The idea of parallel universes may seem bizarre, but physics has found all sorts of reasons why they should exist
By: Philip Ball
Published: 21 March 2016, http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20160318-why-there-might-be-many-more-universes-besides-our-own
Level of difficulty: ***
BEFORE YOU READ
Watch the following videos, make notes and think about them
· Why there could be many identical copies of you http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20161021-why-there-could-be-many-copies-of-you
· Multiverse Theory by Dr Michio Kaku https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZiROWO6iVs
1. The idea of multiverses has ceased to be science fiction thanks to…..
2. Giordano Bruno based his view that the universe might be infinite on… (Use your own words)
3. Why are Edmund Fournier d’Albe’s views of the universe described as “Russian doll multiverses”? Because his theory involves….
4. Read the section titled “The Patchwork Universe” to the end and answer the following questions:
a. Why can’t we see the different sections in the universe?
b. This will not always be the case because
c. We understand from the text that acc to the laws of probability the chances of there being a world exactly like ours is high / quite high / low / nil
d. What does the phrase “this is not the case” in the sentence “It is possible that this is not the case at all” refer to.
e. Why is it unlikely that other universes are empty?
5. Read the section titled “The Inflationary Multiverse” to the end and answer the following questions
a. The perceived uniformity of the universe is due to the fact that…
b. What is the origin of the radiation that fills the universe?
c. We understand that this theory has a concrete scientific basis from the fact that…
d. The chances of our accessing the bubble universes is……… because…..
e. The verification of the theory of eternal inflation may have an important bonus. What is it?
f. What problem in current string theory would the above finding address? The need to select…
g. What does “This” refer to in the phrase “This is just what is needed to make stars possible” Be careful; this is tricky!
h. Does the multiverse theory make God unnecessary? Why?
6. Read the section titled “Cosmic Natural Selection” to the end and answer the following questions:
a. Cosmological natural selection makes it unnecessary to wonder why all universes might be the same / why all universes might be different / why our universe is the way it is / why our universe could be different. Mark as many as necessary.
b. What important conclusion can be drawn from Smolin’s theory?
c. What does “This” refer to in the phrase “This is like random genetic mutations…”?
d. What principle is at the root of Smolin’s theory involving baby universes reproducing continuously?
e. What is the major argument against Smolin’s theory?
7. Read the section titled “The Brane Multiverse” to the end and answer the following questions:
a. The idea of hidden dimensions was prompted by…….
b. What does “That” refer to in the phrase “that looked promising” ?
c. The example of the garden hose is provided to support the contention that...
d. Everett’s theory implies that there are many worlds / the number of worlds is increasing all the time / quantum measurements determine the number of worlds / wave function collapse can’t be avoided. Mark the odd man out
Watch the following 2 minute presentation before you continue: String Theory in less than two minutes
e. String Theory is premised on the idea that ….
f. The example of the stack of papers is provided to explain how…
g. The Big Bang could be explained by …..
h. There are two explanations for the fact that gravity is weaker than other fundamental forces. They are:
8. Read the section titled “The Quantum Multiverse” to the end and watch the following video: What Is the Wave Function? - Instant Egghead #50 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aowYf44gDRY. Then answer the following questions
a. What human limitation needs to be accepted in the case of the quantum universe?
b. Why do wave functions collapse? Be precise
c. The example concerning measuring the path of an electron proves that …
d. What disturbing conclusion can be drawn from the explanation of quantum theory thus far as regards humanity:
There are multiple copies of you/ You have body doubles/You are becoming a distinct being/ Your body doubles are increasing in number every minute/You have vanished /There is no such thing as individuality
9. Read the section titled “Testing the Multiverse” to the end and answer the questions.
a. Why are multiverse theories termed “theories? Explain.
b. Mark True / False: the multiverse theories don’t need to be tested/ the validity of multiverse theories can be deduced/ Multiverse theories can be tested indirectly/The inflationary theory of the Big Bang could show that multiverses exist / The multiverse theories are pure speculation .
First Alternative: Which multiverse theory is more probable in your view? Explain.
Second alternative: Write a response essay detailing your reactions to the multiverse theory
WHY THERE MIGHT BE MANY MORE UNIVERSES LIKE OUR OWN? KEY AND TEACHERS’ NOTES
The idea of multiverses, which part physics and part metaphysics, is a very controversial one and has enough of a wow factor to be interesting. The text is divided into sections so it can be done in class. The class could be divided into groups and each group could focus on one theory and present it to the class. This would be beneficial as it would kill multiple birds with one stone.
1. (Different aspects of) the laws of physics
2. Possible answer: The views of Copernicus and Galileo
3. Because his theory involves nested universes at different scales
4. a. Because they are too far away for light to have crossed the distance; b. Because eventually light will cross the divide and the universes will merge; c. Low d. Maybe the universe isn’t infinite at all e. There is no sign so far that matter gets sparser the further away we look
5. a. Inflation blew up the fireball to a cosmic scale before it had a chance to get too clumpy; b. Tiny chance variations which also got blown up by inflation; c. Several satellite telescopes have mapped out these variations in fine detail, compared them to current evolutionary theory and found that the match is unbelievably good; d. They are receding too fast for us to ever catch up; e. Physicists could discover the theory of everything; f. Select from among the huge number of distinct solutions (each with its own…) ; g. The balance between gravity which pulls matter towards itself and so called dark energy which does the opposite; h. No because God could have set things up this way.
6. a. The second and the third; b. Our universe may not be the product of pure chance; c. The fact that the new universe might have slightly different …; d. Cosmic natural selection; e. The fact that our universe is especially suited to making black holes
7. a. The fourth dimension that Einstein allegedly invoked; OR Einstein’s theory of relativity; b. The fact that by adding an extra equation to the equations of Einstein’s theory of relativity, one / it was possible to obtain an extra equation that seemed to predict the existence of light; c. A dimension could be curled; Have you watched the video? d. Fundamental particles are the vibrations of smaller entities called strings; e. A multiverse of branes of various dimensions co exist; f. Brane’s colliding; g. The fact that gravity might leak and the fact that a brane could concentrate gravity and so look weak in a second brane nearby
8. a. We only see one of the realities of wave function, b. An observation / measuring forces the object to “choose” one particular state; c. To build an entire parallel universe; d. Wave function collapse cannot be avoided; d. There is no such thing as individuality
9. a. Because an alternative universe is separate from our own and out of reach, it cannot be tested; b. T, T, T, F, F