Thoughts & Insights

If I had to bet …

...I would currently bet on the multiverse, said Steven Weinberg, professor of theoretical physics at Texas State University in Austin and winner of the Nobel Prize in 1979 for his groundbreaking work in the development of quantum mechanics, who passed away in July 2021. 

I’ll take his bet.

When it came to astrophysics, for a long time everything revolved around the earth – until Copernicus and Galileo radically ended this geocentric self-absorption. Since then, it has become clear that not everything revolves around the earth, but rather that the earth – like countless other planets and moons – moves in orbits around our central star, the sun.

In the meantime, our human consciousness has processed all of this to some extent, and at the same time opened up new possibilities for discovery and exploration. What lies ahead for the moon, Mars and Venus, can already be guessed. And with their evermore exact calculations and thanks to the use of continually high-quality space probes and telescopes, astrophysics and astronomy have calculated – on the basis of mathematics – an unabated exact picture of what is outside our solar system. Even also including what is outside our home galaxy, the Milky Way, along with dark matter and black holes. The images and findings now reach far back to the birth of our universe, some 13.7 billion years ago.

Today we assume that there are other habitable planets on which extraterrestrial life is possible, that there could even be extraterrestrial intelligence in space – one or possibly even several other species, in addition to the artificial intelligence that we are currently creating on this planet and whose development deeply worries many people. After all, we have been the only ones of our kind on this planet for tens of thousands of years; how long that will be the case seems only a matter of time. Human evolution has taken this path, and now we have to see how we get along with our intelligence, which has created another artificial intelligence . Exciting times.

However, there is one thing we have been able to rely on so far: The uniqueness of our universe. Even though we know that this universe is expanding continuously and at an ever-increasing rate, moving into a growing entropy, it is still something like the fixed reference point for everything connected with our existence on earth.

But the possibility that our universe is only one among many is becoming more and more of a focal point of the sciences involved in the exploration of this very universe. In particular, the study of dark matter, string theory and quantum mechanics, are leading the way. Some consider this idea nonsense; because they do not (yet) see a scientific explanation.

But the already mentioned expansion of our universe after the so-called big bang, also called “inflation”, does not end specifically at the same time. Where the expansion does not end, further big bangs could take place, from which new universes arise. This would be a so-called “eternal inflation”, and a multiverse would be its logical conclusion – an expanding ocean of multiplying universes. Each of these universes could evolve and be different from ours, but any one of them could possibly be the same as ours – as it is said that duplicates are inevitable in the cosmos.

The idea of a multiverse is comparable to the Copernican revolution; it means the end of our previous conception of the cosmos. At the same time, it opens up a view into worlds of which we could, at best, only dream of. Taking into account all of this – even though the new findings of quantum mechanics have not even been mentioned yet – something is heading our way.

More Project