Multiverse Theories

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Does your cosmos depend on which theory you subscribe to?

A Gallery of Multiverse Theories

By Iona Miller, O.A.K.©2003

“The key idea, the central core of all the quantum paradoxes,
is that possibilities-universes conspire. It’s a quantum conspiracy.”
--Fred Alan Wolf, Parallel Universes

No Boundaries

So you think you have “boundary issues”? We have been challenged to overcome provinciality and learn to think regionally, nationally and globally. Global thinking is still a challenge. Now the siren call of Mystery invites us to explode our cosmic boundaries.

The limits of our observable universe (14 billion light-years and roughly 100 billion galaxies) have erupted out the top end and penetrated the infinitely small. Our universe may be even older, but time as we know it did not exist, nor can we see through the Big Bang to gauge it.

This universe is characterized by certain interacting life-supporting values (Rees):

1). The strength of the force that binds atomic nuclei making atomic structure possible;
2). The strength of the forces that hold atoms together;
3). The density of material in the universe;
4). Cosmic antigravity that controls the expansion of space;
5). The amplitude of ripples in the expanding universe that seeds macro-structures such as galaxies, solar systems, and planets;
6). The number of spatial dimensions (3-D).
How can it be a “uni-verse” if ours is only one of many? Universe used to mean “All that there is.” That attribution has been co-opted by the term multiverse, although technically there can be many multiverses. We are reluctant to believe that parallel universes are a true description of nature.

Still, we (along with our myriad of virtual clones and alters) are invited to embrace this wider canvas, this grander vision. Our vision of the multiverse is more vast than even a few years ago as there is evidence for many possible forms a universe can take.

There is a greater collective, more than one universe embedded in higher dimensional space or hyperspace. Our worldview must change to a multiverse view, even though it may be difficult to wrap our minds around the notion. The multiverse is the set of all possible universes throughout time, including our observable universe. Physicists say the multiverse resembles boiling water with bubbles that form and rapidly expand.

Our place in cosmic history depends on the delicate interplay between the very big and the very small. Chaos and complexity theory have shown us that patterns tend to repeat and persist (like fractals) at all levels of observation: “As above; so below.”

There is a hierarchy of observational levels: subquantal, quantal, photonic, atomic, electromagnetic, chemical, cellular, organismic, planetary, solar systems, galaxies, universes. At both ends of this open-ended spectrum, we can infer what we may not observe.

Many Mansions

We have found other worlds looking both ways, through the lenses of cosmology and quantum physics. Observations demand we change our worldview to include these parallel universes. Whether we look above or below, we see our universe with its 100 billion galaxies embedded in an even larger reality – the multiverse, with separate closed volumes of space and time.

Infinite space far exceeds the limits of our observable universe. Webs of parallel universes are equally possible. We can image them like balloons connected to one another by rubbery necks of spacetime – wormholes. The regions inside and outside the balloons and wormholes are outside spacetime. They don’t exist.

In shows like Twilight Zone, Star Trek, Quantum Leap, and Sliders the heroes traverse wormholes and black holes, travel through time, enter alternate dimensions, battle their own alter egos, or mysteriously begin living different life stories. Many of our common ideas about the nature of parallel universes come from these well-worn scifi themes.

We get the idea we might be able to detect them, share information with them, interact with them, even pop in and out of them. Most people embrace a single simple notion of parallel universes, if any. But there is no convergence of alternate views of parallel universes.

The truth of these theories is that they are far more complicated and numerous than any scifi, comic or movie has depicted, including Jet Li’s “The One,” LeGuin’s The Lathe of Heaven, or the Carl Sagan storyline, “Contact.” As you read this you could be splitting into a virtual infinity of alternatives, unseen worlds each unaware of the others.

In most theories, you are unlikely to see your other selves, even if you can imagine their existence. Physics calls this their “non-fungible” nature, which means they cannot be viewed or experienced. But don’t worry about comprehending this; it has nothing to do with fungi although many-worlds seem to sprout like mushrooms. Perhaps in some parallel universe, you’ve already gotten it.

If you find the notion of an endless progression of universes sprouting from one another hosting an infinity of unconscious doppelgangers unsettling and hard to fathom, you are not alone. Even physicists who embrace the concept find the idea deeply disturbing.

Most researchers now believe the many worlds hypothesis is an accurate view of reality, backed by well-tested theories such as relativity and quantum mechanics. It makes our paradigm of the observable universe obsolete, even though only a century ago we couldn’t see out of the Milky Way or into the atom.

Many Worlds; Many Theories

There is not just one theory of parallel universes, but a variety of them ranging from bubble universes, accelerating universes, expanding universes to branching universes. We are confronted with self-reproducing universes, mini-universes, chaotic universes, alternative universes, quantum universes. The fabric of our universe is flat, as shown by the acceleration of space (Goldsmith).

Nearly every luminary in the field, from cosmologists to theoretical physicists, seems to suggest a different variant. That is hardly surprising since there are also a variety of theories about the fundamental nature of the known universe. Different theories account for different assumptions and observations, make different predictions, and lead to different conceptual and mathematical models.

For example, Princeton’s Paul Steinhardt argues for the “ekpyrotic model,” an extension of string theory called M-theory. In M-theory fundamental objects are two-dimensional membranes living in eleven-dimensional spacetime. It can contain objects of five-dimensions.

In M-theory our universe and others result from collisions between membranes in this 11-dimensional space. Unlike the universes in the “quantum multiverse”, these universes can have completely different laws of physics – anything is possible; all potentials can be realized.

Before the Big Bang our universe consisted of two perfectly flat four-dimensional surfaces. One of these sheets is our universe; the other is a parallel universe. Random fluctuations in this unseen companion universe caused it to distort and reach toward our universe. The energy of the collision was transferred into the matter and energy of the Big Bang.

In superstring theory there are 10 dimensions, but most of them are thought to be tightly curled up. Now scientists say the extra dimensions aren’t as small as they originally thought. One or more of the extra dimensions could be perhaps a millimeter across.

If so, our visible universe is one of “parallel universes” crammed into this unseen space. It looks big in three dimensions, but could be tiny in other dimensions. We can’t travel between them, since the matter and energy of our universe are confined to our standard three dimensions. But, many big universes could fit in such a small area, like sheets of paper stack together.

Another theory, “quantum cosmology” seeks to marry the irreconcilable theories of relativity with quantum mechanics, which it claims applies to the entire universe at all times and to everything in it. There is no fundamental difference between observer and observed. The wave function of the entire universe can’t collapse each time an observation is made.

In cosmology there is only one system that is measured only once. In quantum cosmology, the universe appears from quantum fuzz, tunneling into existence and then evolving classically. Both the no boundary and tunneling proposals predict the conditions necessary for inflation.

Together parallel universe theories constitute a virtually unbridled proliferation of universes, dimensions, membranes, superpositions, timewarps, Hilbert and hyperspaces. Splitting and merging, some are near; others impossibly far off. Some are similar to our local universe, others quite bizarre.

Tegmark’s Levels

Cosmologist Max Tegmark (2003) has classified different types of parallel universe theories into four levels:

LEVEL I (“Beyond the Cosmic Horizon”) is that of your alter egos and some of these worlds with our duplicates are far off in our local universe. Since cosmic expansion is accelerating you will never see your alter ego. Almost all universes of the Level I multiverse are empty and dead.

Even with the same laws of physics, different initial conditions yield different results. All histories not forbidden by conservation laws are virtually mandatory – they will occur in unquestionably real regions. Imagine our lives have an infinite number of alternative scripts. If we try to see what’s going on, everything changes to complementary possibilities.

LEVEL II (“Postinflation Bubbles”) is that of Andre Linde’s and astrophysicist Trinh Xuan Thuan’s self-reproducing bubble universes, breeding more and more inflationary universes, which we cannot contact. There is a rich froth of bubble universes infinite in space and time. Space as a whole is stretching forever, but some regions stop and form discrete bubbles.

In this infinite set of Level I multiverses there are different particles, physical constants and spacetime dimensionality perhaps due to different symmetry breaking. In Steinhardt’s M-theory model the multiverse is produced by the cycle of birth and destruction of universes, reminiscent of the Hindu myth of Vishnu dreaming up an eternal chain of Brahmas, each an innumerable creator of a universe.

Lee Smolin suggests another multiverse that mutates and sprouts new universes through black holes rather than through brane physics. Our universe is a calm bubble in an infinitely large, chaotic eternally-inflating multiverse. Linde likens the universe to a growing fractal, sprouting self-reproducing inflationary domains which spread and cool into other universes.

Bubbles are created from the quantum foam of a “parent universe.” Bubbles may also originate from false vacuums, which decay producing new “bubble” universes at an accelerating rate on an infinite tree of bubbles. Our universe is a typical branch on the tree in a real wider space.

LEVEL III (“Quantum Many Worlds”) is the many worlds of Everett’s interpretation of quantum mechanics. Tegmark says this multiverse level adds nothing new to I and II except more indistinguishable copies of the same universes. Tegmark assigns this level to the superposition of classical worlds, located “elsewhere,” embodying different ways events could have unfolded.

The same stories play again and again in unreachable quantum branches. Each story line we follow meaningfully connects a single future event to a past event. We can’t predict the future because we become aware only of the story line with the greatest probability. MWI is a two-way street: not only do we exist in more than one world, every event in the universe affects us. Everett never explained why we are stuck on just one branch.

When we see things with a fresh eye, we enter a parallel universe, reinventing ourselves. Only our viewpoint changes but new meaning emerges. Intimately involved with our histories, countless parallel universes accommodate all the possibilities that quantum physics contains. Containing all possibilities, these universes are static, so change and time are illusions.

The paradox of Schrodinger’s Cat is used to illustrate this interpretation. When an observation is made, new universes are created from among all possible outcomes. When two parts of the universe interact, all possible results (superpositions) become real.

Our copies remain unaware and uncontactable in worlds of their own. Only one reality lasts long enough for us to notice. We switch realities with every passing moment as our wave function is repeatedly split due to interaction with quantum systems, but all we notice is slight randomization, uncertainty.

LEVEL IV (“Other Mathematical Structures”) is that of pure mathematical structures, a sort of Platonic paradigm of ideal forms but based on different laws of physics and altogether different equations. Mathematical structures, such as a dodecahedron, are abstract, immutable entities existing outside of space and time.

Every mathematical structure is a parallel universe, according to Tegmark. But, “the elements of this multiverse do not reside in the same space but exist outside of space and time.” This is the realm of abstract geometries, manifolds, vector spaces, tensor spaces and other equations. In Level IV, entities aware enough can subjectively perceive themselves as existing in a physicaly “real” world, according to Tegmark.

Plato thought mathematical forms were the true reality, but that we perceive reality imperfectly as in his allegory of the shadows on the wall of a cave. His notion was a top-down theory. We may or may not eventually find a mathematical structure to match our own universe. Instead we may find the limits of the effectiveness of mathematics.

Rudy Rucker also claims this mindscape exists as a physical reality. Like Plato, he believes in a world of ideas separate from the mental and physical. Consciousness can explore this realm of all possible thoughts just like the body explores the universe. We all share the same mindscape just as we share the same universe.

That’s Life

Our virtual duplicates are like our everyday universe, occupying a region of spacetime, containing conventional and exotic matter, galaxies, stars and perhaps life. Only some parallel universes foster the emergence of life. A major proponent of Level III many worlds, physicist David Deutsch argues this point on his list serve (Fabric of Reality, August 16, 2003):

“It is uncontroversial that, of all the environments that exist and have ever existed, only a tiny proportion are suitable for life to evolve. However, there are vastly more in which life can survive once, for whatever reason, it is present there. For instance, life (in the form of astronauts) has survived on the moon – and there seems little doubt that it would be possible for life to survive indefinitely on the moon even in the absence of support from earth. In fact, I think it is a reasonable working hypothesis that life can (given enough knowledge) survive in almost every naturally-occurring environment.”

“If that is so, then it puts a different light on the first statement, that only a tiny proportion of environments are suitable for life to evolve. For by “suitable for life to evolve” we mean that there is a reasonable probability that life will evolve there. However, there is presumably always a non-zero probability that life will form spontaneously in any given environment.”

“And [there is] a much smaller – but still non-zero – probability that [life] will form spontaneously with any given finite amount of knowledge. And hence there is always a non-zero chance of life coming into existence in almost any environment and thriving there. . .’tapering’ realities in the multiverse do not count as universes because they do not correspond to a quasi-autonomous information flow.”

“Anyway, the upshot is that it is quite plausible that life, worthy of the name, has existed and thrived, somewhere in the multiverse, since the big bang. It is also quite plausible that it hasn’t.”

Some theories of parallel universes emerge from cosmology, others from quantum mechanics. All of them represent attempts to model our universe accurately with the known laws of physics. The trouble is, our knowledge of nature’s laws is incomplete, and our theories of Cosmos suffer from our blind spots. We don’t know the conditions or constraints for the generation of universes. Nature isn’t confined to the limitations of our perceptions. Our theoretical models are incomplete.

Stretching the boundaries of empirical knowledge, recent findings have forced the idea of multiple universes on scientists. Physicists have inferred that many worlds exist, some with potentially different physical conditions, laws, and matter. Their existence, implied by cosmological observations, solves some difficult paradoxes in quantum physics and cosmology. To deny them complicates physics even more.

Astronomer Royal, astrophysicst Sir Martin Rees (2000, 2001) says, “…no complex entities could evolve in universes that lasted only for a short time, that were always in thermal equilibrium, that contained nothing but radiation, or that had only two spatial dimensions.”

Parallel universes might be utterly unlike our own, having different particles (such as mirror matter or dark matter) and forces. Perhaps they are confined to membranes with fewer or more dimensions. They may have identical properties to our own universe, yet be folded to appear very distant. Dark matter could be composed of ordinary matter, even ordinary stars and galaxies, shining brightly on their own fold, yet emitting no apparent light in our universe.

Splitting Image: A Gallery of Multiverses

In Buddhism, the universe is perceived as timeless, eternal with no beginning or end. It is rooted in the Void. In Vedic cosmology, ours is one of countless universes clustered together like foam on the surface of the Causal Ocean. An enveloping shell of subtle primeval elements separates each. In the Judeo-Christian vision the universe begins with Light.

Some modern theories mirror these metaphors, but multiverses are more than metaphorical. In the beginning was nothing but hyperspace with fluctuations in nothing. Bubbles emerged and began expanding rapidly, producing our universe. As Kaku (2003) says, “The Judeo-Christian genesis takes place within the Buddhist nirvana, all the time, and our Multiverse percolates universes.”

Shall we imagine chains of universes, bubbles within bubbles, endless proliferations of universes reiterating in fractals? Do baby universes sprout from black holes or are there isolated island universes in other dimensions? We can take the top-down view of cosmology and superspace. Superspace is John Wheeler’s original name for what is now called quantum foam. It consists of pure massless charge flux, pure scalar waves.

Or, we can take the bottom-up view of the infinitely small quantum worlds, or string-theory. Are there anti-matter universes? Are these meta-universes divergent or aligned with our own; are they close at hand or far, far away? Are there more multiverses as time goes by???

Alan Guth of MIT created the inflationary theory of ever-expanding universes. As the visible universe expands, it gives birth to new universes. Since inflation is eternal, the creation of new worlds is also eternal and “in an eternally inflating universe, anything that can happen, will happen,” he says. “In fact, it will happen an infinite number of times.”

The multiverse already has an infinite history, far exceeding that of our local universe, which is around 14 billion years old. Everything that can happen does, somewhere in dimensions we will probably never fathom.

In the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, all possibilities exist and simply are. Life only exists in a small subset of the sets of universes. Not every embryonic universe forms hydrogen or carbon essential for molecular biology, life as we know it.

Hugh Everett III first proposed his many worlds theory in the 1950s to overcome the need for an observer to collapse the wave function of the Copenhagen interpretation. The wave function rotates in an abstract infinite-dimensional space called Hilbert space.

Collapse is a change in our knowledge of the system through measurement, and interaction of observer and observed. The wave function is a quantity that encodes the probabilistic information about such variables as position, momentum and energy.

In Everett’s theory (the “relative state” formulation), the universe is one holistic wave function. There is no collapse from possible to actual, just a set of amplitudes in which all possibilities throughout spacetime remain as superpositions. Each world splits into equally real multiple possibilities after each and every event. Our doppelgangers live on other quantum branches in infinite Hilbert space.

All possibilities are physically real in their own dimension, though virtual entities to an observer in another dimension. Ordinary existence, from possible to actual, arises from quantum decoherence. Decoherence mimics wave function collapse, but preserves unity.

Decoherence is the term for disappearance of the multiple additional possibilities. Interaction of object and environment destroys certain states faster than others. Vacuum fluctuations generate superpositions of all possible initial conditions. They coexist simultaneously, but decoherence causes them to behave classically viewed within separate quantum branches.

David Deutsch, who developed quantum computing, is the most prominent supporter of Everett’s many worlds interpretation (MWI). Quantum computers theoretically use atoms from parallel universes for their calculations. Deutsch says that different times are the same as different universes. “The universes we can affect we call the future. Those that can affect us we call the past.” All outcomes are present.

This reminds of Einstein’s statement: “The distinction between past, present and future is only an illusion, even if a stubborn one.” The many-worlds branch toward the future creating an apparent arrow of time.

In the branching tree of alternative histories, the outcome of one branching profoundly affects probabilities of subsequent branching, and even the nature of alternatives subsequently available. Different possible histories each have their own probability according to Murray Gell-Mann.

In Andrew Gray’s History Selection formulation of MWI, history is selected over all space and time. Particles “decide” which equi-probable branches to take by choosing the least destructive path avoiding interference with another particle at some stage in the future.

The particle seems to “know” what will happen if it goes one way or another, and chooses the highest “survival” potential. It somehow seems to perceive the whole of its space-time world line with its actions now influenced by what can happen in the future. They somehow avoid interference in a non-causal way by selecting from all probabilities.

We cannot control the fates of our other selves in the multiverse. But if someone dies, they can still be alive in another universe. This suggests intriguing questions about free will, reincarnation, immortality, and perhaps the supernatural. Shall we take comfort that there are some worlds where we don’t make our worst mistakes, where we don’t lose our loved ones or die prematurely?

Wormholes, Sprouts, Strings, Bubbles, and Handshakes

Our universe could be just one of a manifold of all possible universes. Perhaps the universe tunneled from nothing. Quantum tunneling allows objects to pass through barriers that are impassable according to Newton’s classical laws of physics.

In 1962 John Wheeler discovered the Einstein-Rosen bridge, later known as wormholes. Sidney Coleman, theoretical physicist from Harvard, investigates the nature of the vacuum and its relation to the cosmological constant.

Wormholes are tubelike regions of space that connect one region of the universe to another. Wormholes may contribute information to our universe in the form of values for the constants of nature, or fix the energy density of the vacuum – the cosmological constant.

Coleman says, “the cosmological constant is zeroed out by wormholes; invisible, submicroscopic rips in the fabric of spacetime that tunnel out of our universe, linking it to an infinite web of other universes.”

Dark matter, the invisible gravitating substance that possibly makes up part of the missing mass of our universe may reside in parallel universes. Such matter would affect our universe’s gravity and is necessarily “dark” since our species of photon is stuck on our membrane (flat universe). Photons cannot travel across the void from the parallel matter to our eyes, though it may look normal to inhabitants of its own universe.

Stephen Hawking invented quantum wormholes in 1988. Just as quantum mechanics says there is a certain probability that particles can appear from nowhere in a vacuum, quantum cosmology says there is a certain probability that a small chunk of space and time can suddenly pop into existence.

A wormhole is a fluctuation in the spacetime field, just as a virtual particle is a fluctuation in an energy field. The wormhole can connect to any of an endless number of preexisting parallel universes otherwise inaccessible to us. In 1989, Kip Thorne showed a region of space containing a negative mass-energy could stabilize wormholes.

David Bohm’s notion of the holomovement includes an enfolded and manifest world, and a something-from-nothing philosophy. Is there one massive holographic field that actually exists in nature?

Specific waveforms can be exact representations of spatiotemporal objects. Does the non-material implicate realm underlie our reality, an immense multidimensional wave function? Bohm also invokes the notion of the “pilot wave” in his interpretation claiming a quantum wave guides particles along their trajectories.

Thomas E. Bearden is the darling of the ZPE (zero-point energy; vacuum potential) free-energy crowd. He is a stalwart defender of crosstalk with other dimensions, which interact with our own in extraordinary circumstances. He has concentrated on the properties of the vacuum as spacetime. He describes a hyperworld as a 3-space or 4-space rotated one or more orthogonal (90 degree) turns away from the ordinary world, constituting an entire subquantal level in a virtual state.

What appears real in one parallel world is a virtuality in its 90 degree companions. In Excalibur Briefing, he uses his model as a theoretical framework for vacuum energy, mind, and matter. He describes the relation to hyperspace of the panoply of paranormal phenomena from UFOs and cattle mutilations, to the whole range of psi abilties, apparitions, and psychotronic weapons that add hyperdimensional aspects to their function.

Moving beyond simple inflationary models, Andrei Linde of Stanford created a self-generating universe theory with complex elements. He calls it “the self-reproducing inflationary universe.” He views our universe as one of many sprouts of a growing fractal, sprouting inflationary domains that sprout more inflationary domains, each spreading and cooling into a new universe.

According to this theory our universe came from a singularity. A universe can come from as little as an ounce of vacuum. Universes sprout into existence by the billions in dimensions we can’t see. Those with excessive gravity are crushed; with weak gravity no stars form. In an expanding bubble closed universe, inside is normal space, outside is energy super-saturated space of the initial conditions. Connections are possible only through wormholes.

Maybe our universe is just a bubble in an endless chain of big bangs, bubbles within bubbles. Each new universe is a separate closed volume of space and time. Quantum fluctuations in inflationary expansion have a wavelike character.

When these waves “freeze” atop one another, their effects are magnified. These stacked-up quantum waves disrupt scalar fields – the underlying field that determines the behavior of elementary particles. They exceed a sort of cosmic critical mass and start birthing new inflationary domains.

Bubble universes are presumed approximately uniform. The laws of physics are the same in most of them. Multiverse has a common time for the primordial froth as a whole. Because of the infinity of universes, therefore stars and planets, Earth-like planets must exist in infinite number. That implies also infinite numbers of each of us. Right now an infinity of all humans exists in all possible variations.

John Cramer describes a transactional theory where information passes backwards and forwards through time. Quantum handshakes between the future and the past create reality. Past emitters and future absorbers interlace past and future together. The non-linear collapse of these wave/particle complementary pairs creates a single world history, but past events are not causal.

Greene and others have invoked string theory, suggesting that rather than particles, matter is the resonating tip of vibrating strings or tiny one-dimensional filaments curled up into virtual nothingness in 7 dimensions in addition to our three common dimensions of space plus time. In superstring theory we live in a nine-dimensional space. We notice three of them while the others remain curled up so tight they are unnoticeable.

In Hyperspace, Michio Kaku describes the 10 dimensions of universe with string field theory. Strings have just one dimension, length. Fundamental objects in this theory are one-dimensional strings living in 10 dimensional spacetime. The vibrating string drives all subatomic particles. When they collide they create atoms and nuclei, jump-starting chemistry.

Kaku says, “If you kick the string, then an electron will turn into a neutrino. If you kick it again. . .it will turn from a neutrino into a photon or a graviton. And if you kick it enough times, the vibrating string will then mutate into all the subatomic particles.” String fans tend to be particle physicists.

In Surfing through Hyperspace, Clifford Pickover, (physicist and mathematical artist), conjectures on the nature of four-dimensional beings:

“A 4-D being would be a god to us. It would see everything in our world. It could even look inside your stomach and remove your breakfast without cutting through your skin, just like you could remove a dot inside a circle by moving it up into the third dimension, perpendicular to the circle, without breaking the circle.”

“A hyperbeing can effortlessly remove things before your very eyes, giving you the impression that the object simply disappeared. The hyperbeing can also see inside any 3-D object or life form, and if necessary remove anything from inside. The being can look inside our intestines, or remove a tumor from our brains without ever cutting through the skin.”
Fred Alan Wolf, (1988) also helps us speculate about all the wild ramifications and paradoxes of such views. In Parallel Universes he delves deep into the mysteries of the various theories. We live in a cloud of positional universes; the fog of time is parallel universes. Wolf says, “we need all the points in the cloud to have any stable universe, in the same way that we need a single electron to exist as a cloud in an atom in order that the atom have a stable energy.”

“The key idea, the central core of all of the quantum paradoxes, is that possibilities -- universes conspire. It’s a quantum conspiracy,” among the infinite worlds. The whole world is connected through the existence of all these parallel universes. But many nuances have developed in the last 15 years since Wolf’s publication. New experiments and observations have been made. Both Michio Kaku (Parallel Worlds) and Sir Martin Rees (Multiverse) have new books on the multiverse coming out soon.

As Above; So Below

Hermetic philosophers used an axiom attributed to Hermes Trismegistus as the basis of their metaphysical worldview. Their axiom, “As Above; So Below,” implied that what is true of the most exalted or superior realms of nature is also true of the most finite. They also believed in finer planes of consciousness: a plenum filled with hierarchies of supernatural beings, some far removed, and others close at hand.

They spoke of a branching Tree of Life filled with primordial dynamics, and a spiritual field with four levels of force that permeates all. In their vision the universe of energy and matter emanated from the primordial state, impenetrable veils of negative existence, becoming progressively denser. They attributed existence to resonance and the transformations of Light and Sound. They recognized four primary elements, which we can correlate with the four fundamental forces: strong force, weak force, gravity, and electromagnetism.

Even though superstition filled gaps in knowledge about the nature of these other worlds, in essence they are surprisingly close. Only in the last century has science been able to affirm these ancient intuitions. As man looked inside himself, he saw the basic essence of reality and struggled to describe it in common terms. Even in science, there is always a gap between reality and the descriptions of it.

But the multiverse is not metaphysical (notions that cannot be proved or disproved), but quite scientific. It is studied in the fields of quantum cosmology and high energy physics. The normal laws of physics were “unborn” at the birth of this universe, because of the incredible density of energy. Some physicists speculate that compacting a mere ounce of matter could ignite a big bang that would create a universe we could never see.

In the Beginning?

These ancient intuitive ideas are echoed in another scientific creation theory: In the beginning was the Void. Sound waves originated in the first instant of the universe’s life, when the cosmos underwent an extraordinary expansion. No one really knows what drove it, but by stretching the very fabric of space, it magnified a weird subatomic phenomenon – the spontaneous materialization of particles from a complete vacuum. Vacuum fluctuation underlies both cosmology and quantum processes.

Vacuum-spawned particles flickering into existence from the void were energized by the Big Bang to remain in the real world. This sudden influx of countless particles from the vacuum was like throwing a stone into the dense particle pond of the early universe. It sent out ripples. These pressure waves rippling through the gas were nothing more than sound waves. The entire universe rang like a bell.

The particle fog cleared and the universe became transparent. There was no longer enough pressure to support the sound waves. But now photons traveled freely through space, (“Let there be Light”). Before fading forever, those echoes of creation’s thunder left their mark on the cosmic microwave background. These sound waves compressed the particle soup in some regions of the cosmos and rarefied it in others. The resulting temperature patterns show the universe just as it was when the particle fog – and the sound waves – vanished.

The first moments of cosmic history show the ambient energy was so great that the entire universe was in a false vacuum state. The energy of the false vacuum acts as a kind of antigravity, and caused space to balloon at an exponential rate. During inflation the universe was nearly empty, its energy content having been swallowed up into the false vacuum.

Once it decayed to a classical vacuum, its excess energy precipitated like raindrops into the myriad hot particles of the Big Bang. The universe has never stopped inflating and is actually accelerating space and expanding the cosmos faster than we believed likely before 1998.

When scientists look backward in deep time and try to look through the Big Bang, they cannot apply normal rules. Even the bizarre notions of quantum mechanics don’t apply, let alone the mechanistic rules of Newton. Some speculate that our universe came either from a void, or a white hole -- a singularity (Hawking).

Others suggest it is the result of the collision of two bubble universes in a frothing stew of similar self-contained bubbles (Linde). Still others contend it comes from a non-material realm of pure information (Siegfried). Bohm’s implicate order is actually a quantum fuzz or superdense quantum vacuum. We know the Big Bang happened because the universe is still expanding, even accelerating (Goldsmith).

What’s the Matter?

Rumi, the 13th-century Sufi mystic poet said, “The nature of reality is this: It is hidden, and it is hidden, and it is hidden.”

Physical reality is not absolute. Materialism is as dead as communism. Science has tried to find the fundamental building blocks of matter, but has been stymied. It simply depends on the assumptions and theory you use with the level of observation: cosmological, molecular, atomic or subatomic. Now the quark (theoretically point-sized), long thought the smallest unit discernable, is giving way to finer distinctions – a whole new level of the makeup of matter.

In The Quantum Brain, Jeffrey Satinover describes, “a world in which one can comfortably argue the dynamics of interference among multiple universes both forward and backward in time; can ask seriously, as did Feynman and Wheeler, whether every electron in the universe is the same one, just reappearing through multiple loops in time…”

Lee Smolin is not a fan of MWI, but he describes its anomaly: “…only an observer who lived outside the universe who had somehow the same relation to the whole universe that we may have towards some atoms of gas in a container, could observe this quantum state of the universe. . .it is only such an observer who could know all of reality.”

Creation may come from nothingness (ex nihilo), but it doesn’t travel very far from it when closely examined. It only and ever manifests as quantum potentiality, though it appears particle-like. This includes both the so-called organic and inorganic matter. The universe is more like a dream than concrete.

In fact, there is no such thing as solid matter at all, no hordes of tiny particles. All manifestations are reduced to probability waves in quantum mechanics. We have suggested elsewhere (see “Helix to Hologram”, Nexus) that the so-called material world is a projection of a frequency domain, fields within fields, tuned with resonance, light and sound. This holographic concept of reality requires the unperceived information background as its basis. Both particle and field exist only in the implicate order.

Light is even more ephemeral. As Wolf (2000) describes, “When we see light, we really don’t see light at all; we see an effect appearing as a result of light pushing and pulling on the mattter making up our sensory bodies. We see matter moving. Light itself is really out of this world and, as far as I can tell, out of any parallel world we wish to think about.”

The most theories provide is the best explanation. Explanation not prediction is the point of science. We explain the world in terms of embedded hierarchies of substructures and superstructures. Each appears as a thing in itself with specialized functions and dynamics. Physics determines what can be computed, including the information capabilities of matter and energy underlying physical dynamics and deeper sub-quantal levels.

Reality consists of continually diverging and converging waves unfolding from the information level, but that is another story, as is the physics of consciousness. The mind arises from the laws of matter. While some scientists are trying to describe matter as consciousness others are trying to reduce consciousness to matter.

A thought of a thing is not that thing, but it is not nothing either. Our thoughts about the ultimate nature of reality affect that reality at the metaphysical level. As intuitive Jorge Luis Borges said, “Time forks perpetually toward innumerable futures.” All that can happen, must happen.

The outdated notion of our universe is an idea, not a reality. As an idea it has been proven obsolete.



Bearden, Thomas (1988); Excalibur Briefing; San Francisco: Strawberry Hill Press.

Borges, Jorge Luis (1941), “The Garden of the Forking Paths” in The Garden of the Forking Paths.

Deutsch, David (1997); Fabric of Reality; London: Penguin.

Edelman, Gerald M. and Giulio Tononi (2000); A Universe of Consciousness: How Matter Becomes Imagination; New York: Basic Books.

Gell-Mann, Murray (1994); The Quark and the Jaguar; New York: W. H. Freeman and Company.

Goldsmith, Donald (2000); The Runaway Universe; Cambridge, Massachusetts: Perseus Books.

Greene, Brian (1999); The Elegant Universe; New York: W. W. Norton & Company.

Hawking, Stephen (1988); A Brief History of Time; N.Y.: Bantam.

Kaku, Michio (1994); Hyperspace; N.Y.: Anchor/Doubleday.

Kaku, Michio (2003); “Parallel universes, the Matrix, and superintelligence”;, June 26, 2003.

Lemly, Brad (2000); “Why is there life?” Discover, Vol 21, No.11, Nov. 2000.

Miller, Iona (2000); “Exotic Matter and Energy: Surfing the Primordial Gravity Waves”,

Miller, Iona and Miller, R.A. (2001); “As Above; So Below: the Mysteries of Quantum Metaphysics”

Overbye, Dennis (2002); “The universe: Is ours one of many?” New York Times, Oct. 31, 2002.

Pickover, Clifford (19); Surfing through Hyperspace; Oxford University Press.

Rees, Martin (2000); Just Six Numbers; New York: Basic Books.

Rees, Martin (2001); Our Cosmic Habitat; Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.

Satinover, Jeffrey (2001); The Quantum Brain; New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Siegfried, Tom (2000); The Bit and the Pendulum; New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Smolin, Lee (1997); The Life of the Cosmos; London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

Tegmark, Max (2003); “Parallel Universes”, SciAm, Vol. 288, Number 5, May 2003, pp. 40-51.

Thuan, Trinh Xuan (2001); Chaos and Harmony; N.Y.: Oxford University Press.

Wolf, Fred Alan (1988); Parallel Universes, New York: Simon & Schuster.

Wolf, Fred Alan (2000); Mind Into Matter; Portsmouth, New Hampshire: Moment Point Press.

“Taming the Multiverse”; New Scientist, July 26, 2001

“Parallel Universes”; BBC, Feb.14, 2002


According to quantum physics, physical reality consists not just of the universe we see around us but of a much larger structure called the multiverse, which includes, among other things, a large number of objects each of which resembles the universe as described by classical physics. A universe is just a set of quantum systems whose measured attributes are correlated with one another.

"The distinctive assertion of many-minds theories is that the universe perceived by any one mind is not an objectively separate 'layer' of the multiverse. It is merely the view of the multiverse from the perspective of that mind. Other theories of the multiverse assert or assume that the 'layering' structure has some observer-independent basis as well as delimiting what observers can perceive in regions of the multiverse where they are present." (Deutsch)

The difference between the 'many minds' and 'many worlds' interpretation of QM is that the former assumes the layering of the multiverse is determined by the brain, while the latter assumes the layering is determined objectively by the wider reality. Many theoretical arguments in QM, such as Copenhagen, revolve around the first-person point of view.

There is a wealth of evidence that the mental strongly correlates with the physical, but that the physical doesn't entirely capture the mental. The question is why and in what form are we self-intimate and how does that correlate with objective reality...the content and context of consciousness and first-person experience.  Awareness doesn't accompany all forms of existence. Rather 'what is aware exists' not 'whatever exists is aware'.

Our unwillingness to identify the physical and the mental is at heart a descriptive problem. There is a class of objections, based on causality, and another on intentionality. One way out of this impasse is that physical descriptions do not "capture" the mental, but the mental is nonetheless "there". This is a kind of two Language view. It is a departure from the strongest varieties of Physicalism without entertaining any supernaturalism about the mind. (Of course, if in some underlying way the mental is the physical, albeit under a different description, there is no causal problem.The mental story, in terms of intentions and actions, and the physical story in terms of neural firings and muscular twitches are two different descriptions of the same event, so neither the physical nor the mental is squeezed out of the causal picture). Yet the descriptions don't capture the mental.

The ingredients of physical modeling include mapping, isomorphism, abstraction, relation, quantities. But it is almost tautologous that the real world cannot be made of those ingredients alone (particularly that is can't be a mere abstraction). Thus we have candidates for real properties of the world not captured by physics: concreta, intrinsic properties and qualities. Not all qualities need to be had consciously by a being with a mind (human qualia are necessary constituents of full human consciousness, but might not be sufficient constituents). If they are, and they are intrinsic to matter, that suggests panexperientialism. If not, there is an extra factor to conscious experience beyond the nature of experience itself.

An objection that could be raised at this point is that if qualia are intrinsic to the matter of the brain, and we have a direct insight into them, they should give a fine-grained physical picture of the brain. Another is that we are not not conscious of all our mental contents -- most of what is going on in our heads it unconscious. So, there is a "grain" problem -- relating to the amount of detail in the contents of consciousness -- and, relatedly a "level" problem.

Consciousness, communication and mathematics: Consciousness is a problem for all forms of materialism and
physicalism to some extent, but it is possible to discern where the problem is particularly acute. There is no great problem with the idea that matter considered as a bare substrate can have mental properities. Any inability to have mental proeprties would itslef be a property and therefore be inconsistent with the bareness of a bare substrate.

The "subjectity" of conscious states, often treated as "inherent" boils down to a problem of communicating one's qualia -- how one feesl, how things seem. Thus it is not truly inherent but depends on the means of communication being used. Feelings and seemings can be more readily communicated in artistic, poetic language, and least readily in scientifi technical language. Since the harder, more technical a science is, the more mathematical it is, the communication problem is at its most acute in a purely mathematical

Thus the problem with physicalism is not its posit of matter (as a bare substrate) but its other posit, that all properties are phycial. Since physics is mathematical, that amounts to the claim that all properties are mathematical (or at least mathematically describable). In making the transition from a physicalist world-view
to a mathematical one, the concept of a material substrate is abandoned (although it was never a problem for consciousness) and the posit of mathematical properties becomes, which is a problem for consciousness becomes extreme. (Deutsch)

"The distinctive assertion of many-minds theories is that the universe perceived by any one mind is not an objectively separate 'layer' of the multiverse. It is merely the view of the multiverse from the perspective of that mind. Other theories of the multiverse assert or assume that the 'layering' structure has some observer-independent basis as  well as delimiting what observers can perceive in regions of the multiverse where they are present." (Deutsch)

What's New with My Subject?


Could 'bubble' universes threaten human existence? 27 March 2008 by Zeeya Merali

T IS the ultimate neighbour from hell: a rogue "bubble" universe that could rip into our world at any time and eat us and everything else in a flash.

Eduardo Guendelman at Ben Gurion University in Beer-Sheva, Israel and Nobuyuki Sakai at Yamagata University in Japan discovered that our universe might face this gruesome end as they were investigating how patches of space-time expand. Alternatively, our universe could be the one feasting on its neighbours right now.

According to the standard model of cosmology, our universe underwent a phase of rapid expansion known as inflation just after the big bang. In theory, inflation could still be happening to pockets of space-time, blowing them up to create new universes disconnected from ours. However, nobody knows exactly what would trigger this inflation, says Guendelman.

He and Sakai wanted to see if bubbles of space-time could inflate into pocket universes without having to be kick-started by anything as dramatic as a big bang. They found that this is possible, provided the bubbles contain a weird form of repulsive "phantom energy". Some physicists think phantom energy is similar to dark energy, and both are posited to explain the acceleration of the universe's expansion. But phantom energy is much more powerful, and if it really is behind the acceleration, it will create runaway expansion that will eventually rip our universe apart (New Scientist, 8 March 2003, p 14).

Guendelman and Sakai's calculations show that small bubbles of phantom energy would start to "breathe", gently expanding and contracting as the phantom energy inside battles against the bubble's wall, before spontaneously expanding into a full-blown universe. The problem is that the expansion can play out in two ways, depending on the resistance of the wall.

Ideally, the bubble would disconnect from its surroundings, says Guendelman. This "good" pocket universe would look like a black hole from the outside, but inside it would be creating its own space-time - effectively a new universe. In contrast, "rogue" bubbles would expand uncontrollably into the space-time around them, and we probably wouldn't see one before it destroyed us because it would expand at the speed of light. The researchers have submitted their work to Physical Review D (

There are also hints that our universe is itself a rogue bubble. Using some speculative models of the early universe, physicists have calculated that its fundamental physical properties could have fluctuated as its temperature fell - the strength of the gravitational force among them. As that varied, it would have created a similar breathing bubble effect, which is the precursor to rapid expansion, says Guendelman. "But of course, we will never know, because we cannot measure the features at the edge of our universe," he says.

Anthony Aguirre, an expert on bubble universes at the University of California, Santa Cruz, thinks the researchers have found a "neat solution" to explain inflation without the need for a big bang. But he points out that while phantom energy could exist, there is as yet no evidence for it, so we shouldn't get too worried about the prospects of a rogue bubble chomping through our own universe. "There are scenarios where it could happen, but we just have to hope they don't come true."



<> DARK FLOW: Proof of Another Universe? 23 January 2009 by Amanda Gefter

FOR most of us the universe is unimaginably vast. But not for cosmologists. They feel decidedly hemmed in. No matter how big they build their telescopes, they can only see so far before hitting a wall. Approximately 45 billion light years away lies the cosmic horizon, the ultimate barrier because light beyond it has not had time to reach us.

So here we are, stuck inside our patch of universe, wondering what lies beyond and resigned to that fact we may never know. The best we can hope for, through some combination of luck and vigilance, is to spot a crack in the structure of things, a possible window to that hidden place beyond the edge of the universe. Now Sasha Kashlinsky believes he has stumbled upon such a window.

Kashlinsky, a senior staff scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, has been studying how rebellious clusters of galaxies move against the backdrop of expanding space. He and colleagues have clocked galaxy clusters racing at up to 1000 kilometres per second - far faster than our best understanding of cosmology allows. Stranger still, every cluster seems to be rushing toward a small patch of sky between the constellations of Centaurus and Vela.

Kashlinsky and his team claim that their observation represents the first clues to what lies beyond the cosmic horizon. Finding out could tell us how the universe looked immediately after the big bang or if our universe is one of many. Others aren't so sure. One rival interpretation is that it is nothing to do with alien universes but the result of a flaw in one of the cornerstones of cosmology, the idea that the universe should look the same in all directions. That is, if the observations withstand close scrutiny.

All the same colleagues are sitting up and taking notice. "This discovery adds to our pile of puzzles about cosmology," says Laura Mersini-Houghton of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Heaped in that pile is 95 per cent of the universe's contents, including the invisible dark matter that appears to hold the galaxies together, and the mysterious dark energy that is accelerating the universe's expansion. Accordingly, Kashlinsky named this new puzzle the "dark flow".

Kashlinsky measures how fast galaxy clusters up to 5 billion light years away are travelling by looking for signs of their motion in the cosmic microwave background, the heat left over from the big bang. Photons in the CMB generally stream uninterrupted through billions of light years of interstellar space, but when they pass through a galaxy cluster they encounter hot ionised gas in the spaces between the galaxies. Photons scattered by this gas show up as a tiny distortion in the temperature of the CMB, and if the cluster happens to be moving, the distortion will also register a Doppler shift.

In any individual cluster, this shift is far too small to detect, which is why no one had ever bothered looking for it. However, Kashlinsky realised if he combined measurements from a large enough number of clusters, the signal would be amplified to a measurable level.

Kashlinsky and his team collected a catalogue of close to 800 clusters, using telescopes that captured the X-rays emitted by the ionised gas within them. They then looked at the CMB at those locations, using images snapped by NASA's WMAP satellite. What they found shocked them. Galaxy clusters are expected to wander randomly through their particular region of space, because matter is distributed in uneven clumps, creating local gravitational fields that tug on them. Over large scales, however, matter is assumed to be spread evenly, so on these scales the clusters should coast along with space as it expands. What's more, everything in the standard model of cosmology suggests that the universe should look pretty much the same in all directions.

Out of bounds

So what is behind the dark flow? It can't be caused by dark matter, Kashlinsky says, because all the dark matter in the universe wouldn't produce enough gravity. It can't be dark energy, either, because dark energy is spread evenly throughout space. That, leaves only one possible explanation, he concludes: something lurking beyond the cosmic horizon is to blame.

Before the findings were published in October in The Astrophysical Journal Letters (vol 686, p L49), Kashlinsky knew how heretical his idea would seem. "We sat on this for over a year checking everything," he says. "It's not what we expected or even wanted to find, so we were sceptical for a long time. But ultimately it's what's in the data."

No one knows exactly what might lurk over the horizon or indeed how large the cosmos is (see "Just how big is the universe?") But Kashlinsky suspects it is a remnant of the chaotic state that existed just a fraction of a second after the beginning of time, before a phenomenon known as inflation took hold.

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Top 10: Weirdest cosmology theories

12:14 04 September 2006 by Stephen Battersby


1. Clashing branes

2. Evolving universes

3. Superfluid space-time

4. Goldilocks universe

5. Gravity reaches out

6. Cosmic ghost

7. It's a small universe

8. Fast light

9. Sterile neutrinos

10. In the Matrix


1. Clashing branes

Could our universe be a membrane floating in higher dimensional space, repeatedly smashing into a neighbouring universe? According to an offshoot of string theory called braneworld, there are large extra dimensions of space, and while gravity can reach out into them, we are confined to our own "brane" universe with only three dimensions. Neil Turok of Cambridge University in the UK and Paul Steinhardt of Princeton University in New Jersey, US, have worked out how the big bang could have been sparked when our universe clashed violently with another. These clashes repeat, producing a new big bang every now and then - so if the cyclic universe model is right, the cosmos could be immortal.

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2. Evolving universes

When matter is compressed to extreme densities at the centre of a black hole, it might bounce back and create a new baby universe. The laws of physics in the offspring might differ slightly, and at random, from the parent - so universes might evolve, suggests Lee Smolin of the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Canada. Universes that make a lot of black holes have a lot of children, so eventually they come to dominate the population of the multiverse. If we live in a typical universe, then it ought to have physical laws and constants that optimise the production of black holes. It is not yet known whether our universe fits the bill.

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3. Superfluid space-time

One of the most outlandish new theories of cosmology is that space-time is actually a superfluid substance, flowing with zero friction. Then if the universe is rotating, superfluid spacetime would be scattered with vortices, according to physicists Pawel Mazur of the University of South Carolina and George Chapline at Lawrence Livermore lab in California - and those vortices might have seeded structures such as galaxies. Mazur suggests that our universe might have been born in a collapsing star, where the combination of stellar matter and superfluid space could spawn dark energy, the repulsive force that is accelerating the expansion of the universe.

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4. Goldilocks universe

Why does the universe have properties that are "just right" to permit the emergence of life? Tinker with a few physical constants and we would end up with no stars, or no matter, or a universe that lasts only for the blink of an eye. One answer is the anthropic principle: the universe we see has to be hospitable, or we would not be here to observe it. Recently the idea has gained some strength, because the theory of inflation suggests that there may be an infinity of universes out there, and string theory hints that they might have an almost infinite range of different properties and physical laws. But many cosmologists dismiss the anthropic principle as being non-science, because it makes no testable predictions.

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5. Gravity reaches out

Dark matter might not really be "stuff" - it could just be a misleading name for the odd behaviour of gravity. The theory called MOND (modified Newtonian dynamics), suggests that gravity does not fade away as quickly as current theories predict. This stronger gravity can fill the role of dark matter, holding together galaxies and clusters that would otherwise fly apart. A new formulation of MOND, consistent with relativity, has rekindled interest in the idea, although it may not fit the pattern of spots in the cosmic microwave background.

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6. Cosmic ghost

Three mysteries of modern cosmology could be wrapped up in one ghostly presence. After making an adjustment to Einstein's general theory of relativity, a team of physicists found a strange substance popping out of their new theory, the "ghost condensate". It can produce repulsive gravity to drive cosmic inflation in the big bang, while later on it could generate the more sedate acceleration that is ascribed to dark energy. Moreover, if this slippery substance clumps together, it could form dark matter.

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7. It's a small universe

The pattern of spots in the cosmic microwave background has a suspicious deficiency: there are surprisingly few big spots. One possible explanation is that the universe is small - so small that, back when the microwave background was being produced, it just could not hold those big blobs. If so, space would have to wrap around on itself somehow. Possibly the oddest suggestion is that the universe is funnel-shaped, with one narrow end and one flared end like the bell of a trumpet. The bent-back curvature of space in this model would also stretch out any smaller microwave spots from round blobs into the little ellipses that are indeed observed.


8. Fast light

Why do opposite sides of the universe look the same? It's a puzzle because the extremes of today's visible universe should never have been in touch. Even back in the early moments of the big bang, when these areas were much closer together, there wasn't enough time for light - or anything else - to travel from one to another. There was no time for temperature and density to get evened out; and yet they are even. One solution: light used to move much faster. But to make that work could mean a radical overhaul of Einstein's theory of relativity.

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9. Sterile neutrinos

Dark matter might be made of the most elusive particles ever imagined - sterile neutrinos. They are hypothetical heavier cousins of ordinary neutrinos and would interact with other matter only through the force of gravity - making them essentially impossible to detect. But they might have the right properties to be "warm" dark matter, buzzing about at speeds of a few kilometres per second, forming the largish dark matter clumps mapped by recent observations. Sterile neutrinos could also help stars and black holes to form in the early universe, and give the kicks that send neutron stars speeding around our galaxy.

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10. In the Matrix

Maybe our universe isn't real. Philosopher Nick Bostrom has claimed that we are probably living inside a computer simulation. Assuming it ever becomes possible to simulate consciousness, then presumably future civilisations would try it, probably many times over. Most perceived universes would be simulated ones - so chances are we are in one of them. In that case, perhaps all those cosmological oddities such as dark matter and dark energy are simply patches, stuck on to cover up early inconsistencies in our simulation.

 ©2009 Iona Miller is a nonfiction writer for the academic and popular press, hypnotherapist (ACHE) and multimedia artist. She is a participant, not just commentator. Her conspirituality work is an omni-sensory fusion of intelligence, science-art, new physics and emergent paradigm shift, melding many social issues into a new view of society. She is interested in the effects of doctrines from religion, science, psychology, and the arts. Website: