Why is there a possible multiverse?

The idea of ​​traveling from one parallel universe to another is a major mistake the film makes

Why is there a possible multiverse?

Schematic diagram of the accelerated expansion of the universe caused by dark energy

What is a multiverse? In Doctor Strange: The Multiverse of Madness, the latest film based on Marvel Comics, superheroes travel back and forth between numerous parallel universes, each similar but different. And according to Brian Green, a theoretical physicist at Columbia University, bringing a multiverse to the screen isn’t a bad thing — even if it has some horror-movie-esque plot twists.

“I think it would be great if these ideas could be presented in a variety of different ways,” says Brian Green. Doctor Strange 2: The Multiverse of Madness depicts the multiverse as a mix of amusement park and haunted house, and in one scene the wizard and his disciples travel through a dizzying chain of universes as if falling into a kaleidoscope . However, Green said the idea of ​​traveling from one parallel universe to another was a major mistake made by the film.

“It’s not something that happens naturally in mathematics,” he said, “perhaps it should be said that the multiverse has all kinds of ‘flavors’. In the vast majority of cases, it’s not that I can travel in a rocket or a spaceship , visit another universe in the multiverse.”

So why do physicists think other universes might exist? Green says that extra dimensions and parallel universes provide a way to explain some theories; arguably, without the multiverse, these theories would be meaningless. For example, the equations that describe space-time are best expressed in 10 or 11 dimensions instead of in the three-dimensional space and one-dimensional time we understand.

Dark energy is some kind of energy acting on the fabric of space-time itself, flooding the universe and seemingly causing the universe to accelerate its expansion. The dark energy hypothesis also raises some inexplicable questions, such as, is dark energy a cosmological constant? If it is a cosmological constant, how can one explain the apparent difference (120 orders of magnitude) between its theoretical and measured values?

“It is true that in many of our theories, every universe that makes up the multiverse has some dark energy, but the amount varies from universe to universe,” Brian Green said. “So if there are enough universes, then In this huge collection, there is a universe that has the dark energy we observe.”

Why is there a possible multiverse?

Columbia University physicist Brian Green

It’s not hard to imagine that some universes in the multiverse might be roughly similar to our own. In that case, there might be different versions of Brian Green in those universes. “If the particular set of particles that make up me — including the particles that make up my brain, my memory, my thoughts — exists in the multiverse, and that set also thinks he’s me, then he really is me,” Green said.

So, could future discoveries in physics lay a firmer foundation for the multiverse theory? One possibility is that studies of the cosmic microwave background radiation, the so-called “afterglow of the Big Bang”, will point to anomalies in the collision between the two universes. On the other hand, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is preparing to collide with protons at record energy levels, a “better experimental example” that may prove that extra dimensions do exist.

Brian Green said: “One idea is to slam protons against protons and observe the resulting debris. Mathematical calculations suggest that some debris may drift out of our dimension and be squeezed into other dimensions. If true If that happens, we can make observations because the debris takes away some of the energy.”

However, scientists have not made breakthrough discoveries so far, and exploration at higher energies is needed in the future. “We don’t know what kind of data we’ll find,” Green said.

Green’s current theoretical work focuses on the statistical distribution of different types of possible universes, and he’s also trying to adapt his new book, “Until the End of Time,” into a movie. “For me, this book is a summary of my lifetime of thinking about scientific questions, and of course, it also explores the questions we have been asking since we as humans have been able to ask them,” Green said, “for example, why are we here? What is the nature of consciousness? What exactly is religion? Where does the universe go as we look to the future from today? And, can the answers to these questions tell us what matters most?”

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