With the popularity of Marvel’s multiverse, you might low-key be wondering how parallel world’s could actually work. Turns out this science-fiction is based on real science, but what exact theories are out there?
The idea of multiple worlds is compelling because it solves a thorny issue that arises from quantum mechanics. Classical physics is typically thought to be deterministic: if you know the speed and position of something like a ball flying through the air, then you can predict where the ball is going to land.
But in the quantum world, things don’t work like that. It is impossible to know the exact speed and position of a particle like an electron, and so it is impossible to say for certain what it will do, only the probabilities.
The mathematical expression of all known possibilities of a particle’s location and characteristics is called its wave function.
Bizarrely, in the quantum realm particles appear to exist in multiple states simultaneously, until something causes only one outcome to result, what’s known in science-y talk as “collapsing the wave function”.
The mechanism that causes wave functions to collapse is still debated, but one of the most widely accepted is the Copenhagen Interpretation. It states wave functions collapse when they are observed, measured, or interact with the classical world in some way.
The Copenhagen interpretation comes with its own issues, which physicist Edwin Shrodinger tried to point out when he devised a thought experiment where a cat in a box could be both alive and dead at the same time so long as no one looked inside. But what if we’re looking at this the wrong way, and the wave functions don’t actually collapse?
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UNDERSTAND ‘LOKI’ TIME TRAVEL THROUGH THE REAL SCIENCE OF BRANCHING UNIVERSES
Multiverses and branching timelines are central to Loki, but they stem from the actual realms of academic research. In the real world, they’re understood with a twist: While Loki presents a swashbuckling world where branches of time can either be reset or spiral into chaos, scientists use these concepts to explain branching universes — a way to understand many possible outcomes caused by chance.
The First-Ever Evidence of the Multiverse
Durham Professor Tom Shanks proposed what he described as a “more exotic” explanation for the Cold Spot. In his work, Shanks argued that the Cold Spot was “caused by a collision between our universe and another bubble universe…The Cold Spot might be taken as the first evidence for the multiverse – and billions of other universes may exist like our own.”
Physicists Study How Universes Might Bubble Up and Collide
What lies beyond all we can see? The question may seem unanswerable. Nevertheless, some cosmologists have a response: Our universe is a swelling bubble. Outside it, more bubble universes exist, all immersed in an eternally expanding and energized sea — the multiverse.
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