Throughout the existence of life on Earth, we have always been plagued with the question — are we alone? Regardless of humanity’s contrasting beliefs, there has always existed the undeniable fact that we are alive and something has made us this way.
For a long time, this has been constructed and supported through the scientific world as a result of the big bang theory: the theory that the universe experienced a huge phenomenon, began to expand and continues to the point of our existence today.
While this had remained the best-supported idea of the point of our existence, the scientific community has held a wide range of beliefs regarding the beginning of our universe and one of the most astonishing is the idea of multiple universes or the multiverse theory, an idea branched off the concept of inflation within our universe.
Inflation is the scientific theory that our universe is expanding exponentially. The idea stemmed from the smoothness of our galaxy. Radiation, or the energy waves, within our galaxy are incredibly smooth, giving our galaxy a geometric flatness that doesn’t align with the actions of the big bang theory. How could something so explosive lead to such a well-balanced geometric structure?
This was when a major addition called inflation was added, and it meant a vacuum of energy inflated our universe and continues to expand it. While it is considered quite radical that the current universe is a quantum fluctuation, it continues to garner more evidence as research continues. This uncertainty of the smoothness of the universe and the possibility of it constantly expanding is what leads to the idea that our universe may not exist alone.
While this idea remains controversial within the scientific community, it leads to the idea of the multiverse theory. One of the major arguments against it is that there are no clear evidence-based ideas to support this concept yet, and it is often downplayed as simply metaphysics.
But it is the concept itself that intrigues scientists to consider not only the presence of other universes but the possibilities within. Christopher Impey, a Distinguished Professor of Astronomy and Associate Dean of the College of Science at the University of Arizona, expanded on what it would truly mean if the multiverse theory were true: that it would lead to “different anthropic ideas, properties and structures within their own world, and it would mean we are not special.”
We would have to detach from our laws of science and consider an entire world unlike our own. The structure of our universe wouldn’t stand as the basis of our knowledge anymore, and it wouldn’t explain why our universe is the only one to have life within it.
While these concepts can certainly lead to a world of possibilities, the scientific community remains uncertain about even the basics of the idea. Inflation still hasn't proved its true existence beyond a reasonable doubt, which is why the multiverse theory remains so controversial.
However, major growth towards proving or disproving the existence of inflation such as the branch between the big bang and the multiverse allows us to keep an open mind as we continue today to make strides towards understanding inflation through gravitational imprints on the microwaves within our galaxy.
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