When I read today’s article, I instantly thought of the movie Men in Black. My brain shot to the scene in the morgue where a tiny alien living in the head of what appears to be a human gives Will Smith the cryptic message “The galaxy is on Orion’s belt.” Later, of course, we learn that there was an actual galaxy in an orb that is attached to the collar of a cat named Orion. The final scene of the movie also came to my mind today. The camera zooms out, from Earth through the solar system and our galaxy, to realize that our galaxy is also enclosed in an orb. This time, however, there are aliens using many orbs containing galaxies in a game of marbles!
Today’s article isn’t saying that the universe is exactly like we saw in Men in Black; however, the title of the article “Is the Universe a Bubble?” was what sparked my memory. The author equates the early universe around the time of the big bang to be like a pot of water sitting on the stove. As the water boils, and as the universe radiated with extreme energy, bubbles begin to form. Inside each “universe bubble,” a vacuum was produced, causing each bubble to expand. Many bumped into each other to melt together to make larger bubbles; some remained far apart. No matter which sort of bubble, the researchers are trying to explain that inside each bubble was a separate universe. Now you can see why I recalled those scenes from Men in Black!
Have you never heard of this theory? Have you always only heard of the big bang? Don’t worry, you’re not alone! This theory of cosmic inflation is not widely accepted, mainly because instead of saying that the big bang began with a tiny, condensed piece of matter, scientists are saying that the cosmic inflation began with a vacuum. This gives some people pause.
Large particle colliders are where scientists try to test their big bang theories. Scientists at the Perimeter Institute are trying to test their cosmic inflation hypothesis. Using computer simulations, scientists are currently testing the scenario of two bubble universes merging together. Then, based on what their simulations show, they can search the skies for evidence for their theory. For example, if two bubble universes collided, scientists predict there would be a blemish of microwaves to detect; unfortunately, no such radiation has been discovered yet. Scientists will continue their work, however, because they believe that the simulations are showing that the bubble universe could actually be possible. They just need to find the correct marker in the background radiation of the universe to prove their point!
Article Source: Perimeter Institute. “Is the universe a bubble? Let’s check: Making the multiverse hypothesis testable.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 July 2014
Scott Akerman “Boiling Water” 6 September 2008 via Flickr. Creative Commons Attributions.
Terry Hancock “M33 Triangulum Galaxy” 7 October 2011 via Flickr. Creative Commons Attributions