Saturday, June 02, 2007

Multiverse Theory...

NPR's Science Friday ("Sci-Fri") is a strangely enjoyable radio show, if only because it's such a damn charmingly nerdy and amateurish thing to stumble across. The host, Ira Flatow, is just scatterbrained and mush-mouthed enough to keep you on the edge of your carseat, and tuned in to the show's accident-waiting-to-happen-like qualities. Plus, you're bound to learn something in between the skids and the hiccups.

On last night's show, the guest, Paul Davies, was full of eye-opening notions. Who knew that a large cadre of cosmologists have been seriously toying with the idea of a "multiverse" in the last few years (not Davies, who thinks it's all poppyckock). Multiverse theory is, roughly, a more sophisticated version of the old "parallel universe" concept that gets bandied about in sci-fi novels. A multiverse is a vast collection of universes packed together into some larger structure (I imagine a pomegranate, or a colony of mussels attached to an underwater dock pylon) in which each universe has its own distinct set of physical laws. Very few of these universes are capable of supporting life as we know it, thus making our own all the more unique.

Personally, I'd say our universe is enough to grapple with, especially if the other ones aren't nearly as special as our own. I mean really, have you seen the way they arrange their molecules? Frankly, it's an eyesore.


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