The good news – they believe they may be real. The bad news – we may never be able to access them, or even want to.
How cool would it be to visit an alternate version of yourself, say, a world where you married your college girlfriend instead of breaking up? Or visit the version of yourself who is the ninja badass you always imagined yourself to be?
Scientists have long theorized that multiple universes exist, and now they may have proof.
I won’t delve into the science behind all this — it’s over my head. But I’ll get to the heart of it: a recent discovery on the inflation of the universe, as explained in this Scientific American article, supports a hypothesis that multiple universes exist in this humongous thing called space.
How would it work? Imagine a glass of soda. In the soda there are tons of bubbles. Each bubble would be its own universe. Simple enough.
But there’s a catch. Actually, a few.
First, it is theorized that these alternate universes would follow different physical laws. Scientists have no reason to believe that the basic properties of matter hold true. It just seems to be the way our universe is constructed, by nature, by God, take your pick. Let your mind go crazy with how these other universes might be constructed. The possibilities are infinite. But we would stand no chance of surviving.
Second, how would we access these alternate universes, even if we wanted to? We can’t even get very far across our own universe, which is too large for us to rationally fathom.
Third, and this gets to my problem with science, this is all basically theory. Science and religion love bashing each other, but what they don’t realize is that they’re more alike than they’d care to admit. Both are tightly constructed belief systems with high priests who disseminate knowledge. Science relies on the observable world, and religion tends toward philosophy, but both frequently get it wrong. (For the record, I’m a fan of aspects of both.)
So, in the end, I think we’re stuck with multiple universes existing solely in our imaginations, which is good. I loved when the TV show Fringe, a great underrated sci-fi series, used alternate universes to enhance the show’s mythology. The old TV show Sliders, where the cast of characters went from alternate world to alternate world, was great fun. Doctor Who used parallel universes briefly and effectively. And I’m writing a story now that is centered on parallel worlds – and alternate versions of the main character.
While the science is exciting, I’ll stick with the fictional side of multiple universes. For now.