You might have noticed, if you’ve set foot in a cinema this year, that Hollywood has fallen in love with the multiverse. From Marvel to DC to Disney, alternate universes, realities and timelines are being written into scripts to wow audiences and make life a bit easier when A-list celebrities tire of yanking on the latex.
It’s not just the big studios that are at it. The sublimely joyful indie film Everything Everywhere All At Once asks and answers, ‘why, if everything is happening everywhere and all at once, should any of it matter?’
Likewise, Rick And Morty, Dark and Man In The High Castle use the idea of alternate universes as a kind of funhouse mirror to ponder (sometimes) serious questions about our own Universe. And it’s fair to point out that the idea is nothing new. Who could forget Spock’s evil doppelgänger with his suitably sinister goatee? Clearly, the idea of the multiverse has permeated the fabric of our culture. But what do the scientists think about multiverses? Is there the science to back them up?
Many physicists believe that multiverses could exist, ranging from universes lurking behind the event horizons of black holes, to growing universes expanding like bubbles in soap foam.
“A multiverse is something which is really not that strange if you think of it historically, from the point of view of science,” says Prof Ulf Danielsson, a theoretical physicist at Uppsala University, Sweden. “Our horizons have continuously been expanding. At some time, we thought that Earth was the only planet and that this was the whole world. We now know there’s a Universe full of other planets. It’s also quite natural to speculate that there is another step and that our Universe is not the only one.”
So what are some of the leading multiverse theories, and which of them could harbour an evil, possibly moustachioed, you.
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