the latest contributions to the science of genius

British physicist Stephen Hawking was considered one of the most influential scientists in the world since Albert Einstein, not only for his decisive contributions to the progress of theories that explain the Universe, but also for his constant concern to bring Science closer to people.

Hawking died at his home in Cambridge on March 14, 2018, aged 76, from complications from his degenerative disease. The astrophysicist’s latest study deals with multiple universes.

The Briton studied the cosmological theory for 20 years with his colleague Thomas Hertog, from the Institute of Theoretical Physics in Louvain (Belgium), and the two presented it to the publication for its review ten days before the death of the British astrophysicist.

“We are not confined to a single universe, but our findings show that the possible universes are far fewer” than some researchers think, says Stephen Hawking in an article published in the journal “High Energy Physics”.

The theory says that from the Big Bang, the Universe formed as a vast and complex hologram, so that other universes very similar to ours may exist.

The idea of ​​multiple universes emerges from a theory that suggests that, at its creation, during the Big Bang, the cosmos underwent a dazzling expansion. During this period, regions of space would not have evolved at the same speed, some stopping to expand before others, creating different bubble universes. Our universe would be one of those bubbles.

Scientists also offer mathematical guidance so astronomers can look for evidence about the existence of these possible parallel universes.

infinite universes

This theory builds on an earlier hypothesis, elaborated by Hawking’s own studies, which said that, starting with the Big Bang, the Universe expanded from a tiny point in a process known as inflation, creating infinite universes – or “multiverses” – that could be very different from ours.

The hypothesis, derived from Hawking’s research with his American colleague James Hartle in the 1980s, presented the problem that if infinite universes existed with infinite variations in their physical laws, this would make it impossible to predict which universe we find ourselves in.

The theory developed together with Hertog proposes that all existing universes share the same laws of physics, which implies that investigations of one universe can be applied to others.

The idea of ​​multiple universes or “multiverse” is not new. It spans the history of philosophy, but “has recently invaded the field of theoretical physics”, Aurelien Barrau, an astrophysicist at the Laboratory of Subatomic Physics and Cosmology in Paris, told AFP.

controversial topic

The “multiverse” is still a very controversial topic, with some scientists criticizing the fact that this concept is untestable.

But for Aurélien Barrau, “it is a dizzying idea to reinterpret our entire universe as a derisory island in an immense and infinitely vast and diverse meta-world”.

A disappointment to the man who had long believed he was at the center of the universe?

“The multiverse is part of the history of ideas: our global representation, after being centered in a region, the Earth, the Sun, the galaxy and then our Universe, no longer has a center”, explains the CNRS researcher.

This idea is also based on scientific theories. Furthermore, imagining that there is a multiplicity of universes would make it possible to answer some of the physicists’ questions.

Theories can be described as scientific, even if they contain unobservable elements: the existence of gravitational waves was accepted well before their detection. But then it all depends on the credibility they receive.

“To some scientists convinced of their theories, the multiverse may seem almost as real as the universe we observe. But for most of us, these theories are speculation,” he says.

This is what Sabine Hossenfelder points out. And, for Aurélien Barrau, “we can obviously doubt these theories”, but he regrets that this idea “is rejected a priori”.

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