What Is The Multiverse Theory?: Complete Explanation

The Multiverse Theory suggests there’s more to the universe than what we see. For an exciting show displaying a parallel dimension, check out Stranger Things on Netflix.

The Multiverse Theory postulates that the vast region of space that science calls “The Universe” is not all that exists. Even if the stars and galaxies of our visible universe stretch into infinity, there are theories that propose that other universes may exist in parallel dimensions or that the vast region of our own universe is one of many such cosmic expanses.

If there is a multiverse, the total of all that exists would be comprised of many universes that could be thought of as “alternate realities,” “parallel universes,” multiple timelines, and many-worlds interpretations. Because the existence of other universes has been an esoteric concept throughout scientific history, many researchers currently argue that multiverse theories are nearly impossible to prove or disprove with real-world research methods.

Regardless of this, there are still prominent physicists who believe that a multiverse model offers the best solution to explain the strange behavior of quantum particles, such as photons and electrons, that behave in ways that defy logic. The Multiverse Theory is a subject of debate among scientists that might be taken with a grain of salt, but the following guide explains people who want to ponder it and make up their own minds about its plausibility.

The Multiverse Theory: An Exact Definition

The Multiverse Theory is a scientific model that describes all of existence as a collection of multiple universes that exist in parallel, in higher dimensions, or other regions of space beyond our own observable cosmos.

How Does The Multiverse Theory Work?

One could arrive at a model of multiple universes in a variety of ways. Either our own observable universe exists in a region of space, or “bubble” of which there are many, or there could be parallel universes that exist on different timelines. There is also the possibility of higher dimensions where many 3-dimensional universes like ours could exist in an n-dimensional matrix of universes.

A theory by Physicist Max Tegmark has a well-known scheme for classifying multiverses into four levels where higher levels expand upon lower-level universes. The theory describes the first level of other universes as ones that simply extend beyond the range of our visible universe. Second-level universes within the multiverse are beyond our own “bubble” of galaxies, separated from our own universe by vast regions of space where there are no galaxies or stars. In fact, before the 1930s, it was believed that our milky way was an entire universe, and some scientists referred to other galaxies as “island universes.”

Level three universes are also considered 3-dimensional like our own, but they split off from other universes via quantum interactions to form an infinitely branching multiverse. Tegmark defines the fourth level as an all-inclusive theory of everything that exists, whereby all multiverse theories and different types of parallel universes would have to reside within this fourth totally infinite collection of universes in some way.

Where Did The Multiverse Theory Originate From?

The idea of multiple universes dates back far into the past, as early as Ancient Greece. The first recorded example of a theory of multiple worlds was present in the Greek philosophy of Atomism. Although the atom was not verified by science for many centuries after the times of Ancient Greece, some scholars of that time believed that all matter was composed of tiny indivisible particles that they called atoms. Part of this theory proposed that collisions of these particles would spawn new worlds.

Another ancient philosophical idea, by the philosopher Chrysippus, proposed that the universe likely ends and is recreated, which would imply an infinite number of universes that would exist throughout the past and future.

The first known use of the term “multiverse” is credited to the American Philosopher and Psychologist William James who used the term in 1895. However, it was not used to denote multiple worlds or universes. In this case, the term referred to a variety of interpretations of natural phenomena.

It was a prominent fiction writer, Michael Moorcock, who was the first to use the term to describe a continuum of parallel universes. Moorcock first coined the term in a novella that he published in 1963 titled “The Sundered Worlds.” The multiverse continued to be a prominent concept and landscape for his novels that placed heroes in other planes of existence where they battle gods and demons.

The Sundered Worlds
  • Moorcock, Michael (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 184 Pages - 08/17/2018 (Publication Date) - Fantastic Books (Publisher)

It was not until the latter part of the 20th Century that mathematicians and physicists had begun to believe those multiverse theories could offer a better explanation for quantum theory and explain the origin of our own universe before the event known as the “Big Bang” when our universe began to rapidly expand from a very small dense point to the vast cosmos that we observe today.

Examples of The Multiverse Theory

The Many Worlds Theory

One prominent example of modern multiverse theories is the “Many Worlds Theory” proposed by the Physicist and Science Populariser, Brian Greene. Although parallel universes still have a fictional ring to them for most people, the idea seems to be gaining acceptance among theoretical physicists. Some of them see it as a plausible explanation for the strange behaviors of subatomic particles. Multiverse theories such as the Many Worlds Interpretation by Brian Greene find that the paradox of quantum particles can be elegantly explained with theories that describe them as branching off into different parallel universes.

Like Max Tegmark, Greene has devised his own system of classifications for different types of multiverses. One example is that the nature of infinity causes any possibilities to occur due to the definition of a never-ending continuum of possibilities. This model is referred to as a “Quilted” multiverse. Greene also describes a well-known multiverse model referred to as a “Brane.” The Brane exists on a higher dimension where vast multitudes of membranes in higher dimensions collide to form 3-dimensional universes such as ours. This theory is used within string theories that use higher dimensions to explain the structure of reality.

Black-Hole Multiverse

Physicists are still unsure what happens to things that meet their demise within a black hole. The contemplation of what happens to stars and other objects that get pulled into them has led to some scientists postulating that our own universe could have emerged from the other side of a black hole in a parallel universe and that there are vast numbers of such universes that have been spawned by black holes.

M-Theory

String theory has given rise to several multiverse theories to explain the behaviors of quantum particles that do strange things such as teleport instantaneously, entangle with other particles despite vast distances between them, and even exist in more than one state or location at the same time, which presents a paradox that mathematicians have struggled to validate. One such theory is known as M-theory, and it is a popular interpretation within string theory, which describes the most fundamental constituents of reality as one-dimensional loops that vibrate at different frequencies that define their nature and function within the fabric of reality.

M-theory and string theory are both attempts to provide a single theory that combines the physics of the observable macro-world with that of the micro-world of quantum physics. String theory and M-theory postulate other dimensions beyond the three that we interact and observe, namely height, width, and length. Greater support for additional dimensions has arisen from the fact that the mathematics of quantum theory has been found to work better within models of reality comprised of 10 or more spatial dimensions in addition to one or more time dimensions.

The Multiverse Theory Explained (With Examples) and Whether it’s Possible FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What Is The Multiverse Theory?

The Multiverse Theory is a concept in physics that proposes that our observable universe is not all that exists and that there are other universes that lie beyond the horizon of our telescopes and possibly in higher dimensions.

Who came up with The Multiverse Theory?

The first idea for multiple universes originates in ancient times with the Greek philosophers who believed that alternate universes were created when atoms collided.

When was The Multiverse Theory proposed?

The first theory of multiple universes was imagined by Greek philosophers who invented the theory of Atomism in the 5th century BCE. Leucippus and his pupil Democritus came up with the idea that all matter is composed of tiny indivisible particles that they called “atoms” and that new worlds were created when they collided.

Is it possible for the multiverse to exist?

It is becoming more popular within the field of modern physics for scientists to favor the possibility of higher dimensions and parallel realities as one of our best ways to explain the way quantum theory works. However, science is far from being able to prove or disprove such theories with conventional laboratory procedures. Some detractors to the theory site the “Fermi Paradox,” which points out that, in a vast multiverse of possibly infinite parallel universes inhabited by advanced lifeforms, it seems mathematically certain that one of them would have visited us by now, but there is no conclusive evidence of this having happened.

What is an example of a multiverse?

One popular multiverse theory is the Brane theory described by physicist Brian Greene, known for his Many Worlds Interpretation. This theory describes all of existence as a higher dimensional structure made up of membranes that are greater than three dimensions. When these membranes collide, 3-dimensional universes like the one that we live in are created.

What is the difference between The Multiverse Theory and the single-universe theory?

The distinction between these two concepts could be somewhat nebulous because both theories describe a continuum that encompasses all that exists. The difference between the two is mainly that the single universe tends to be viewed as a vast expanse of our 3-dimensional cosmos that consists of the stars and galaxies that we can see with telescopes. The Multiverse theory proposes that there could be similar universes far beyond ours and that there could be higher dimensions that contain endless iterations of our type of universe and others that consist of more than three dimensions.

How many possible multiverses are there?

Given the definition of a multiverse as being a model of all of existence, there would only be one multiverse that is comprised of possibly infinite universes, regardless of which multiverse theory one chooses to favor.

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  • Wikipedia Available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiverse
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  • Wikipedia Available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atomism
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