Since the discoveries of the new physics, the question of the existence of parallel universes--worlds which exist side-by-side along with our own--has taken on renewed interest well beyond mere speculation.
Today, probably more than in any other day, we are facing a revolution in our thinking about the physical universe--the stuff that you and I are made of. This revolution, brought to a head by the discoveries of the new physics, including relativity and quantum mechanics, appears to reach well beyond our preconceived vision, based as it was on the concept of concrete solid reality. The new physics points in a new and more abstract direction- -a direction indicating the need to unify our picture of the world.
The major problem in science today is unification--bringing together a wide disparity of ideas and concepts ranging from the tiniest subatomic matter to the grandest galaxy. Today our knowledge covers a vast spectrum of ideas. And in our attempts to unify those ideas we have discovered great gaps. The science-fiction-like idea that our universe is not alone-- that there exists in some mysterious manner alongside of ours (and this needs some explaining), other universes--is the latest concept brought forward by the new physicists in their attempt to unify our knowledge. Without the existence of these other worlds, these gaps of knowledge brought into light by the discoveries of the new physics would remain unbridgeable--incapable of being solved by previous thinking.
When pre-modern scientific thought about the universe first began with the thinking of such giants as Kepler, Galileo, Copernicus, and Newton, the universe was imagined to be a gigantic clockwork with each hand of that clock tipped with a spot marking each planet circling in the heavens around the sun.
Light traveled at infinite or near infinite speed making every conscious event back here on terra firma always and forever eternally now throughout the infinite universe. Five o'clock in Manhattan was also five o'clock on Saturn and on the nearest star. While durations were measurable with clocks, time, itself, was eternal and unmeasurable. It was infinite and unimaginable. At that time no one could imagine that time here and time there could have any other relation to each other than the solitary moment of now.
And the universe was imagined to be infinite in all directions. There simply was no measure for it. There was no end to space and to try to think about infinite space was hopeless, a game for fools and poets.
Matter played its game of following exact rules of inertia and movement called equations of motion and nothing in principle was undetermined or for that matter, left for the imagination. All the universe was a giant machine ticking off throughout all eternity and occupying every corner of an infinite space. Such was our thinking prior to 1900 AD.
With the twentieth century, ideas of Einstein and the revolution of scientific thinking brought forward by the theories of relativity, much of pre-modern thinking was changed. Some of the gaps were closed. Space was not as infinite as we had previously thought. It didn't necessarily extend on forever, infinite in all directions. Neither was time as inscrutable as thought earlier. Instead time and space joined together and the two together became a new concept called spacetime. Events were not eternally now. A pair of spatially separated simultaneous events for one observer, became past and future events for another observer simply passing by through space and in time relative to the first.
Matter was also thought of in a new light. It was produced by the universe itself as a knot in the fabric of spacetime. It bent space and it curved time. Naturally this changed our vision of the universe's eternality and made it possible to envision just how the universe could have begun. The finite speed of light and the concept of spacetime made it possible to question just what could have occurred when time itself was now imagined to begin and all space in the universe itself was imagined to be smaller than the period at the end of this sentence.
However, even with relativity theory, gaps in or knowledge concerning matter and spacetime still exist. Our present models of the beginning of time called cosmological theories still carry a Newtonian mechanical tinge. They still ring of clockworks and questions about what happened before the big bang--the so-called beginning of everything--paradoxically ring in our heads. And the present models still are grappling with how to bring quantum physics into the beginning of space, time, and matter.
With the discovery of quantum physics--the physics that governs the behavior of atomic and sub-atomic matter--more gaps in our knowledge were filled. Matter was seen in a very different light. Its properties depended on how it was observed. Thus the actions of observation play a role in the atomic world that was completely unsuspected by the pre-modern scientists. That role is now suspected to even affect macroscopic matter in subtle ways that could change cosmology and indeed our concept of just what a universe is.
The major problem of bringing together quantum physics and relativity is still with us today. We don't know how to do it. We do know that whatever theory that manages it will be quite bizarre for those who still wish a clockwork universe. In this book we will explore one the most bizarre and promising theories to come from the minds and imaginations of today's physicists; that there must be other universes beside our own.
Parallel universes theory was invented by physicists in the hectic period of the 1950's and 1960's. It appeared as a new way to make concrete and rational some of the bizarre findings of quantum physics and general relativity. These findings aren't comprehensible without a new vision of reality. Instead they appear as problems. Nothing in our previous thinking about the physical world will make these problems go away.
In other words, the existence of parallel universes resolves some old and not too easily solvable paradoxes. However, as you will see soon enough, it introduces a very new and apparently paradoxical way of thinking. In essence, parallel universe theory posits the existence of worlds within our technologically-extended senses, that must connect or relate with our own.
What is a parallel universe? Like an everyday universe it is a region of space and time containing matter, galaxies, stars, planets and living beings. In other words, a parallel universe is similar and possibly even a duplicate of our own universe. Not only in a parallel universe must there be other human beings, but these may be human beings who are exact duplicates of ourselves and who are connected to ourselves through mechanisms only explainable using quantum physics concepts.
To see why scientists are now considering parallel universes seriously as a solution to problems in the wide spectrum of thought including modern physics and cosmology we need to consider some new and exciting ideas. Hope of reconciling the ideas contained within this broad spectrum of human knowledge resides in the existence of these other universes--universes that exist side-by-side with our own and even perhaps occupying the same space as our own in some ghostly manner.
This spectrum includes:
PARALLEL UNIVERSES AND COMMUNICATION WITH THE FUTURE
The fact that the future may play a role in the present is a new prediction of the mathematical laws of quantum physics. If interpreted literally, the mathematical formulas not only indicate how the future enters our present, but also how our minds may be able to "sense" the presence of parallel universes.
Are we pressing the mathematical laws of physics too far?
"As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and so far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality,"
wrote Albert Einstein. Einstein was undoubtedly referring to the mathematical laws of quantum physics in that these laws only describe possibilities of reality but never reality itself. Can mathematics describe reality? I believe that the answer is yes, provided we take the new view given us by parallel universes theory. The laboratory of parallel universe experimentation may not lie in a mechanical time machine--ala Jules Verne-- but could exist between our ears.
If the parallel universes of relativity are the same as those of quantum theory the possibility exists that parallel universes may be extremely close to us, perhaps only atomic dimensions away but perhaps in a higher dimension of space-- an extension into what physicists call superspace. Modern neuroscience through the study of altered states of awareness, schizophrenia, and lucid dreaming could be indications of the closeness of parallel worlds to our own.
It is in the hope that these radically new and, I believe quite exciting ideas, will turn out to be evidence of truth, that I have written parallel universes: worlds within our present senses.
Whom would you like to clone?" was the theme of the recent survey conducted in the US and Great Britain. The most popular candidate turned out to be Albert Einstein, with Jesus Christ and Elvis Presley legging behind. Surprisingly enough, the famous physicist who created the theory of relativity to the fascination yet misunderstanding of the others was wrong. The only way to rescue poor Einstein is to agree that our world has more than three dimensions we are accustom
Only housewives believe in three-dimensional space. None of the serious scientists would dare support such a stupid idea. However, the number of extra dimensions is still the object of heated discussions. Nature published an article by the Oxford professor Joseph Silk, where he makes a conclusion that there are six dimensions in the universe, i.e. three dimensions which we can sense and another three that we do not notice. For all its fantastic nature the theory of professor Silk turns out the least traumatic for a human mind and the easiest to grasp. The paradoxical theory of super cords that is growing in popularity suggests the existence of additional eight dimensions.
No matter how many extra dimensions there are, the fact that they exist is deduced from the strange behavior of the dark matter. These are particles of unknown nature that are still to be discovered but have been already predicted. They constitute 25 percent of our universe. 70 percent of the universe is formed by the so-called dark energy with positive density and negative pressure. Only three to five percent of the universe is the matter of protons, electrons and neutrons that is accessible to us. The mysterious dark matter that consists of particles heavier than proton is invisible to us. It gives itself away when affected by gravitation.
A group of scientists from Oxford analyzed the behavior of the dark matter in small galaxies and massive galaxy accumulations. They discovered that the dark matter draws substance in smaller objects, which does not happen in large objects for some reason, although the dark matter should exist there in large quantities according to the analysis of objects' spinning.
Professor Silk assumes that at a distance of about a nanometer three additional space dimensions distort gravitational effects and influence the interaction between the dark matter and other substance. However, in large galaxy groups particles of the dark matter move at a higher speed than those in dwarf galaxies. They are also farther from each other, which makes the effect of additional three dimensions insignificant.
As far as the theory of super cords is concerned it relieves the theory of relativity of several contradictions, which Einstein himself acknowledged but could not solve the problem though. The theory of super cords predicts the existence of new particle – graviton – that is similar to light photon and helps to understand the mechanism of gravitation influence. To this day nobody has succeeded in measuring speed at which gravity works.
The speed of electromagnetic coupling can be calculated unlike that of gravitation. According to Isaac Newton if the Sun suddenly disappeared from the Solar system, the Earth would become free of gravitation at once and rush into space. Einstein's theory says that if the speed of light equaled the speed of gravitation the Earth would stay in orbit for 500 seconds, which are needed for light and gravitation to cover the distance between the Sun and the Earth.
The Universe with gravitons has more dimensions than the ordinary world. But these eight new dimensions are a hard nut to crack. Peeping from our three-dimensional world we cannot see what is happening in the bright 11-dimensional world. Nevertheless, gravitation and gravity work directly through these additional dimensions.
For peace of mind, it must be said that these additional dimensions are tiny. Thus, only two or three of them may have sizes suitable for us.
by Fred Alan Wolf
(Simon and Schuster)
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