Friday, January 18, 2013

Heisenberg Probably Rules!

The "Infinity Environment,"
an installation art piece by Doug Wheeler on display at the Doug Zwirner Gallery in New
York City.
Quantum mechanics describes the world in terms of probabilities,
rather than definite outcomes.
The Many Worlds interpretation
suggests our own Universe is drifting
among a veritable sea of spontaneously inflating bubbles,
each being a self-contained
and causally separate pocket of higher-dimensional spacetime.
It seems the mathematics of this theory
may suggest
that all possible outcomes of a situation
actually do occur — in their separate universes.

For example, let's say you are a blues musician,
and you are standing at a crossroads
where you can go right or left,
the present universe gives rise to two daughter universes:
one in which you go right, and one in which you go left.
  In each universe, there is a copy of you witnessing one or the other outcome,
thinking — incorrectly — that your reality is the only reality,"

Every universe comprising the multiverse is a discrete timespace bubble
Einstein walks into a bar and says to the bartender,
"I'll take a beer, and a beer for my friend, Heisenberg."
The bartender looks around and asks,
"Is your friend here?"
"Well," says Einstein,
"he is and he isn't."

A Cloud of Probabilities

There are numerous disciplines that suggest a multiversity, or numerous universes.
Scientists can't be sure what the shape of space-time is, but most agree that likely, it's flat (as opposed to spherical, even donut-shape) and stretches out infinitely.
But if space-time goes on forever,
then it must start repeating at some point,
because there are a finite number of ways particles can be arranged in space and time.
So if you look far enough, you would encounter another version of you — in fact, infinite versions of you. Because the observable universe extends only as far as light has had a chance to get in the 13.7 billion years since the Big Bang (that would be 13.7 billion light-years), the space-time beyond that distance can be considered to be its own separate universe. In this way,
a multitude of universes exists next to each other in a giant patchwork quilt of universes.

Physicists at University College London, Imperial College London, and the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics have designed a computer algorithm that actually examines the WMAP [NASA’s Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe satellite] data for these telltale signatures of collisions with other universes. After determining what the WMAP results would look like both with and without cosmic collisions, the team uses the algorithm to determine which scenario fits best with the actual WMAP data. Once the results are in, the team’s algorithm performs a statistical analysis to ensure that any signatures that are detected are in fact due to collisions with other universes, and are unlikely to be due to chance. The results of this ground-breaking project are not yet conclusive enough to determine whether we do actually live in a multiverse or not; however, these scientists remain optimistic about the rigor of their method and they hope to continue this research as the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) is probed more deeply by the Planck satellite, which began its fifth all-sky survey on July 29.

In addition to the multiple universes created by infinitely extending space-time, other universes could also arise from "eternal inflation." Inflation is the notion that the universe expanded rapidly after the Big Bang, in effect inflating like a balloon. Eternal inflation, first proposed by Tufts University cosmologist Alexander Vilenkin, suggests that some pockets of space stop inflating, while other regions continue to inflate, thus giving rise to many isolated "bubble universes."

Our own universe, where inflation has ended, (allowing stars and galaxies to form) is but a small bubble in a vast sea of space, some of which is still inflating, that contains many other bubbles like ours. And in some of these bubble universes, the laws of physics and fundamental constants could be different than in ours, making some universes wacky strange places indeed.
String theorists also suggests we exist in but one membrane universe coexisting in a multitude of membranes.
(See the previous post)

Scientists have debated whether mathematics is simply a useful tool for describing the universe, or whether math itself is the fundamental reality, and our observations of the universe are just imperfect perceptions of its true mathematical nature.
If the latter is true,
then perhaps the particular mathematical structure that makes up our universe isn't the only option, and in fact all possible mathematical structures exist as their own separate universes.

As you can see there are many paths that arrive at multiple universes.
In the realm of probability, it's a good bet.

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