Big Bangs Before The Big Bang?: Testing the Multiverse Hypothesis

Over at Physorg.com, a science news website, there is an article on how scientists are trying to bring pre-Big Bang speculation into the realm of the empirical.

For example, one of the theories that has been bandied about by scientists is that our universe was birthed out of an already existing universe, perhaps spewing us forth from a black hole.

The new Large Hadron Collider, built in Europe, may help scientists keep that idea alive—or put it to rest:

[Scientists] say that no scientific theory can be considered valid until it’s been tested.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that multiverse models grounded in modern physics can be empirically testable,” Max Tegmark, a theoretical physicist at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, wrote in “Parallel Universes,” a chapter in the 2003 book “Science and Ultimate Reality.”

Some researchers hope that the Large Hadron Collider will provide evidence to support or refute these conjectures. They say the particle smasher might discover extra dimensions, beyond our familiar three spatial dimensions plus time. More dimensions are the basis of several pre-big-bang theories.

Michio Kaku, a professor of theoretical physics at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, proposes that gravity, unlike light and matter, could travel between parallel universes and cast a “shadow” that scientists might be able to detect.

The shadow might take the form of “gravitational waves,” faint ripples in the fabric of space and time caused by violent explosions such as the big bang. Detectors in the United States and Europe are seeking such waves, and in the future satellites will watch for evidence of them in space.

Turok says his cyclic theory predicts a “distinctive pattern of gravitational waves that is very different from the one expected in the big-bang theory … and may prove or disprove our theory within the next few years.”

Last August, ground and satellite observations revealed what appeared to be an enormous “hole in the universe,” a mostly empty region of the sky, 900 million light-years wide – about 5 billion trillion miles – in the constellation Eridanus. Mersini-Houghton, a believer in multiple universes, interpreted the empty spot as the “footprint” of the gravitational tug of another, smaller universe parked at the edge of our own.

“It’s like someone took a giant scoop and scooped all the matter away,” she told the Columbia cosmology conference. “All these universes are interacting with each other.”

Mersini-Houghton’s interpretation of the “hole” is controversial and so far lacks independent confirmation.

Wouldn’t it be nice if everybody held their ideas up to critical scrutiny, and sought out evidence to support their theories, as these scientists are doing?

And as these good scientists are doing in this Monty Python skit?

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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1 Response to Big Bangs Before The Big Bang?: Testing the Multiverse Hypothesis

  1. Pingback: Cant have it both ways - Page 7 - Religious Education Forum

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