Top Story: April 12, 2010

A Universe Inside a Universe?

624px-LorentzianWormhole

If the size of the universe blows your mind, just wait. What if our universe is just a small part of another universe? What if, in fact, there’s a multiverse and the multiverse is like a huge chunk of swiss cheese and our universe is just one of the holes? Is there smoke coming out of your ears now?

(The swiss cheese analogy is courtesy of Brian Greene from a Radiolab episode from 2008. Go ahead, let your mind be further blown and listen to the whole thing.)

In today’s edition of Physics Letters B, theoretical physicist Nikodem Poplawski of Indiana University suggests that our universe could be located within the interior of a wormhole which itself is part of a black hole that lies within a much larger universe.

Huh?

A wormhole is a shortcut through spacetime (and also what Jodie Foster travels through near the end of the movie Contact). So Universe Today puts it this way, “A wormhole is a hypothetical ‘tunnel’ connecting two different points in spacetime, and in theory, at each end of the wormhole there could be two universes.”

One headline about this research compares these universes to Russian nesting dolls. The paper suggests that all black holes may have wormholes, each with a new universe inside that formed simultaneously with the black hole. According to Poplawski, “From that it follows that our universe could have itself formed from inside a black hole existing inside another universe.”

Got it?

It’s very a cool, mind-blowing theory. And the trick with any multiverse theory, according to a great New Scientist article last month, is that while it may be probable, it is essentially untestable. Unless you pull a Jodie Foster and travel through the wormhole yourself. Bon voyage.

Creative Commons image by AllenMcC

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