• Question: Could there be an alternate universe?

    Asked by snelderflower to Miriam, Laura, David on 16 Nov 2018.
    • Photo: David Ho

      David Ho answered on 16 Nov 2018: last edited 16 Nov 2018 9:34 am


      Some ideas that scientists have allow for alternate universes. The most famous one of these is the “many worlds interpretation” of quantum mechanics. In simple terms, it says that each time we make a measurement, the universe splits into parallel “branches”, where in each one, we measured a different value! It sounds wacky, but actually it has a proper mathematical description. Rather unexcitingly, the alternate universes that it proposes wouldn’t be able to interact with our universe in any way, meaning that we could never detect them or visit them. Some people wonder if that means they would be there at all…

      Scientists still don’t know the answer to these questions, and maybe never will!

    • Photo: Miriam Hogg

      Miriam Hogg answered on 16 Nov 2018:


      As David said, there are many theories that use alternate or parallel universes. The most famous one is comes from a thought experiment.

      A man puts a cat in a box with a poison bomb that may or may not go off depending on if a certain detector is hit by a molecule of air. Until he opens the box he has no idea if the cat is dead or alive. But once he does he will find one or the other. There is a theory that when he opens the box the world splits into two versions, one where the cat is alive and one where it is not. If every time there was a option for different things to happen the world would split with each possibility we would end up with millions of alternate universes.

      This is just a thought experiment though as there would be no way to test this (or if its even true), we will only stay in one universe and have no way to detect another universe.

      There is also another idea. There are some people that think that when the big bang happened it created multiple universes at once which would all have different physics and laws governing them. Again this is impossible to test as we can’t detect these other universes. It is known as the multiverse theory.

      We have no way to test these idea though because we don’t think these other universe can’t be detected

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