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I had a thought and felt compelled to jot it down before I forget it. It’s not yet very well thought out so I’m going to write things down as they occur to me. Apologies in advance if this post becomes a bit messy.
The topic is the universe, its origin, the possibility of other universes and their relation to quantum mechanics. As some of you might know, I’m a big fan of the zero-energy universe. The idea that something cannot come from nothing is an idea that has become outdated due to quantum mechanics. As Lawrence Krauss said “If you observe nothing for long enough, something will appear”. What he is refer to is known as quantum fluctuations.
Quantum fluctuations are a phenomena where if you have a vacuum with absolutely zero particles and energy in it and you observe/measure it over a period of time, you’ll find that something does in fact appear out of this nothingness. These are known as virtual particles and without getting technical, basically they appear and disappear in the nothingness leaving real energy signatures that affect their surroundings. Essentially, we are getting energy out of nothing. Now I’ve heard people argue “oh, well that’s not nothing then”. A debate on Q&A comes to mind and as usual, it was a theist trying to cast doubt on science (rather hypocritically). I’ll save that rant for another time, but suffice to say if you have a vacuum with nothing in it – that’s nothing. You can’t say it’s not nothing because the nothing you’re trying to describe doesn’t exist. When you find evidence of such a nothing existing, you can come back and say something. Old habits die hard – these people love claiming things exist without any evidence.
So how does this tie in to the universe? Well quantum mechanics still hasn’t been unified with general relativity, but it does provide an explanation for the origins of the universe. The zero-energy universe is one such idea, but the gist of it is that a singularity (from which the big bang and universe occurred) is so tiny that it falls within the realms of quantum mechanics. As a result, it doesn’t violate any laws by appearing out of nothing. Quite simply, the universe could have created itself out of nothing.
That got me thinking – why did the singularity keep expanding rather than dissipating and leaving an energy signal like most other virtual particle? The go-to answer for expansion is dark energy, but drawing from the Poplawski universe model and the torsion-rebound theory, I thought of another possibility.
What if all virtual particles contain universes? What if quantum fluctuations are a universe birthing mechanism?
Well, obviously the next question is, how does this work? I’m not going to sit here and claim things without providing proof – that would make me an idiot.
Let’s go through it step by step. At first, we have a singularity. Where did it come from? For this concept (I say concept because a scientific theory has been tested mathematically and experimentally, which I cannot do) we are considering the possibility that the singularity, as a subatomic particle, appeared via a quantum fluctuation as a virtual particle. Now from what we already know, this singularity exploded, known as the Big Bang, releasing large amounts of energy and expanding well beyond the speed of light. Here’s where my idea reaches a fork and would require further research.
First, we consider that virtual particles do release energy. The argument would then be made that these energy levels are tiny compared to the big bang. However, one must also consider perspective. From our universe’s perspective, the energy released by the virtual particle is small, but if that virtual particle contained another universe, relative to them, that amount of energy would be the absolute maximum they could ever attain. This gives rise to the idea of a staggered multiverse, where there are greater universes with more energy and vice versa.
Second, (consider this a different option unrelated to the one above) the effects of travel beyond light speed is unknown. However, if one considers the virtual particle contains a similar universe to ours (i.e. of similar energy levels, and thus similar mass, and thus similar gravity), then the moment that virtual particle experiences a “Big Bang” it has reached levels of gravity many times that of a black hole and is inflated beyond the speed of light. From the outside nobody knows what that would look like. But we can take a good guess. Black holes are known to distort time. We can never peer into a black hole because the gravitational tides distort both light and time. As a result, we can never travel out of one if we get caught in its event horizon. In essence, the inside of the black hole is almost like a separate universe to ours – we cannot see inside, journey inside or journey out of (if we ever got in), and time freezes as we approach its singularity. Additionally, time slows as we approach light speed. Theoretically, at light speed time would stop so an external observer could stare at you for an eternity and never see anything. Again, this has the effect of isolating something from the rest of the universe – you become unobservable because time has stopped.
What if the same were true for virtual particles? If it contains a universe, its gravity and speed of inflation would separate it from our universe. The small energy signature could be residual or leakage from the contained universe. A black hole releases radiation (Hawking Radiation) so that is a detectable verification of this idea, but one would say a black hole’s radiation is much higher than that of a virtual particle. Well, a black hole isn’t expanding faster than light – it’s shrinking. Combining the gravity and the inflation could potentially have the effect of not only isolating the interior from the rest of our universe (as a black hole does) but displacing the entity itself from our dimension. Essentially, the moment the virtual particle disappears (leaving behind a weak residual energy signature) it has experienced its Big Bang and as a result, has separated itself into its own dimension, creating a universe with it. Alternatively, it could be in the same dimension, but due to the isolating effect of gravity and super-light-speed travel, we cannot observe it, nor can it affect us.
It’s not new to say that the universe created itself out of a quantum fluctuation, but it should be new (unless somebody thought of this before me again – just like with the Poplawski theory) to say that quantum fluctuations are in fact creating universes and we are in fact seeing that happen when virtual particles appear and disappear. Not only does this build on an existing theory – the zero-energy universe model (and thus all the evidence, research and experimentation that has gone with it), but it bridges the gap where one could ask how this universe continued to expand when most virtual particles disappear and leave energy behind.
The exciting thing is this is testable to some degree. Many string theory supporters have been hoping the LHC will launch a particle at sufficient energy levels to send it into another dimension. Basically, the particle would “disappear” and we’d have a missing energy signal. If we do achieve this, that would potentially be evidence of further dimensions and be a whole new platform for us to work science on.
I think I should also mention at this point that Dr. Tyson mentioned something somewhat related to this topic. He asked that if it was possible that someone was launching particles from another dimension (like we would at the LHC) and they are appearing in our dimension as quantum fluctuations. This was during the 2011 Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate for those interested – entertaining to watch, just YouTube it.
Well, I would like to rephrase his point because it was sort of laughed off as a joke. What if it wasn’t “someone”? It’s entirely likely that higher dimensions have higher states of energy. For example, their universal constants might have a higher value and their speed of light could be greater or it could be possible to exceed light speed. In that case, it’s entirely likely that such an occurrence could happen naturally. No, not someone launching particles into our dimension – just a natural occurrence at higher energy states. This would provide an interesting approach for string theory scientists, as well as address the mystery of quantum fluctuations.
Anyway, that’s my random shower-time theory. It’s been a while since I’ve had one of these but it always gets me excited when my brain starts trying to connect separate pieces of knowledge that I’ve acquired.
“Aliens can’t exist because we haven’t found them yet”. I never really believed that people were stupid enough to base an entire “logical” thought process on this “evidence” but apparently many people do. Well, here’s a pretty famous quote (paraphrased) that’s been used to refute this poorly thought out argument against extraterrestrial life:
It’s like taking a scoop out of the ocean with a cup and saying there are no such things as whales because there are none in my cup.
Neil deGrasse Tyson.
Humans have been leaking radio waves for 70 years now so our radio bubble is approximately 70 light years. Our galaxy has a diameter of around 110,000 light years. There are around 170 billion galaxies in the universe.
The top three elements in the human body are oxygen, carbon and hydrogen. The most abundant elements in the universe are hydrogen, helium, oxygen, neon, nitrogen and carbon. And that is assuming that alien life must be identical to human life, which is highly unlikely.
But wait, what about the Goldilocks zone? Well, I’ve heard this term tossed around quite a lot and it always ends up being misconstrued somehow. The “Goldilocks” loosely describes inhabitable planets/regions. The Goldilocks zone specifically denotes a distance from a star that is the perfect distance for liquid water to exist on a planet (not too far to be frozen and not too close to be evaporated). In our solar system, Earth and Mars are the only two planets within this zone.
What’s the significance? Well as far as we know, water is really the only thing necessary for life to exist. There are bacteria that can survive in 400,000 times our gravity, in ridiculously high and low temperatures, and can feed of poisonous elements like sulfur. Honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me if there’s life out there that doesn’t need water.
When they (Deguchi et. al.) spun E. coli up to the equivalent of 7,500 G’s (7,500 times the force of Earth gravity), however, they found that the microbe didn’t miss a beat. It grew and reproduced just fine.
But wait, let’s just assume water is a necessity. The Goldilocks zone isn’t even exclusive as the only place with liquid water. For example, it’s been theorised that Europa (the ice moon of Jupiter) could be hiding a vast ocean under its icy crust. How? The moon is outside the Goldilocks zone but its orbit around Jupiter is elliptical. This means that the gravitational pull on the moon is uneven. Essentially, it is being constantly contracted and expanded. This gives it the potential to heat up the ice at its core enough to form water. There could be an alien species living in that ocean, oblivious to the rest of the universe as it is unable to penetrate the icy shell of Europa.
There’s more. Let’s limit our search even further and only look at Goldilocks candidates. Those of you that have kept an eye on the news might recall a few Goldilocks planets being found. Here’s a fun picture showing their similarities to Earth:
If you think that’s impressive, wait ’til you hear this. The Kepler telescope and the NASA team behind it predict as many as 500 million planets in our galaxy fall into the habitable zone. And yes, that’s just our one, lonesome galaxy.
And the truth is, life is not as elusive as it’s often made out to be. If you remember my post on Panspermia you’ll recall that bacteria and amino acids are commonly found in the tails of comets.
Now I did mention the Curiosity rover, but in all honesty, there’s not much I can say right now. For those of you that missed it, Curiosity found evidence of organic compounds on Mars, including water. However, there’s still a possibility the data was contaminated by Earth compounds, so I’ll refrain from drawing any conclusions (as the NASA team hasn’t drawn any conclusions yet either). All I can say is that I look forward to great findings over the entire expedition by Curiosity, just as many in the science world are. And I wouldn’t be surprised by any positive results.
But I want to leave you all with something mind-boggling to think about. I’ll try my best, though the more informed of you may scoff.
You may be asking: Why haven’t we seen any signs of aliens? or Why haven’t any aliens contacted us? Well, think about the vastness of the universe. We aren’t even capable of staying in contact with any probes to leave our solar system, and those few probes presumably to have left our solar system haven taken almost half a century to get that far. Our technology is so limited that contacting alien life would be close to impossible. In fact, if you consider that our galaxy is 110,000 light years in diameter, you’ll quickly realise our limitations. If you abide by classic physics and take light speed as the maximum possible speed (and there’s no evidence to the contrary right now), that means that even the most infinitely advanced alien life would still take 110,000 years to cross our galaxy. It could be that life in the universe is not destined to ever meet, and that light speed is the great limiter placed on the entire universe. At the very least, NASA recognises a problem in fuel based propulsions – something I’ll do a post about later. Basically, we have no possible technology that could ever be sufficient to let us explore into our own galaxy, let alone the rest of the universe.
And finally, a thought inspired by another Neil deGrasse Tyson quote, as well as predictions by Stephen Hawking. Most likely, we are either infinitely more advanced than alien life and overlook its existence or do not recognise it as life (such as bacteria), or we are infinitely inferior to alien life, so they see us as nothing more than insects and ignore us. After all, when was the last time you stopped and had a conversation with a worm?
I feel like I’ve been neglecting the literary side of this blog for a while now and will remedy that in the near future. However, today I want to address a conceptual problem in the (often theistic) claim that the universe could not have appeared out of nothing because that is a violation of physical laws. Well, guess what? It’s not.
I’ll try keep this post short and easy to understand, so just keep in mind there are decades of scientific study and evidence going into this, and it is in no way as simple as I can make it seem. Let’s start from the beginning.
Matter, antimatter, and photons all consist of positive energy. However, this energy is exactly balanced out by the negative gravitational energy of the everything in the universe. Essentially, we have a universe where the total energy is zero (J.M. Pasachoff and A.V. Filippenko, 2001). If you remember Einstein’s famous equation, you’ll know this means all matter is also equal to zero. Basically, we live in nothing, but fortunately, the nothing is separated into the positive and negative parts. To use Stephen Hawking’s analogy, it’s like a man building a pile of dirt on a flat land. As he digs up dirt, the pile of dirt is exactly the same size as the hole he is digging. They balance each other out.
Now to see why gravitational potential energy is considered negative because potential energy is considered negative by convention in science. A quick explanation for you guys would be to consider this: an object at rest an infinite distance away from a source of gravity will be said to have zero kinetic energy (as it is resting) and zero gravitational energy (as it is infinitely far away, so it does not experience gravity). As the object gets closer to the gravitational source, it gains kinetic energy (by moving towards it due to the attraction), but this energy is exactly balanced out by the negative gravitational energy. This energy is negative because to counteract the energy of the system, you would have to put in more energy (to push the object away from the gravitational source). If you have to add more energy to get back to zero, then the potential energy of the attraction is obviously negative.
Together, this is known as a zero-energy universe and, along with inflation, suggests that all that is needed is a tiny volume of energy to get things started and the universe will experience inflationary expansion without creating net energy. So essentially, the universe is still nothing, just in positive and negative states (where we live in the positive state).
Well, those of you that are sharp enough to pick up on the details will be asking “where did this tiny volume of energy to get things started come from?” which would lead you back to the original question, how to get that little something from nothing? Here comes the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. This is a long established scientific law that allows for particles and antiparticles to appear out of nothing and then annihilate each other without violating conservation of energy. These pairs are known as virtual particles and appear in a process known as quantum fluctuation. Studies have shown quantum fluctuations to appear everywhere at all times, so really, something is appearing out of nothing all around us. Although the virtual particles annihilate each other, they leave a very real effect on the energy levels of atoms. Originally, the Uncertainty Principle (part of quantum theory) was to help account for experimentally measure energy levels disagreeing with predicted levels, and introduced quantum fluctuation, which had to be accounted for to arrive at correct answers.
Again, the smart ones will see where I’m going, and it’s almost done. If we understand that energy can appear out of nothing, then it is entirely possible and even likely that our universe appeared out of “nothing”. There’s possibly one last argument that can be made – the Uncertainty Principle only applies to tiny particles. Well, let’s not forget the singularity that exploded in the Big Bang was, by definition of singularity, an infinitely small point. As Hawking has said, the universe is the “ultimate free lunch”. We got it out of nothing without violating any laws of physics.
Here’s a little bonus to add on to the concept of a zero-energy universe where the positive and negative are separated. Scientists at the University of Michigan developed a mathematical model allowing a super-high-energy electron laser to rip apart nothingness (a vacuum) into its matter and antimatter components (http://ns.umich.edu/new/releases/8167). Basically, what we call “nothing” is actually a perfect balance of positive and negative components – our universe could essentially just be an expanding “nothingness” caused by quantum fluctuation.
This is just going to be a quick one and is closely related to these two posts: the original post on the black hole multiverse and alternate dimensions and the follow up post explaining Hawking’s Information Paradox and how it gives strong supportive evidence for the first post.
I don’t know how many people analysed my theory closely enough to realise this but considering the black hole multiverse theory is correct (there is a universe in every singularity and our universe is just the core of a black hole of an even greater universe), we still need to understand how the uppermost and lowermost universe work. As I was walking home from the gym I came to a solution for this problem, which is similar to saying “how can the universe exist by itself without boundaries” (because if the uppermost universe containing all the other universes is the final universe, that makes it a boundary).
As I lay out my proof, I want you to keep in mind that for the universe to be independent (that is, self-creating and -functioning), it has to have a net effect of zero. The existence of negative energy (such as anti-matter) is evidence for our universe being independent. The analogy Hawking uses is a man making a hill on a flat, dirt land. To make the hill, the man has to dig dirt out of the floor and pile it up. As the hill (the universe) is formed, an equal hole is formed so the net effect is zero. Something was not formed out of nothing, it was formed by splitting the positive and negative parts. I’ll explain this mathematically so it makes more sense. If we start off with nothing, we have zero. But we can have 10 if we also have -10, because together, they still equal zero. There is still nothing, it’s just split up. Let x equal any number of anything (matter for example). +x -x = 0, so we still have nothing, but the two parts are split up. Hawking proposes that the empty space in the universe contains the negative portion of our universe. I’ll clarify this later when I’ve read more papers on negative energy.
Anyway, now that we know it’s entirely possible for the universe to exist independently (I can prove this, and may do so in a later blog post – suffice to say, it is not necessary for any “divine creator” to exist because the universe can create itself under the laws of physics), we have a number of possibilities to explain the uppermost and lowermost universes.
To make things easier, think of all the universes collectively as a multi-layered fountain. Matter is the water that flows through the fountain. Black holes (which contain singularities that suck matter from that level of universe) are like holes in that level of the fountain. Assume there’s one hole for every black hole. That means water flows through these holes (black holes) into the next level (the next universe). Now the question is, how does the highest level of this fountain (the uppermost universe) get its water (matter)? Well, the analogy should make it obvious but the most logical answer is that the lowermost universe is connected to the uppermost universe (such as a special type of black hole). With the fountain analogy, it would be a pump (water is pumped back up to the top of a fountain so the fountain flows independently, in case you didn’t know). Essentially, we have a loop (again). If we consider black holes to be doorways into an alternate universe, it would be like a circular hallway with many doors partitioning the hall. The first door opens to the second, which opens to the third and so on until the last door opens back to the first one.
Now, I anticipate some confusion over how something can contain itself in itself (because two boxes the same size will not fit in each other right?). Well that’s where the dimensions come in. “Size” is not a reliable measure when you start transcending dimensions. Proof? You can draw a straight line infinitely long but its area (a 2D measure) will always equal zero. Similarly, you can draw a 2D square infinitely large but its volume (a 3D measure) will always equal zero. As you can see, when you move between dimensions, size is not a valid measurement, and considering the proposed 11 dimensions (based on quantum mechanics and string theory), it’s entirely possible that the universe can contain itself inside itself. What’s more is that the assumption that dimensions move in a positive direction (for lack of a better word to describe this concept) is not actually set in stone. We could have negative dimensions, which cancel out the positive dimensions, arriving at a net effect of zero (as required for an independent universe) and making it even more possible for the universe to be self-containing.
Anyway, if anybody was looking deeply enough into my earlier posts and identified this “problem” I have now just proposed a solution.
As you can probably tell, I’m quite obsessed with this science stuff now. The reason is because I basically found an intellectual keystone – one piece of knowledge that managed to connect all the other scientific knowledge I had into a single coherent theory. It’s an amazing feeling when everything just falls into place, which is why I can’t stop thinking about it.
This is actually a bit of a continuation from my earlier post on the multiverse and additional dimensions theory, and is basically supporting evidence for the multiverse (which is itself evidence for additional dimensions).
To avoid things getting messy, I’m going to break this into three subheadings.
You can easily do a quick wikipedia on him if you want to find out the more mundane details of his life. I’m just going to quickly mention some relevant things about him.
Hawking has a motor neurone disease related to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) which has confined him to a wheelchair. As he is almost fully paralyzed, he communicates with facial twitches and a speech device where he enters types the words he wants to say by scrolling across a virtual keyboard with his eyes. This condition alone is proof of his genius as he rationalises complex theoretical physics in his mind without the benefit of being able to write things down. Honestly, I can’t stress enough how amazing that is. I hated 4 unit maths in high school and I had textbooks, the internet and calculators to rely on. His peers have said that Hawking works on intuition that is freakishly accurate, as if he is in tune with the universe in the same way that Einstein and Newton were.
Hawking’s black hole equation combined separate major fields of physics into one elegant formula, the first time (and only time to my knowledge) that separate fields of physics have been unified. Those of you who know a bit about physics will know why this is a big deal – there are many types of physics and they have never been unified under one single model before (which would be known as the theory of everything). The Hawking-Bekenstein entropy equation is:
Where S is entropy from thermodynamics, c is the constant for the speed of light from Einstein’s work, k is the Boltzmann constant, G is Newton’s constant for gravity, h is the Planck constant from quantum physics, and A is the area of the black hole.
Not only is this a combination of different fields of physics, it is a simple equation (which is considered mathematically beautiful, like Einstein’s e=mc^2).
The last thing I want to mention are a few of his theories that are relevant to this post. First, he provided mathematical proof for the beginning of the universe (the big bang), he not only described the mechanism of black holes mathematically, but defined many of the laws governing them (such as the event horizon, which is the region around the black hole which if you enter, there is no escape), and he also predicted that black holes would evaporate over time.
The Information Paradox:
The Information Paradox was something Hawking came to based on his work on black holes. Black holes break everything down into subatomic particles and suck them into the core of its gravity – a singularity (defined as a point that is infinitely small, infinitely dense, with an infinite gravity). The gravitational force of a black hole is so strong that not even light can escape. The implication of this is that whatever is sucked into a black hole is lost forever (or rather, it is stuck in the black hole forever).
However, Hawking later proved that black holes would evaporate over time. This is related to two facts: first, black holes emit radiation (a form of energy) and second, E=mc^2. Einstein’s equation means that energy and mass are essentially the same thing, just in different forms (you can mathematically represent energy/mass as a function of the other). What this means is that if black holes emit energy, they need to burn mass to do so; thus if a black hole runs out of mass (given that it runs out of stuff to suck in and burns out its core), it will evaporate.
Why was this huge news to the science world? Because the laws of physics (conservation of mass and energy) state that you cannot destroy mass/energy, only change its form. Information is “coded” into particles, and can never be lost. A visual representation of this would be if I tear a piece of paper to shreds. If I have all the pieces still, and a knowledge of how they fit together, I could theoretically recreate the original paper. The same applies to everything in the universe – if I burn a tree inside a containment unit, I would have everything that tree (and the fire) was made out of inside that containment unit. Theoretically, I could use those ingredients to remake the tree. However, Hawking’s proof of black hole evaporation violated this most fundamental law. If a black hole disappeared, what happened to all the information it absorbed? It would disappear with the black hole, a clear violation of the conservation of mass/energy. In essence, Hawking described black holes as huge cosmic machines that went around erasing parts of the universe and proclaimed that parts of the universe were missing as a result. Physicists were mind boggled and needed to disprove this theory. Why? Because the implications were that if black holes could violate this law, then the law was no longer a law of the universe. If it was no longer a law, that means that information anywhere in the universe could potentially be erased, and not just inside black holes. Further, at this time more black holes were discovered – there were supermassive black holes and micro black holes. There could even be micro black holes existing in your room as you read this. If black holes have the power to erase information, how can you say anything you know or see or feel or believe is real? Nothing is certain if everything is impermanent. This caused a huge fuss and was known as the Information Paradox.
Later, a theoretical physicist, Leonard Susskind came up with an alternative theory to solve the Information Paradox. The science world breathed a sigh of relief, but Hawking was determined to prove Susskind was wrong.
Unfortunately, at this point Hawking’s ALS got even worse. He was hospitalised but miraculously, he survived and went back to work. By now, he was so paralyzed that he had to get a student to help him work. Hawking would feed him ideas and the student would do the calculations and try to prove the concepts. As Hawking’s ALS got worse, his work became frustratingly slow. Now, his student tries to anticipate what Hawking wants to say (Hawking types the first few letters of a word and he guesses what word Hawking means).
Anyway, after getting out of hospital, Hawking went to a renown physics conference and made a public statement. He admitted that he had been wrong – information was not erased. However, he also declared Susskind wrong and claimed to have solved the paradox himself. I haven’t read this paper (it’s quite recent and he hasn’t provided mathematical proof yet), but from what I’ve gathered, his solution is as followed: information is not erased because it is transmitted to an alternate universe. The multiverse theory predicts an infinite number of universes, and inevitably, some of these universes will have no black holes. If there are no black holes, there is no way for information to be lost (this is a logic loop similar to time travel – if the cause of the problem doesn’t exist, you can’t have a problem in the first place). Basically, information will be transmitted through universes until it reaches a universe with no black hole, and since there is no black hole, the information can’t be lost.
Progress is ridiculously slow now – Hawking can only put out a few words a minute. Personally, I think it would be an astounding tragedy (especially in Hawking’s mind) if he becomes fully paralyzed and unable to spread his knowledge to the world. What would be more horrible was if he proved the existence of other universes but was unable to tell us. Imagine being trapped in your own mind with a universe shaking idea, fully proven, but unable to tell anybody around you.
Implications and the Multiverse Theory:
I really hope Hawking survives long enough to fully prove his new theory. It would be a tragedy for him to die with this work uncompleted as it would be definitive proof of a multiverse (because a multiverse would be necessary for the laws of physics to remain absolute).
How does this relate to my previous post? Well, as a quick refresher, I recently thought of the idea (which other scientists have also supported) that every singularity contains a universe. The reason for this is because our universe originated from a singularity that caused the big bang. Logically, all singularities have the potential to big bang and spew out its contents (a universe). There are singularities at the core of every black hole, meaning that there are hundreds of millions of universes inside our own universe, and that our own universe could just be the core of a black hole of an even greater universe (which would, by necessity, have more dimensions than us).
By the way, a quick note on the dimensions; further support for my suggestion that even more dimensions exist (and that our universe belongs to a universe with more dimensions) can be found in quantum mechanics and string theory. These two branches of physics study predict, by necessity, the existence of at least 11 dimensions. I think the fact that we’re working on string theory and alternate dimensions can be likened to the “fourth wall” in theatre – the characters of the play should not be aware of the audience’s existence but sometimes they “break the fourth wall” and hint that they do acknowledge an audience’s existence.
Back to the implications though: I believe in my previous post I suggested that the matter (or information) sucked in by a black hole is used to create a new (and smaller) universe. I made this post without thinking of Hawking’s multiverse, but the two concepts coincide well. Hawking states that by necessity, these other universes must exist to contain information that is taken from our universe. That is tantamount to what I said, that these alternate universes contain matter (information) from our current universe.
Essentially, I was beaten to goal again – this time Hawking came up with the idea before me. This stuff happens inevitably, and I admit, much of my knowledge is inspired by Hawking, but I can’t help but feel like I’m travelling in a rut because I’m arriving at the same conclusions as others. Breakthroughs need radical thinking that forges a whole new path or the thinker will inevitably run into the same dead-end as someone before them. This is way out of my depth already (I have long since lost any mathematical reasoning and have been relying on theoretical physics to rationalise my conclusions). I eagerly await Hawking’s work and am filled with admiration at the thought that even now, while I write this blog post, Hawking is painstakingly putting out a couple of words a minute to his student who is so close and yet so far from proving a multiverse.
So I was showering after watching a documentary on Stephen Hawking and came to two absolutely mind-boggling scientific epiphanies. I don’t know what you guys do when you shower but I think about stuff. Anyway, I was sure that I had discovered something ground-breaking but, as usual, somewhere some place somebody had thought of it before me. Nevertheless, I thought I’d take the liberty of naming this theory after myself to appease the disappointment of not being the first.
The Prophet’s Multiverse was a theory I came to after remembering Hawking’s comment that the universe is essentially a black hole working in reverse. Black holes crush matter into a singularity whereas our universe expanded from a singularity. The implication of this is that every singularity contains a universe in it. That means that every black hole has a universe at its core and that our universe is just the singularity at the core of an even larger universe. The size of things may feel mind boggling, especially when there are roughly 100 million stellar-mass black holes in the universe. However, keep in mind that we, as humans, have constantly been corrected in our assumption that we understand how big things are. We see more and more of the universe over time and realise more and more how small we are. This is just another step in that direction.
To help visualise this, consider yourself in the room of an enormous building. Each level has many rooms, but there are no doors or windows, just four solid walls. To us, that room is the entire universe. There is nothing outside of it because we have no reasonable evidence to think that anything exists outside of the room (especially since there are no doors or windows). In reality, however, there are many more rooms in the building, all of which think that they are all that exist. Imagine if I put doors in the walls but they were all locked. That’s what this current stage is. We have reason to believe that other rooms (or universes) exist now, but we have no method to reach them. Now all we’re looking for is the key.
Honestly, it’s an amazing idea to think that we are just a black hole’s singularity in another universe. Likewise, imagine the universes inside one of our black holes. They probably think that they are the only universe without ever realising that they are contained within our own universe.
Before people get lost at this point, it’s probably worth pointing out that a singularity is an infinitely small point with infinite density, mass and gravity. This means that the singularity that contained our universe (released by the big bang) contained every ingredient necessary to make our universe. Likewise, black holes in our universe are sucking ingredients into their singularities, ingredients that may be used to create their universe. The big bang itself is open to further examination. Hawking predicts that black holes will dissipate, releasing Hawking radiation. It’s possible that this Hawking Radiation is just a big bang for a smaller universe. It only looks smaller to us because we’re infinitely larger. Similarly, our big bang could just be the dissipating radiation of a universe that is even larger than us.
Anyway, apparently a Polish cosmologist and some other physicists have already come up with this same theory as me (though we differ on the specifics). I just wanted to write it down because it feels like a waste of a shower-time epiphany.
My second theory is the Prophet’s Dimension, and is basically proof of more dimensions that exist. As far as I know, nobody has thought of this one yet. This is a bit hard to explain with just words and is impossible to draw so you’re going to have to use your imagination. As we know, the universe has no edge. There’s two possible explanations for this: nothing exists outside of the universe, thus there can be no edge, or the universe loops back on itself (the same way as Earth does, which is why we don’t fall off the edge of the Earth). I find the first explanation to be conceptually difficult because that would imply the possibility of standing at the “edge” of the universe and simply being unable to move any farther or see any farther, therefore I go with the second assumption.
For the universe to loop on itself, we have to conceptualise a three dimensional loop (ignoring time because time can be a linear infinite) – EDIT: When I say a linear infinite, I mean time is a curve with a minimum value of 14.6 billion years (beginning of universe) and a potential maximum value of infinity; remember that time can only travel in one direction – the positive. It’s impossible to draw a 3D loop so here’s where the imagination comes in. Let me just justify my last statement (for those who are thinking of spheres). A circle is a one dimensional loop because a line is one dimensional and it loops back on itself to form a circle (which is then 2D). A sphere is a two dimensional loop because it is a 3D object, and using the same logic of the circle, it becomes a 2D loop. The long version is, if you draw a circle, then rotate it along the diameter (to represent the new axis and hence dimension) you get a sphere.
Ok, back to the point at hand. Since it is impossible to draw a 3D loop, I’m going to represent the 3rd dimension with a 2D plane. So let’s think of a sheet of paper. The paper is 2D (or 3D if you consider the thickness). Imagine that the surface of the paper page is 3D. Now, the paper is rectangular so it has an edge. We know the universe has no edge, so the paper has to be folded into a sphere (don’t ask me how, just imagine a spherical page). Tada, we now have a universe with no edge, where the 3D universe is contained on the 2D surface of the page. If it helps you understand, imagine the page’s thickness to be a dimension, in which case the page is indeed 3D, but keeping in mind that the thickness has to be infinite (and thus loop back on itself) because the universe has no edge no matter which direction you travel. I have no trouble substituting the 3D universe with the 2D page so I’m going to continue with that description (you’re just simplifying an entity by making another entity represent it, such as x+y=z and x+y+a = 1, therefore z+a =1; it’s just substitution to help you think easier).
So, we have a spherical object but it’s hollow in the middle. What does that mean? It means there’s space contained within our universe’s boundaries that we cannot access no matter which direction we travel (remember, the page represents a 3D space, so no matter what direction you travel, you’re still travelling on that page). The implication of this is that there’s more dimensions in our universe than we can physically access, and that there could be so much more to the universe than we can physically see.
If we tie this theory to the one above, we can assume that larger universes than ours have more dimensions (because a singularity is one dimensional but it contains a three dimensional universe).
Anyway, those are the two things I came up with while I was showering. Pretty mind boggling stuff huh? Science is so cool.
So since the Higgs Boson thing, I haven’t really written much about science. I thought I’d do a quick one on panspermia to amend this little problem.
Of all the theories on how life on Earth originated (or to be more specific, how it accelerate at such a rate), panspermia stands out as the most likely (in my opinion).
We all know life evolved over billions of years (it’s estimated that the earliest forms of life existed on earth around 3 billion years ago, if I remember my astronomy course correctly), but there was a period of time where evolution was sped up beyond predicted levels, allowing multicellular lifeforms to evolve in a much shorter time than they would normally have needed. I feel lazy tonight so I’m going to do most of this off the top of my head. If there’s anything I’m a bit hazy on, I’ll say so. I’m pretty solid on my facts of panspermia itself, I’ve just forgotten the exact timing and order of bacterial evolution on Earth. Feel free to research this yourself.
Anyhow, let’s not get into an argument over whether evolution is real or not. That would be stupid and unscientific, both of which automatically disqualify your opinion. I’m not here to say god doesn’t exist, you’re welcome to believe that he/she/it designed evolution, but the fact that evolution exists is a scientific truth on par with saying that atoms exist.
Panspermia is the hypothesis and process by which life is spread throughout the universe. The scientifc theory (let’s get this straight too, there’s a difference between a theory and a scientific theory) states that the universe is full of life (mostly at a very small and unevolved stage, such as bacteria) and these simple life forms travel around on comets, meteors and asteroids. When space rocks collide with a planet, they “seed” the planet with these simple life forms (by which I mean bacteria, carbon and amino acids). In layman’s terms, this means that life on Earth came from outer space, and very likely from Mars (because 7.5% of Mars rocks land on Earth).
Here’s my own little twist to the theory (although I doubt nobody else has thought of it before). The universe, and thus life, was creating in the Big Bang. Originally, the Big Bang created hydrogen, helium and trace amounts of lithium. All the other elements on the periodic table were created in the furnaces of stars and released through supernovae, which scattered these elements throughout the universe (loosely quoted from Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson). As we know, stars are formed in nebulae, which are huge regions of dust and ionised gases, often containing these elements that were spread across the universe by other stars (which were formed by the original three elements of the Big Bang). The star’s gravity then attracts more space dust which orbit around it, eventually clumping together and forming planets. It thus follows that Earth was created in the same way, and either our nebula contained carbon (which is not unreasonable as it is one of the most common elements in the universe), or during its formation, Earth was bombarded by space rocks containing carbon. This is an absolutely necessary process as we (all life as we know it) are a carbon based life form. By that logic, it’s not unreasonable to assume that Earth was formed with existing life forms already on the planet, though sparse.
Predictions for the time that these simple life forms would take to evolve into multi-cellular life forms, given their density and state of evolution, don’t coincide with actual figures. Something boosted them along the way. Considering 7.5% of rocks from Mars reach Earth, it’s very likely that Earth was further fertilised through panspermia, boosting the bacteria numbers and speeding up the process of evolution.
So if you’ve ever wondered where life on Earth came from, the answer is space. Of course, everything was once in space (and still is) so I guess that answer should be obvious. What I mean, though, is the majority of the basic, microscopic life forms that evolved into all life around us came flying here on meteors, so if your heritage was traced back far enough, you could mostly likely claim that you’re a Martian.
Those who want to hear some evidence may look at this list I’ve quickly compiled:
- In 1984, scientists discovered the meteor Allan Hills 84001. This meteorite had been blasted off the surface of Mars around 15 million years ago, and was found in Antarctica. In 1996 ALH84001 was shown to contain structures that may be the remains of terrestrial nanobacteria. Several tests for organic material have been performed on ALH84001 and amino acids and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons have been found. (http://www.panspermia-theory.com/)
- Bacteria can survive the harsh environment of space, and indeed, it is a well-documented fact that organic compounds are commonly found in the tails of comets. Carbon, early bacterial ingredients and amino acids are frequently found protected in meteors.
- Mars is a more protected planet than Earth, and may have developed an inhabitable atmosphere long before Earth did (it was less hot, is more protected from bombardment, and had oxygen before Earth).
- Recently, scientists discovered life in a sample of rock taken from Mars a few years back. Originally, they hadn’t understood what they were looking at. Unfortunately, they destroyed this life during experiments, as they had no idea what they were doing. This was in the news recently.
- Basic life ingredients like carbon (the best building block for complex life, followed by silicone) are abundant throughout the universe. They have also been proven to be able to survive in meteors, and are always shooting around through space at high speeds. Occasionally they land on a planet, and have been proven to be able to survive that impact (prove by many examples on Earth). It follows that life in space is frequently transported around to different planets.
The chilling, mind boggling and awesome extrapolation from this information is that perhaps humans once had a powerful civilisation on Mars, which eventually destroyed the planet through our well-known penchant for unsustainable living. As the planet could no longer support life (remembering that there is evidence of old river beds on Mars), we died out there as a species, leaving traces of our existence in bacteria and amino acid forms. Panspermia then brought us from Mars to Earth, where we reset the cycle and evolved all over again. If so, it’s ironic that we’re committing the same mistake again and destroying Earth. I can’t help but think, in the near future, we’ll drain this planet too, die out again, and then our remnants will be carried off as Earth, stripped of its protective atmosphere, is blasted to pieces, and perhaps we will re-evolve again on some other planet.
Well, if you’ve ever needed something to keep you up at night thinking, there it is. Man, science is awesome.