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Parallel universe

By Tatarigami in News
Wed Apr 11, 2001 at 09:23:39 AM EST
Tags: Science (all tags)

Physics researchers at Princeton University have proposed a model of the universe' origins prior to the Big Bang, which suggests that the sum total of all observable matter and energy are the result of a good, hard smack from another universe.

This story is taken from an article on the BBC sci-tech news.

Paul Steinhardt, head of the science team, has an introduction to the ekpyrotic theory on his personal website.

The model is based in 'M-theory', an outgrowth of superstring theory -- the current best contender for the holy grail of physics, a 'theory of everything'. A genuine TOE would explain the relationship between gravity, electromagnetism and the strong and weak nuclear forces, as well as uniting the Newtonian and Einsteinian branches of physics, which both appear to be valid, but require wildly diverging models of the basic structure of the universe.

M-theory states that rather than the usual four dimensions we are all familiar with (three physical and one temporal), there are eleven. Six of these loop themselves into microscopic filaments that don't seem to interact with the others in any measurable way. That's probably a good thing, because I find the Rubic's Cube challenging as is.

It goes on to suggest that our universe and another co-exist without interacting in five-dimensional space like stacked sheets of paper. The Big Bang was triggered when fluctuations in their fifth-dimensional position caused them to move together. When they met the energy of the two colliding universes was transformed into matter and energy. (Current weather conditions in the other universe are not known.)

What interests me is that this isn't the first time I've seen this idea written about. However, the last time was in a children's book written by Isaac Asimov. He called the other universe 'hyperspace' and his characters used it to thumb their noses at the lightspeed limit. With so many other ideas from the science fiction novels I read as a kid coming true, I wonder if we ourselves might be able to blithely zip between the stars someday?

And if you find that idea too upbeat, consider this: if the two universes collided before and generated a fireball in excess of 10,000,000,000 degrees celsius, what's to stop it happening again?


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Related Links
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Parallel universe | 12 comments (11 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
on moving between the stars.. (1.50 / 2) (#1)
by rebelcool on Tue Apr 10, 2001 at 09:52:31 PM EST

i imagine it's far easier than the science fiction predicts. Well, easier relatively. Quantum tricks such as teleportation have already been demonstrated, and with enough time, I imagine one day you'll be able to have a ship jump from any point in the universe to any other instantaneously.

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can you give a link? (none / 0) (#4)
by Greyshade on Wed Apr 11, 2001 at 02:43:02 AM EST

I'm interested in "Quantum tricks like teleportation..." Could you give a link to more info or suggest something for the bookshelf?

[ Parent ]
links links links. (none / 0) (#8)
by rebelcool on Wed Apr 11, 2001 at 11:25:58 AM EST

some general info on the theory here... http://www.research.ibm.com/quantuminfo/teleportation/

a decent writeup here. Do a google search on "teleportation". http://www.howstuffworks.com/teleportation.htm

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[ Parent ]

Practicality of Teleportation (none / 0) (#12)
by Mad Hughagi on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 03:55:46 AM EST

While the concept of transfering information by the non-local nature of space on the quantum-level is accepted, I think a key factor in determining the practicality of this method of teleportation is left out - namely the entangled particles used to transfer the information.

In the experimental form of teleportation we have currently observed, the teleportation is carried out by a pair of entangled photons. Due to the entangled nature of these photons, when one of them is acted upon by some operation, the other one will instantaneously "collapse" into a state which mirrors that of the photon that was operated on. This is due to the non-local nature of our reality on the quantum level. If space was local (cause and effect were limited by the speed of light) then there is no way that the other photon could collapse into the mirror state instantaneously, as observed (I know I've washed over it quick, but it would probably take a bit more space than most people would like to read to fully explain it).

Now, the crux of the matter is the entangled photons. In the lab, you have all the time in the world to wait for the entangled photons to be created, sent to their respective detectors and measured (operated on). You don't think of the photon travelling time as being part of the signal sending time.

So to teleport using this method, you would have to generate entangled photons somewhere in the universe and wait for a portion of them to arrive at your "sending station". Once they got to you, you could start sending the signal. You would also need your recieving station to be set up at the place where the other entangled photon is going to arrive.

The practicality of this method (for space exploration) is fundamentally limited in that you would need to spend at least the time equal to the distance between your sending and recieving station divided by the speed of light(time=distance/velocity) to actually be in a position where you could even begin to start analyzing signals. If you started generating entangled photons at the halfway point, you would get teleportation as soon as you arrived at the recieving station. As you can see, this form of teleportation will still limit our ventures in space to our local dependance on not travelling faster than the speed of light.

Once you did have these stations set up however, you could start instantaneous transmission, so for uses on earth (or within our "physical reach"... ;) this could provide a good means to teleport things (theoretically).

If you're really interested, read this article on quantum philosophy (it's from Sci. Am., 1992, but it's still quite fresh and a good overview):

Quantum Philosophy


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[ Parent ]

Sideways (none / 0) (#10)
by Tatarigami on Wed Apr 11, 2001 at 10:23:16 PM EST

Another thing that interests me is the fact that the theory deals with an entire other universe as a matter of fact. If it's there, can we go there? If there's one other, are there more? Do the conditions which allow matter and energy to exist in this universe also apply there?

The 21st century is shaping up to be everything I hoped it would...

[ Parent ]
Sensationalism of Science in the Popular Media (none / 0) (#11)
by Mad Hughagi on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 03:17:04 AM EST

While it is a good thing that the BBC presents articles on topics like this, I often believe that things get watered down "too" much by the time someone reads the article - often resulting in the sensationalism of complex scientific concepts by the populace as a whole (think of how the word quantum has been twisted).

In this theory the other "universe" is one that exists on the brane-level. I don't think the quote by that professor was intended to imply that there is actually another "material universe" like our own, but rather the concept of a greater physical reality than our material universe which consists of both the visual brane portion (what we observe today as the material universe) and the "bulk brane" portion. While I don't know enough about branes to be certain, I would assume that the bulk brane portion is quite different from our visual portion in a physical sense.

These brane dimensions are supposed to be folded up in such a way that they manifest themselves quite differently on different scales (we only see 3 spatial dimensions for example, while the other brane dimensions lay in a different reality). Since the bulk portion consists of these different branes I would assume (like I said, I don't really know too much about this stuff ;) that they wouldn't manifest themselves to us in quite the same way that our "ordinary" visual branes do.

Anyways, if anyone actually knows what the hell these things are maybe they could explain this better to us.


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[ Parent ]

String theory has been around... (3.00 / 1) (#2)
by jasonab on Tue Apr 10, 2001 at 10:46:32 PM EST

There are several good books on string theory, including Hyperspace and The Elegant Universe. The theory itself has been around for over twenty years, but it hasn't been publicly popular until about five years ago.

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The bookshelf (none / 0) (#3)
by Tatarigami on Wed Apr 11, 2001 at 12:13:49 AM EST

There are several good books on string theory, including Hyperspace and The Elegant Universe.

I have a copy of that second one -- at least in theory. A friend borrowed it before I was finished and moved to another hemisphere.

The book now exists in a quantum state -- it is and is not still in the country, until I start hunting for it.

[ Parent ]
Quantum and Relativity, Not Einstein and Newton (none / 0) (#5)
by MisterBad on Wed Apr 11, 2001 at 04:40:36 AM EST

It's well know that Newtonian physics is a special case of relativity. Same thing with quantum -- Newtonian dynamics is the degenerate macroscopic case of quantum effects, which only are detectable at microscopic magnitude (more or less).

It's like if you had a program in CVS and two people checked it out. One person changed the database functions, and the other person changed the user interface -- each in their local working directories. Both of them work with the code in CVS, but they don't work so well with each other. Seeking the Grand Unified Theory is really an effort to make the two changes work together.

Newtonian and Einsteinian (4.00 / 1) (#7)
by DesiredUsername on Wed Apr 11, 2001 at 08:51:46 AM EST

"A genuine TOE would explain the relationship between gravity, electromagnetism and the strong and weak nuclear forces, as well as uniting the Newtonian and Einsteinian branches of physics."

The first part of this sentence is right, the last part is wrong. Electromagnetism and the nuclear forces already have quantum explanations. Gravity has only Einstein's "geometrical" explanation (curvature of space-time). A TOE would just bring gravity "into the fold" by providing a quantum explanation.

Newtonian physics, rather than being "disunited" as you imply, is just a special case of Einsteinian where velocities don't attain a significant fraction of the speed of light.

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I've seen this elsewhere too -- in a metaphor. (none / 0) (#9)
by Farq Q. Fenderson on Wed Apr 11, 2001 at 12:39:33 PM EST

Read this, and then this.

Not quite the same, semantically, but it's essentially the same idea: nothing scews itself up.

It has the added bonus of being funny.

farq will not be coming back
Parallel universe | 12 comments (11 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
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