flushing physics down a wormhole. Nobody knows what the #&#%&$ M stands for in M theory ya hand-waving, TV-hogging crank!!! Get it?? Ha Ha Ha! We're laughing at the public! We're the insider pomo hipsters! Get with the gangsta-wanksta-pranksta CRANKSTER bling-bling program!!"

    How does it all end? Does physics go bankrupt
  • Evidence (Score:4, Interesting)

    by CGP314 ( 672613 ) <CGP AT ColinGregoryPalmer DOT net> on Friday February 09, 2007 @01:44PM (#17950704) Homepage
    I'm a physics teacher currently teaching about the Big Bang and possible ends of the Universe. I'm just wondering if there are any research physicists in the room who could tell me which theory of the end of the Universe has the most physical evidence to support it at the current time.

    Thank you,

    -CGP []
  • by davidwr ( 791652 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @01:44PM (#17950720) Homepage Journal
    You frequently get the question "Why is the universe {whatever}?" or "In order to support human life, the universe had to be {whatever}."

    This is frequently used to support the idea of divine intervention.

    If you ask such a question or make such an observation, you have to remember:

    The fact that we are here to observe it greatly restricts the possibilities, so what seems like "long odds" isn't long odds after all.

    To put it another way:
    If you play in the Superbowl and win, and your friends congratulate you, you don't say "What are the odds of my friends congratulating me for winning the Superbowl? There are 300,000,000 million Americans and only a few dozen have friends who congratulated them for winning the 2007 Super Bowl. That is rare, this is proof of divine intervention in my life."
  • yeah.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by 40ozFreak ( 823002 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @02:10PM (#17951120)
    The idea is called Kabbalah. It's nothing new.
  • by silentounce ( 1004459 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @02:10PM (#17951128) Homepage
    Maybe the first one IS the last one. You may scoff at the notion. But does the Earth have a beginning and an end?
  • by Progman3K ( 515744 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @02:21PM (#17951320)
    If you define a different universe as being physically distinct from ours, then yes;
    If parts of our universe started out in the same singularity as us but are now outside of our light-cone, then they are in effect physically separate from us, so that places them in a different universe, doesn't it? If they are outside our light-cone, and can no longer affect us, then they are not in our universe anymore but since they still exist, I think you have to consider them as being in a different universe.
    Of course it means they have to be outside of our entire universe's light-cone...
  • by Pojut ( 1027544 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @02:46PM (#17951734) Homepage
    See, that's why I like the Torah.

    It was originally written in hebrew. Guess what? It's still read in hebrew.

    I may not follow the jewish religion spiritually or even traditionally...but I still feel we have the holy text that is closest to what how it was originally written...

    That doesn't explain why using electricity on shabbat is considered work but walking five miles because you aren't supposed to drive is NOT considered work. Fuck that.
  • Re:Bah humbug (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Verteiron ( 224042 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @03:05PM (#17952028) Homepage
    Close, but no cigar. The Universe is actually the ultimate firework. The Grand Finale. Imagine if you could see the universe's evolution, sped up tremendously. A huge blast, dissipating into countless trillions of sparks, swirling into fiery whirlpools of energy, structures so complex that you could spend a thousand lifetimes exploring them and never see everything. All the sparks dying away, but also forming new sparks as they go, but fewer and fewer... and finally, nothing left behind but the smoke trails, blowing away in the wind, as the band winds down.
  • Re:Mystery (Score:3, Interesting)

    by alucinor ( 849600 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @03:25PM (#17952276) Journal
    Usually when the bible or related pagan religions (such as caananite or egyptian) refer to the "four corners of heaven", it's more than likely they're making a reference to the four heavenly calendar points: the autumnal and vernal equinoxes, and the summer and winter solstices. it has been for the majority of human civiliation that the earth has been understood to be curved -- an easy observation for even ancient scientists to make when watching a ship "sink" below the horizon or watching the sky shift as one changes latitudes.
  • by Einstein45 ( 1062040 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @03:27PM (#17952306)
    I see no problem with a fourth dimension expanding relative to the three spatial dimensions.

    Here's how we can define it:

    "The fourth dimension is expanding rleative to the three spatial dimensions."

    What laws or axioms or postulates has the above statement violated?

    None that I can see.

    What the author seems to be saying is that time is an emergent property of this underlying physical reality, which they then use to unify seemingly disparate physical phenomena.

    "The fourth dimension is expanding rleative to the three spatial dimensions."

    This would explain why everything propagates through space-time at the velocity c--this never changes.
  • Re:Please... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Golias ( 176380 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @04:39PM (#17953414)
    Why, as a scientist at heart, would you think there there is a "meaning of life" to be "proven?" _v/d++

    Because every scientist is a human being first. Why toil to understand the coils and springs of the universe if life has no purpose? Why inquire? Why even eat or breathe? Rocks and trees don't need a reason to exist. They simply do. Humans need a reason to get out of bed in the morning, because out ongoing existence is a daily choice. We are wired to require greater meaning, whether it exists or not.

    To believe in a higher power and/or an existence beyond death is one of several ways to ascribe meaning to your life. It requires a leap of faith to do so, but it's pretty much the most successful paradigm.

    Another way is to live your life "for others." This is, of course, rather silly and futile, because the "other" lives are equally meaningless to your own.

    Thirdly, there's living according to your own will and conscience. This is a losing game, because nobody really wants to die and everybody eventually does. Those who delay death long enough become old and decrepit, even though nobody wants that for themselves either. Most strident atheist world-views center around coping strategies for dealing with this particular bit of Bad News.
  • Re:Evidence (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @05:47PM (#17954710)
    One of the big things in physics is that the Big Bang didn't happen WITHIN the space/time continuum, but that it actually created it. Other big bangs can't happen within our space/time because big bangs don't occur within space/time.

    Imagine a submersed mine in the ocean going boom. It blows, and all the gases in it expand out to create a "bubble". That bubble created by the big bang is our space/time.

    Now, the underlying question remains, WHY? By what mechanics did a completely random explosion create what we understand to be everything? We're talking about the thing that created the concept of existence itself. If our universe ultimately suffers heat death, is it the end of all things everywhere? If so then the couple of trillion years that stars actually burned will be miniscule compared to the literally infinite ammount of time that all these things sit around floating in utter darkness. Indeed given that scenario the big bang was nothing more that a brief flash that just fizzled out.

    If there are other universes though, how, and where, do they exist? Somehow I think that they answer, if there is one, is not understandable by a human mind.
  • Re:Brilliant analogy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Lazerf4rt ( 969888 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @05:53PM (#17954894)

    1. You provide no examples.
    2. "Quite close" is subjective, and therefore a useless metric of success.
    3. Even if you did provide several strong existing examples, it would say absolutely nothing about the accuracy of this particular Asimov short story.

    The only reason people want to daydream about how accurate this particular short story could be is because they hold their own intelligence to be an object of personal vanity.

    And not that it matters, but here are a few science fiction pieces that were way off:

    • 2001: A Space Odyssey
    • 1984
    • I, Robot
    • Back to the Future II
  • Re:Please... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Rostin ( 691447 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @06:18PM (#17955480)

    The fundamental purpose in life can be summed up thusly: "Successfully reproduce before something eats you". Do that and you've done what you are here for.
    Even in denying that life has meaning, you have difficulty escaping from teleology. From a naturalistic/Darwinist perspective, it's a mistake to claim that reproducing is our "purpose." The genes and behaviors we have as a result of natural selection just are. There's no purpose. The purposes we make up for ourselves don't fare any better. They are just an illusion created by our grey matter. Living for them is as silly as believing in real meaning.

    As for the rest of your post:

    1. "The chances are better for random chance than for God."

    How would you go about calculating the "chances for God"?

    2. "We have proof the universe exists. We can see it, smell it, measure it, predict its behavior, etc... We can do none of these things for God."

    We can't do any of those things for mathematics. We can't do any of those things for the mental concepts you experienced as you wrote that statement. Perhaps most importantly, we can't do any of those things for the fundamental assumption that seems to undergird your epistemology: Empirical evidence is the only worthwhile kind.

    3. "Add to this the fact that all previous religions and gods in history are mere myths and the chances of God being real drops even lower."

    Even if your premise is true, your conclusion doesn't follow. The two are in no way related.

    4. "Why is the current myth any more real than the previous ones?"

    Also a fallacious argument. The same argument could be made about scientific models.
  • Re:The paper (Score:2, Interesting)

    by stonestix ( 1062234 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @09:43PM (#17958060)
    That's a different paper; the one cited in the story is posted on arXiV here [] The difference between the two papers is the causal patches you mention. The causal patch concept isn't in the former. The latest paper takes care of the entropy problem caused by a contracting universe by distributing entropy among each causal patch. Just before the Big Rip, expansion reverses and the patches contract into an infinite number of separate universes, each taking a little bit of entropy. One patch becomes/stays our universe. These patches are called causal patches because they don't interact with each other -- no light, gravity or other force can bridge the space between the patches. There's a press release about this 907.html []

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