How plausible is the existence of the multiverse, one of the most popular ideas in Hollywood movies, really?

Whether they need a new antagonist or an old Spider-Man, the directors of some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters think using the word “multiverse” in their movies will make them more “scientific.” But how scientific is the multiverse idea really?

A multifaceted, conceptual filmPhoto: Richard Beasley / Scientific Photography / Profimedia Images

In the Marvel movies, the multiverse is made up of different versions of our universe that exist “somewhere out there” in infinite space. These films suggest that a suitable combination of technology, magic and imagination makes travel between these universes possible.

For example, in Spider-Man: No Way HomeThat is the first film exceeded After the covid-19 pandemic hit the billion dollar gross mark, we discovered the existence of other universes and other Earths, some of which had their own Spider-Man.

In Doctor Strange in the diversity of madness, one of the most popular movies of the past year, where interactions between different universes lead to the “debasement of reality.” Another 2022 film dealing with the theme of the multiverse, Everywhere and everything at onceIt was a big winner at the Oscars earlier this year 11 of the coveted gifts.

This subject is central to both films Top 10 from last North American box office rankings: Spider-Man: The Whole Spider-Verse And Flash. Of course, DC Studios, given its disastrous box office numbers, won’t be using the words “multiverse” and “fame” in the same sentence anytime soon. Flash.

But the idea of ​​a multiverse in pop culture is yesterday and not today, not because of a movie, but a series, and not a Hollywood one, but a British one: Who is Dr.

So, which of the concepts explored in them are “borrowed” from science and are nothing more than pure imagination? Conversation Explain:

Variant of the “Light” Multiverse: The Biggest Universe

The most burning question for many about the multiverse is whether there could actually be other Earths that look just like our planet, but the same or similar versions of us. Scientifically this is not out of the question because we don’t know how big the universe is beyond its observable edge.

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Space telescopes allow us to see billions of light-years into space, but we don’t know how much space lies beyond the physical limit created by the speed of light, which prevents us from seeing anything beyond distance. From the time of the universe’s “birth” the light travels through its ages.

There’s so much space beyond the visible edge of the universe — and if it’s evenly distributed with galaxies, stars, and planets — Earth’s “twin” planet is in every way. its citizens.

Given enough space and enough planets, any possibility is a probability. Some would argue that the laws of probability make it a certainty.

Fictional stories in the Marvel Multiverse rely on the ability to travel to these other Earths, and Doctor Strange has a good reason for doing so. Most people are aware that Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity states that light cannot travel faster than light.

Of course, science fiction writers and futurists have imagined more exotic ways to travel around the universe, some of which do not contradict the laws of physics. An example of this would be wormholes, but we still don’t know how to create them, they don’t appear naturally in the universe, and there’s no reason to believe they could lead us to another Earth. At a random point in space.

Therefore, if there is an Earth analogue somewhere in the unknown great space, it is almost certain that it is unimaginably far away.

(Photo: NASA)

Exotic Option: Variety with different laws of nature

The stories in the multiverse movies may seem far-fetched to the most cynical viewer, but from a scientific perspective they may actually be considered uninteresting or trivial.

The “bricks” that make up our universe – protons, neutrons, electrons, photons, etc. – They can do amazing things like human life. We need look no further than our own bodies to see this: it harvests and transforms energy, processes information, creates complex interconnected systems, and repairs itself.

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But physicists have discovered that the ability to create life from the basic “bricks” of our universe is extremely rare. No “bricks” are good.

If electrons were too heavy, or if the force holding the nucleus of atoms together were too weak, not only would the universe not have produced something as complex as a living cell, matter as we know it (or imagine it) would not have appeared. in parallel universes).

How did our universe manage to come up with the right mix of materials? I might have won the cosmic lottery. Or, there are different “bricks” in other parts of the universe, at scales far larger than we can see with our built-in telescopes.

In this hypothesis, our universe is one of many options in a multiverse with a particularly lucky, many losers. It is the multiverse that fascinates scientists so much: not only is there more space, but different universes with different basic materials and therefore different physical laws.

Most of these universes are devoid of any form of life or even matter, but very, very rarely, they give birth to things that even researchers have a hard time imagining.

Hollywood movies, by contrast, frighteningly rearrange the atoms as we know them and the fundamental forces of our universe. But the variety of these remains unimaginable.

Cosmic inflation and the Big Bang are a model for diversity

Another question that troubles astronomers is what our universe looked like in the past. The evidence shows that it was hotter, denser, and softer than the Big Bang theory.

But was there a time when the universe was infinitely hot, dense, and contained in a single point? Although this idea still has some detractors, astrophysicists have only had problems with the evolution of the universe since the Big Bang, which is why they have explored different options to explain how the universe looks and works today.

One of these ideas is called cosmic inflation, which states that the universe is expanding exponentially over an infinite fraction of life. If true (and most physicists believe it is), this would solve many of the problems facing current models of the evolution of the universe.

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But how can a universe expand so rapidly? The answer would be a new kind of force field that governs the early moments of the universe’s life, causing rapid expansion before “handing over” the forms of matter and energy we know: protons, neutrons, electrons, etc.

(Photo: Scott Houston / Alamy / Profimedia Images)

And cosmic inflation can create variety that boggles your mind. According to one version of this idea, which researchers call “eternal inflation,” most of space is expanding, doubling time by moment.

The theory in question states that during this expansion process, an as-yet-undiscovered force field spontaneously and randomly transfers its energy in ordinary matter to “small islands” of enormous energy levels, resulting in what we would see as a Big Bang.

If the basic properties of matter are “disrupted” and restored at these very high energies, each island can be imagined as a new universe with different properties. I created a manifold.

So, diversity exists or not?

In the life cycle of an idea passing through the scientific method, the multiverse is currently only in the exploration phase.

We have a few ideas that could explain some things, if they are true. That’s not to say we shouldn’t pay attention to the idea of ​​a multiverse, but it’s still not science.

Since we have the cosmic background radiation for the Big Bang, we need direct and concrete evidence of the “remnant” of the event that created the multiverse.

The idea of ​​a multiverse opens up so many fascinating avenues that it has captured the imagination of Hollywood.

But Dr. As Strange himself said, “The multiverse is a terrifying concept for us.”

I hope you enjoyed this weekend’s weird edition of Nerd Alert, combining two of our favorite topics: movies and science. If you’re interested in reading last week’s column, you can find it here:

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