The multiverse theory explained – Macleans.ca

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The term you hear most often combines comic book cinema and quantum mechanics

A random number is printed on the copyright page of the 2019 book by theoretical physicist Sean Carroll Something deeply hidden. In our universe, each copy of the book has the same number: 756 132 390 815,553. But that’s just one of more than a billion numbers his Quantum Random Number Generator could have produced – and Carroll claims that a new universe was created for every result. In each of the realities his quantum computing spits out, there is a different number imprinted in his book.

It may sound like science fiction or something straight out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe – and, hey, Carroll was a science consultant for Avengers: Endgame – but his work represents a legitimate but controversial school of thought. in modern science. The multiverse theory is not strictly “scientific” because, at the moment, it cannot be tested empirically. It’s a little closer to philosophy, says Almog Yalinewich, postdoctoral fellow in astrophysics at the University of Toronto. But the idea of ​​parallel universes does a lot to “mitigate the drawbacks” in scientific study, he explains, such as the theoretical paradoxes of time travel.

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Many modern physicists think of a multiverse in the context of the “many worlds” theory of quantum mechanics. The theory tries to explain the behavior of subatomic particles, which can exist simultaneously in different places at the same time. “If the multiverse is real, then branches happen all the time,” says Yalinewich. One day, he says, quantum computing may be powerful enough to test its existence. But for now, credit comic book cinema, like the upcoming 2022 film Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness—for drawing your attention to the breathtaking ‘multiverse’.

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