Are there parallel universes? Universes in which, rather than reading this article, you are still asleep; in which you are happier, unhappier, richer, poorer, or even dead? The answer is "possibly". It's a controversial claim but one that has won more and more followers over the last few decades.
Everyone knows what time is. We can practically feel it ticking away,
marching on in the same direction with horrifying regularity. Time has
enslaved the Western world and become our most precious commodity. Turn it
over to the physicists however, and it begins to
morph, twist and even crumble away. So what is
As part of our joint project with FQXi called Science fiction, science fact, we've been asking you what question on the frontiers of physics you'd like to have answered. The question that topped our first poll was 'What is time?'. We went to ask Paul Davies, a theoretical physicist and cosmologist at Arizona State University and Director of BEYOND: Centre for Fundamental Concepts in Science and here is his answer.
What is time? What is space? Are there parallel universes? Join Plus and FQXi on a journey exploring these and many more questions on the frontiers of physics. What do you think is science fiction and what do you think we close to proving are science facts? Find out more about scientific developments in these areas, ask your own questions and debate the answers!
Is the Universe finite or infinite? Is there infinity inside a black hole? Is space infinitely divisible or is there a shortest length? Can infinity occur at all in the cosmos or is it a mathematical construct? Find out more in our podcast with Anthony Aguirre, John D. Barrow and George Ellis.
Space is the stage on which physics happens. It's unaffected what happens it and it would still be there if everything in it disappeared. This is how we learn to think about space at school. But the idea is as novel as it is out-dated.
Space is the stage on which physics happens. It's unaffected by what happens inside it and it would still be there if everything in it disappeared. This is how we learn to think about space at school. But the idea is as novel as it is out-dated.
Would you stake your fortune on a 100 to 1 outsider? Probably not. But what if, somewhere in a parallel universe, the straggling nag does come in first? Would the pleasure you feel in that universe outweigh the pain you feel in the one in which you've lost? Questions not dissimilar to this one occupy physicists and for entirely respectable reasons.