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Are there Parallel Universes?

from Through the Wormhole; Our fates could be completely different. One of us could be a descendant of the other. Our meeting could cause both of us to evaporate into pure energy. We could all be living multiple parallel lives, because as scientists explore the outer reaches of physics and the cosmos, they're beginning to believe that parallel universes do exist and that they might determine the fate of humanity. Cosmologist Max Tegmark of M.I.T. believes that this other version of me, and of all of us, really exists. And he believes our cosmic doppelgangers live beyond the edge of the known universe. The best theory we have for what made our Universe predicts that it isn't just really, really big but actually infinite, going on literally forever in all directions. For Max, it's all a matter of statistics. And in an infinite universe, even extremely unlikely occurrences are possible. In the 1920s, astronomer Edwin Hubble observed that our Universe was not sitting still. In every direction he looked, galaxies were flying away from us. The further he looked, the faster these galaxies appeared to move. Hubble concluded this was only possible if the entire Universe was expanding. Another place to look for parallel worlds not in the depths of outer space, but in the microcosmos right under our noses, where nothing, it seems, is solid. Frank Tipler studies the strange laws of quantum mechanics. These laws govern the tiny subatomic particles we are all made of. All of reality is described by quantum mechanics, and the central equation of quantum mechanics is Schrodinger's Equation. Frank believes this quantum fuzziness doesn't just happen in the microscopic domain. Most scientists believe Frank's observation forced nature to make a decision at random. They concluded that when you carry out a measurement, there are possible universes out there which collapse into one real universe. Actually, that is inconsistent with the mathematics of quantum mechanics. Frank believes that every possible outcome does in fact become reality, each in its own parallel universe. In another universe, he ends up with steak. In another, shrimp jambalaya. In fact, we have always known that reality was more than one universe, but physicists would not believe their own equations. If Frank is right, the space that you occupy is filled with a near infinite sea of identical copies of yourself. If something happens to you, the exact opposite could happen to one of your hidden twins. But they may not stay hidden for long. On this silicon chip lies a tiny object that can exist in two realities at once. For the first time, this scientist may have caught sight of a parallel universe. Alternate realities don't have to be light-years away, far across the Universe. They could all be right here. If the strange rules of quantum mechanics are correct, I am really a collection of countless alter egos, all locked in a relentless struggle. This internal war is supposed to be undetected. At any moment, only one ego can become real. The others are completely invisible. Or are they? Physicist Frank Tipler believes quantum mechanics predicts there are countless versions of ourselves living in parallel universes. And like many of us, he sometimes daydreams of an alter ego. It's time for another trip around the cosmos with fearless Frank, astrophysicist and cosmic adventurenaut! This week, Frank discovers a portal to a quantum parallel universe! This Frank Tipler believes our Universe, like a cartoon, tricks us into thinking it's the only reality. From the top down, a cartoon appears to be a single object. But a cartoon is made up of cells. We can use one transparency to represent one universe, but in reality, there are four more universes out there, superimposed on each other. An unobserved object will be in many places at once. According to Frank, each one is destined to become reality in its own separate parallel universe. When we make a measurement, each one of the Frank Tiplers would be united with a particular result. In one universe, the objects can only be seen in one place. From our perspective, it appears the act of observation destroys all other possibilities. But appearances can be deceptive. We shouldn't think of the possibilities just as possibilities. The other realities do not cease to exist just because I have picked one in my own hand. They still remain. They still exist. If we could see every universe at once, a countless number of Frank Tiplers will make the same measurement at the same time. And each Frank will see the object in a slightly different place. These tiny nuances can, over time, amplify, resulting in parallel worlds with diverging fates. Andrew's groundbreaking experiment proves that the strange laws of quantum mechanics govern everything in our Universe, from tiny particles to gargantuan galaxies. No matter the size, any object can be in many places at once. I thought people within the physics community would notice it and would give it some applause, as it were, but I really didn't expect that it would break outside of the small community that I'm used to dealing with. So that was quite a surprise. There's a number of different interpretations that have been generated to try to explain this. One of them is the many-worlds interpretation, or parallel universes. But in the end, those are not predictive. And because it's not predictive, it's not something we can test. So that leaves it open for people to choose whichever interpretation they prefer. If there are quantum parallel universes, Andrew's experiment could be the first step toward unlocking their secrets. But there's another type of parallel world that nearly all scientists are convinced should exist. It's made of antimatter. The frightening reality is that the Big Bang should have created antimatter and matter in equal amounts. In other words, out there, there should be an antimatter twin to our Universe with the power to annihilate all creation. There's just one problem. This deadly antimatter universe has gone missing. Joanne Hewett is a theoretical physicist at the Stanford Linear Accelerator in California. She's a detective on the trail of this missing parallel universe. With the help of sophisticated instruments, Joanne and her team discovered a tiny difference between the B and the Anti-B. This tiny imbalance between matter and antimatter could make a big difference to what happened after the Big Bang. In fact, it could make a whole universe of difference. The AMS will look for the cosmic rays created billions of years ago from matter and antimatter annihilating in the wake of the Big Bang. Perhaps they will lead us to the remnants of that primordial sea of antimatter, if it's out there. The antimatter universe is not the only strange domain that may be lurking on the fringes of our cosmos. We could be surrounded by all manner of parallel universes. Learning where and what they are is not just a theoretical game. The fate of our entire Universe depends on it. Why do we care if another version of you and me exists? We're never going to meet them face-to-face. But these alter egos are important. Because they are the key to answering the biggest questions of existence how was the Universe born and how will it end? Cosmologist Andrei Linde believes he's made a shocking discovery. The force that created the cosmos should have created countless other parallel universes. And that same force would also cause the demise of everything we know. This discovery began with a simple, seemingly innocuous question. Why does the Universe look the same in every direction that we look? It was necessary to come with a different kind of story. And that was the inflationary theory. Inflation is a process Andrei knows very well, and not just as a force that blows up the Universe. According to Andrei's theory, when the Universe was the size of this sugar cube, it must have been a chaotic lump of energy, each microscopic part a fundamentally different place from another, like a technicolor patchwork. Our Universe is uniform. We've solved all our problems. But inflation may not solve all of our problems. Because once it gets going, inflation, like Andrei's addiction to blow-up photography, never stops. The Universe, it seems, is constantly growing larger and larger forever. But according to Andrei, inflation must also come back to visit our already expanded Universe. It zeros in on a tiny fraction of it and blows it up into a new universe. So, what will happen there will be a bubble formed of a new phase. If Andrei is correct, our Universe is inherently unstable. Across the continent, a former colleague thinks Andrei has got it wrong. Paul Steinhardt is the Albert Einstein professor in science at Princeton University, a title that only two scientists have ever earned. Paul is scrapping decades of work on inflation for a new theory, one that claims there is a hidden fourth dimension of space. And across that dimension lies a parallel universe. Our three-dimensional world can be viewed as a membrane-like surface embedded in space with an extra fourth spacial dimension. In Paul's model, everything in our Universe lives on


In this Universe, Frank eats veal
In this Universe, Frank eats veal



A giant particle detector called the AMS
In May 2011, the space shuttle Endeavour delivered a giant particle detector called the AMS



A glimpse of a parallel universe inside small square of silicon
A glimpse of a parallel universe inside small square of silicon



The two brane world
The two brane world
  a flexible three-dimensional membrane, or brane world. The other brane world, even though it's incredibly close to us, is a separate universe that does not interact with us. Paul believes that this alien universe is still less than an atom's length away. The matter that's on the other brane world, which from our vantage point appears to be a kind of dark matter, doesn't interact with the light on our side. Could dark matter actually be matter in a parallel world? Paul thinks we may find the truth at the bottom of a black hole, a vast sink hole in space where gravity is so intense, nothing can escape it. Decoding the riddle of dark matter is one of the biggest challenges in physics today. Thousands of brilliant minds and hundreds of telescopes are trained on it. Paul believes that when they finally learn what dark matter is, they will actually discover that it exists in another universe. Do black holes connect us to a parallel world? This scientist may already have the answer, and if his new theory is correct, we could be on the verge of making contact with a parallel universe. Physicist Nikodem Poplawski is convinced that our Universe rests at the bottom of a black hole in a parallel world. And he's trying to discover whether beings in that parallel world might have a way to communicate with us. Could our cosmic parents be sending us messages? Nikodem thinks we may already have detected evidence that they are. For decades, astronomers have picked up powerful bursts of energy coming from the farthest reaches of the cosmos. Gamma-ray bursts are the most luminous explosions that we observe in our Universe besides the Big Bang.     And we still do not understand well the mechanism that causes them. We see them coming from far, far away. They may be indications of matter coming from the parent universe to our Universe. Could these pulses of energy actually be a form of Morse Code from inhabitants of another universe, a message of profound cosmic wisdom based on billions of years of experience before our Universe was even born? Nikodem's theory is still young, and the math is intimidating. He could be wrong. But in his struggle to wrench parallel universes from the realm of fantasy to one of serious scientific possibility, he is far from alone. Once you consider the full multiverse point of view, you see a much broader picture of reality. Whenever two different things happen, you would just be aware of one of them. You would think mistakenly that the other outcome didn't happen, but in fact, the other copy of you would feel just the other way around. We start discussing things which previously belonged to realm of science fiction. We are right now thinking about this very seriously, and maybe eventually we will find some answers. The word "Universe" is supposed to mean everything that exists. Today, we're almost certain that our Universe is not all there is. There really could be parallel Earths, parallel you's, and parallel me's. It's hard not to wonder what our alter egos might be like, whether they are living out our most cherished dreams. But don't forget this possibility you could already be living the dream of another you from a parallel universe.
List with pictures of the scientists, in order of their appearance in Through the Wormhole Are there Parallel Universes? documentary, who share us their knowledges:
Max Tegmark
Max Tegmark (physicist, M.I.T.)
  Frank Tipler
Frank Tipler (physicist, quantum mechanics)
  Andrew Cleland
Andrew Cleland (experimental physicist)
  Joanne Hewett
Joanne Hewett (Stanford Linear Accelerator)
  Andrei Linde
Andrei Linde (cosmologist, inflationary theory)
  Paul Steinhardt
Paul Steinhardt (Albert Einstein professor in science at Princeton University)
  Nikodem Poplawski
Nikodem Poplawski (physicist)