New concepts and theories of
Cosmology postulate multiple universes and multiple dimensions that give
the universe its structure. However, the concept of a Multiverse
is not new. Ancient Sanskrit and Chinese texts discuss the Multiverse.
“According to Vedic
Cosmology, there are countless universes, which are clustered
together like foam on the surface of the Causal Ocean. The universes
are separated from each other by the shell that envelopes each
universe. Although the universes are clustered together,
interactions between the universes are impossible. Each universe is
completely protected by an enormous shell. Thus, each universe has a
boundary. The universe is ball shaped and surrounded by an
This shell is composed
of primeval material elements in their most subtle manifestation.
The shell consists of eight spherical layers in which each
successive material element is manifested and stored. If we
penetrate the universal shell consisting of these eight spherical
layers, we will enter the universal globe and find a hollow region
containing all the inhabited planets. “ (1)
The newest theory in physics
is string, superstring, and M-theory. The new
theories use extra dimensions of space beyond the three we are familiar
with, but the 6 extra dimensions are not observable as they are
compactified to such small dimensions, curled up in a tiny space less
than the Planck length.
However, M-theory, an
integration of string theories and beyond postulates extra extended
dimensions like our familiar universe. The branes that compose a
universe may come in multiples and interact with each other according to
some theorists. It is even possible that these branes are spherical and
compose shells as pictured in ancient Vedic Cosmology.
These strings can vibrate with different frequencies, and in so
doing they create different types of particles. That's comparable to
plucking a guitar to generate different notes. When physicists play the
music of the cosmos, the faster a string vibrates, the more massive, or
energetic, the particle created.
Whether M-theory will turn out as a unified theory will
probably depend on the accuracies of its predictions and whether the
theory is internally consistent and a reflection of physical processes.
The idea of matter frequencies is not new and may give us some insight
on another way to view the existence of multiple universes.
“Time is God's way
of keeping everything from happening at once “
Time is an elusive
concept. We speak of the past, present, and future. Our memories
confirm the existence of a past world, and our imaginations envision
the future. The present is ever fleeting and cannot be caught. We
know time subjectively and we measure its passage by the ticking
clock, but what is time?
Time seems to be the persistence of space, energy, and matter. We
measure this persistence by periodic motions. Any particle or planet
that has a regular periodic motion can serve as a clock for the
measuring of time. We consider the diurnal rotation of the earth as
marking a day and we have arbitrarily divided the day into 24 hours.
We know that the rate of time changes with velocity according to the
Special Theory of Relativity and at extremely high velocities
we can determine the dilation of a second of time using the
relativistic equation. The Time Dilation equation for Relativity
In the relativistic
equations time is a fourth dimension. Could there be another
dimension to time? Some physicists think so, but this leads to
If we look at how we use time in physics, in units of seconds as
determined by the vibration of atoms, then we are treating the
vibration as a constant with a fixed period. What if there is a
fundamental vibration? A string in M-theory has different
modes and frequencies of vibration. Whether a string or ring, these
vibrations can determine the character of fundamental physical
particles. What if there were vibrations out of phase with our
universe? Would they be detected? Could a time frequency define a
Other than an extra extended spatial dimension for another universe,
the possibility of frequency universes may also be a hypothesis that
could ultimately be tested and allow for communication between
One of the fundamental frequencies that can be attributed to
sub-atomic particles is spin frequency. If we combine the energy of
a photon and the energy of mass we could derive a spin frequency
F = mc2/h
In this equation h
refers to Planck’s constant. Both c and h contain
units of time.
If these spin rates vary, it is possible that such matter will not
interact with photons and thus be invisible from our perspective.
Just like a spinning fan which speeds up until one can no longer see
reflection from the blades.
This is conjecture at this point and experiments on changing spin
frequency of elementary particles are not something our scientists
have a handle on at present. Anecdotal stories of spectral sights
that are seen in moments of psychic vision seem to imply the
existence of invisible worlds. Metaphysical tradition states that
these other worlds are vibrating faster than the world we sense.
This is one possibility which can be modeled.
The extension of objects
in space is something that is also fundamental to physics and most
hyperdimensional physical theories, such as the
string theories, and
M-theory deal with the mathematics
of extra spatial dimensions.
Spatial dimensions beyond the three of our everyday world are
difficult, even impossible to visualize though some mathematicians
have tried. If we visualize a cube in three-dimensional space, could
we extend this to visualize a hypercube in four-dimensional space?
The problem is that we define a dimension as orthogonal to other
dimensions and we can only perceive three orthogonal extensions
which we have defined as length, breadth, and width. We do not know
how to rotate another 90 degrees to point to that fourth spatial
In M-theory the extra spatial dimensions may form closed
loops that are as small as 10-33 cm (Planck length) and are said to
hope that string theory will ultimately unify quantum mechanics,
the theory of small-scale interactions, with general relativity,
the theory of gravity. String theory requires at least nine
spatial dimensions, so proponents normally claim that all but
three of them are compactified and only accessible in extremely
high-energy particle collisions. As an alternative to
compactified dimensions, Lisa Randall of Princeton
University and Raman Sundrum, now of Stanford University,
describe a scenario in which an extra, infinite dimension could
have remained undetected so far.
Other researchers have pointed out that if extra dimensions
exist, the strong, weak, and electromagnetic forces and their
associated particles might operate within a three-dimensional
"subspace" of the higher dimensional world. Like beads on a wire
that lies on a table, the particles would be restricted to their
own set of dimensions, unable to move beyond them. But gravity
is different: It consists of the motions of space-time, which
includes all dimensions simultaneously. So Randall and
Sundrum imagine a world with four spatial dimensions, where
gravity exists in all four, but the other forces --and all of
our direct experience-- exist in 3D. They say we live in a
"3-brane" located at some specific position along the fourth
spatial dimension.” (2)
Many physicists believe
that these extra-dimensional theories are very speculative
and that ultimately we could not prove the existence of extra
dimensions, but the rejoinder is that these theories are successful
in predicting particle masses and energies. The future may bring new
theories and discoveries.
Many Worlds Theory:
In 1957, Hugh Everett
III proposed a radical new way of dealing with some of the more
perplexing aspects of quantum mechanics. It became known as the
According to this interpretation, whenever numerous viable
possibilities exist, the world splits into many worlds, one world
for each different possibility (in this context, the term "worlds"
refers to what most people call "universes"). In each of these
worlds, everything is identical, except for that one different
choice; from that point on, they develop independently, and no
communication is possible between them, so the people living in
those worlds (and splitting along with them) may have no idea that
this is going on.
The Many-Worlds Interpretation is an interpretation of
quantum mechanics, and pertains to quantum events. But it also
has implications for macroscopic systems like you and me. Although
you may think that there are certain alternatives you would never
choose, can you really be sure of that? There are a practically
infinite number of versions of you, who have all split off at some
time in the past from the path you are now following. There may be
versions of you that split off five or ten years ago, or perhaps
five minutes after you were born, to whom those choices may not seem
unthinkable. But in a very real sense, those people are still "you"
(but it can be argued that we should not use the word "are", or even
"were"; we need to invent a new kind of tense...) (3)
Alan Guth’s evolving
theory of an Inflationary Universe, one that rapidly expanded from
the Big Bang, a fluctuation of the false vacuum led to the concept
of many such universes bubbling out of the vacuum and our universe
is only one of these bubbles floating around in a superspace.
The exciting world of
science fiction contains many stories of
transdimensional travel in space and time.
Perhaps as we proceed in our understanding of how the universe
works, we may someday realize these stories and they may become a
real part of our technology. Already such marvels as photon
teleportation and quantum computing are being explored in
laboratories around the world. It is exciting to think that someday
we may visit another universe which would have to be very similar if
not identical to our own in physical principle if we are to survive
the journey. We may also find doorways in time and visit other
What is conventionally
called "the universe" could be just one member of an ensemble. Countless
other universes may exist in which the laws are different. This new
concept of a "multiverse" is, potentially, as drastic an
enlargement of our cosmic perspective as the shift from pre-Copernican
ideas to the realization that the Earth is orbiting a typical star on
the edge of the Milky Way, itself just one galaxy among countless
The multiverse could encompass all possible values of fundamental
constants. I think cosmologists are starting, by better observations, to
pin down the key numbers describing our universe. At the same time,
physicists will soon be able to tell us which of these numbers are fixed
by some underlying theory of the multiverse, and which are, in
some sense, "arbitrary" outcomes of how our particular universe cooled
The latter numbers would not
be the same in other universes. The universe in which we've emerged
belongs to the "unusual" subset that permits complexity and
consciousness to develop. Once we accept this, various apparently
special features of our universe —those once adduced as evidence for
Providence or design— occasion no surprise.
In addition, other universes may follow life cycles of very different
durations: some, like ours, may expand for much more than ten billion
years; others may be "stillborn" because they re-collapse after a brief
existence, or because the physical laws governing them aren't rich
enough to permit complex consequences. In some there could be no
gravity; or gravity could be overwhelmed by the repulsive effect of a
cosmological constant. Some could always be so dense that everything
stayed close to equilibrium, with the same temperature everywhere. Some
could even have a different number of dimensions from our own.
By mapping and exploring our universe, using all the techniques of
astronomy, we are coming to understand —to a degree that even a decade
ago would have seemed astonishing— our cosmic habitat. We have
intimations of other universes, and perhaps ... we can infer the scope
and limits of a final theory even if we are still far from reaching it —
even if, indeed, it eludes our intellectual grasp forever.
If the universe
isn't everything, what is it?
We need to specify carefully (especially when talking to philosophers)
what we mean by "the universe." We must distinguish three things:
(i) What we can
actually observe — i.e., what lies within the horizon of present
(ii) The larger domain that may, one day in the future, be
observable, or at least in causal contact with us (or our remote
(iii) "Everything there is" — which includes all other
possible universes, though these may never be observable, even in
principle (and have different laws, dimensions, etc.). This is what
I've called the "multiverse."
There are two ways we can
gain circumstantial evidence about whether other universes exist:
(i) When we
understand the early stages of the "big bang" better, it may
turn out (indeed I strongly suspect it will) that the theory would
predict a whole succession (or even an infinite ensemble) of
separate bangs, each sprouting into a separate universe.
(ii) The features of our universe that make it seem specially
"tuned" for life can, I believe, be best explained by supposing that
there is a whole ensemble of universes, governed by different laws.
It is then of course not surprising to find one member of the
ensemble that fits any requirement.
As our universe cooled, its
specific mix of energy and radiation, even perhaps the number of
dimensions in its space, may have arisen as "accidentally" as the
patterns in the ice when a lake freezes. The physical laws were
themselves "laid down" in the big bang.
Our universe, and the laws governing it, had to be (in a well-defined
sense) rather special to allow our emergence. Stars had to form; the
nuclear furnaces that keep them shining had to transmute pristine
hydrogen into carbon, oxygen, and iron atoms; a stable environment and
vast spans of space and time were prerequisites for the complexities of
life on Earth.
Life in other
It's hard enough to speculate about what life might exist elsewhere in
our own universe, let alone in others where the physical laws are
different! The basic laws allow an immense range of complex structures,
which we can't necessarily yet envisage. Science fiction authors are the
best at this, of course, and we can get more stimulus from them than
from most scientists. Our universe is still near the beginning of its
cycle—we are certainly not the culmination of evolution.
(I also make the point,
which is unpopular with some people, that, though SETI [Search
for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence] projects are worthwhile, I
rather hope that life is now unique to our Earth. This may seem at first
sight to make life an irrelevant fluke in our vast universe. But life
"seeded" from Earth could spread through the galaxy and beyond, making
our tiny Earth central to the cosmic scheme of things.)
I emphasize that biology is
a harder subject than astronomy — astronomers deal with things that are
big, but not specially complex. That's why it isn't presumptuous to
aspire to understand them. A frog poses a more daunting scientific
challenge than a star.
In the first and last chapters of my book where I briefly allude to the
implications of a SETI detection, I speculate about whether there
might be "superintelligences" who could visualize the
Mandelbrot set as easily as we visualize a circle, and who could
perhaps infer the existence of universes (e.g., with extra dimensions)
too complex even for us to imagine. I like the analogy with the observer
in a rowboat in the middle of an ocean. The sea may seem to stretch
uniformly to the horizon, but there may be continents, "dragons," etc.,
I think the concept of the multiverse erodes any basis there
might have been for the theological "argument from design" [that
the Universe is so perfect and complex that it must have a creator].
The concept of the multiversecould allow multiple universes
of various levels of perfection or complexity. However, the argument
from design is not itself taken seriously by many theologians.
While science raises problems for certain "literal" beliefs, I don't
think it has any further relevance to one's religious attitudes.
I mention briefly in the
book that, just as Newton's contemporaries reacted differently to
nature, so do present-day scientists. If being a scientist teaches me
anything, it is that even a single atom is tough to understand. That
makes me skeptical of anyone who claims more than an incomplete and
metaphorical understanding of any deep aspect of reality.
Cosmology is of no day-to-day significance. But people have always been
fascinated by "origins." Dinosaurs have been high in the popularity
charts ever since Richard Owen discovered them in 1841. So, of
Darwinism ever since the 1860s.
Cosmology fascinates people now, just as Darwinism has for more than a
century. (I'd certainly get less satisfaction from my own researches if
they only interested a few other specialists.)
I don't think modern cosmology carries any real message relevant to
ethics. Cosmologists can hold almost any faith, or none. They may,
however, have a special "ecological" perspective. The intricate
biosphere, of which we're part, has taken several billion years to
evolve. Our Earth is a speck in the universe. Planets are common, but
those that harbor such complexity could be surpassingly rare, or even
unique in those vast spaces. In terms of cosmic time-spans, we're not
yet at the half-way stage — we're still nearer to Darwin's "simple
beginning" than to the endpoint of the evolutionary process.
But it is collective human
actions that will determine how, or even if, that process unfolds. Being
mindful of these potentialities should deepen our commitment to
understand our world, and conserve its web of life.