What is a multiverse and how long has humanity been arguing for its existence?
Stated simply, a multiverse could be more universes from the same Big Bang, universes that originate from a different Big Bang, or any universe with different laws than our own (“The Multiverse for Non-Scientists” Siegel).
A growing number of astrophysicists are investigating the multiverse theory due to this basic logic: If space-time does go on indefinitely, then matter must start repeating eventually as there are a limited number of way particles can be arranged.
One of the most interesting variations on this idea comes from Princeton University’s Paul Steinhardt and Neil Turok of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Ontario, Canada. Called “braneworlds,” their theory postulates that that our entire universe exists on a membrane or “brane” which floats near other universes in a stack. These universes can interact, and when they do collide, the energy produced is more than enough to cause a Big Bang (“5 Reasons We May Live in a Multiverse” Moskowitz).
This notion is hardly new. Medieval politician, philosopher, and bishop Robert Grosseteste penned De Luce or On Light in 1225 which described a group of ordered universes an astounding four centuries before Isaac Newton proposed gravity (“How a Medieval Philosopher Dreamed Up the Multiverse” Moskvitch).
And the concept goes back even farther than that. The idea of multiple universes is referenced in Hindu sacred texts, such as the Brahma Vaivarta Purana (c. 700 CE). It states:
“And who will search through the wide infinities of space to count the universes side by side, each containing its Brahma, its Vishnu, its Shiva? Who can count the Indras in them all–those Indras side by side, who reign at once in all the innumerable worlds?”
It is fascinating to think that this multiverse idea has pervaded human consciousness for centuries and that this one topic where history, religion, and science all agree.
Moskowitz, Clara. “5 Reasons We May Live in a Multiverse.” Space.com. 7 December 2012. 15 March 2017. <http://www.space.com/18811-multiple-universes-5-theories.html>
Moskvitch, Katia. “How a Medieval Philosopher Dreamed Up the Multiverse. Space.com. 1 April 2014. 15 March 2017. ”<http://www.space.com/25301-multiverse-concept-middle-ages-grosseteste.html>
Siegel, Ethan. “The Multiverse for Non-Scientists.” Forbes.com. 14 July 2016. 15 March 2017. <https://www.forbes.com/sites/startswithabang/2016/07/14/the-multiverse-for-non-scientists/#6094339466ce>