August 31, 2010

Do we live in a “basement” universe?

Filed under: Science, Space — Tags: — Nicholas @ 07:52

Many years back, one of the mailing lists I regularly read had a long and interesting discussion about the possibilities of creating new universes. Not in a science-fictional sense, but based on the theories then current and using the technologies which were already under development at the time. They were referred to as “basement universes”, “pocket universes” and so on. It was fascinating, although my weak math abilities forced me to skip over the parts of the discussion with all the numbers and symbols.

Elizabeth sent me a link to John Gribbin’s “Are we living in a designer universe?”, which took me back to those fascinating discussions:

The argument over whether the universe has a creator, and who that might be, is among the oldest in human history. But amid the raging arguments between believers and sceptics, one possibility has been almost ignored — the idea that the universe around us was created by people very much like ourselves, using devices not too dissimilar to those available to scientists today.

As with much else in modern physics, the idea involves particle acceleration, the kind of thing that goes on in the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland. Before the LHC began operating, a few alarmists worried that it might create a black hole which would destroy the world. That was never on the cards: although it is just possible that the device could generate an artificial black hole, it would be too small to swallow an atom, let alone the Earth.

However, to create a new universe would require a machine only slightly more powerful than the LHC — and there is every chance that our own universe may have been manufactured in this way.


  1. Thanks for the article. Thanks a lot. Extend this just a bit, and you get to the point where I’m going to feel guilty every time I switch off Knoppix or shut down a VMware image. I can hear the screaming from the virtual universe’s inhabitants even now.

    Comment by Lickmuffin — August 31, 2010 @ 17:41

  2. My work here is done.

    Comment by Nicholas — August 31, 2010 @ 22:14

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