Parallel Universes Are Real, Say Physicists

It may seem like science fiction, but the existence of multiple Brians and multiples of everyone, in a ‘multiverse’ is a serious concept in physics.


The quantum mascot: The paradox of Schrodinger’s Cat is at the heart of the multiverse theory.

Physics professor and TV presenter Brian Cox says he believes we live in just one of an infinite number of parallel universes. Is there any evidence for that and should it change how we think?

In parallel universes, the physics professor Brian Cox is a professional wrestler, a goat herder, a gambler, a mass murderer, and even a rockstar.

It may seem like science fiction, but the existence of multiple Brians and multiples of everyone, in a ‘multiverse’ is a serious concept in physics. This week, Brian Cox said that he supports the theory.

The ‘multiverse

theory holds that as well as the universe we exist in now, there is an infinite number of others in which all the variations that could have happened in our lives are being played out.

For example, a boy called James thinks about eating a slice of cake. Maybe he stops after one slice and goes to play an average game of football. Or maybe he eats another slice and is too sick to play. Yet in the world where James did not eat any cake at all, he may score an incredible goal which makes him famous. Based on a such a minor decision, James’s life could unfold very differently.

According to the ‘multiverse’ idea, each James theoretically exists in a parallel universe. This thought experiment illustrates a central conundrum in quantum mechanics, which studies the unpredictable behaviour of energy and particles on the smallest scale.

Physicists cannot know where a particle is until they measure it. It might be found at location ‘A’, but some physicists say it is equally likely to be also at ‘B‘. They believe in the act of measuring it we actually determine where the particle is. Once it is seen at ‘A’, humans can only see it as ‘A’, just as once James eats the cake, we can no longer see the alternatives.

Another way of explaining this is with the ‘Schrödinger’s cat’ thought experiment. A cat, a flask of poison, and a radioactive source are placed in a sealed box. If an internal monitor detects radioactivity (that is, a single atom decaying), the flask is shattered, releasing the poison. When we open the box, we will see the cat either alive or dead. But, quantum physicists say that, until we do, the cat is both alive and dead, as both possibilities simultaneously exist.

Curiosity killed the cat

Some say that since there is currently no way to prove the ‘multiverse’ theory correct, thinking about it is pointless. While parallel universes might theoretically exist, if we have no way to interact with them and they can have no influence on our lives, then they are of no significance.

Yet others say that though it seems impossible to prove now, that does not mean it will not be possible one day. Besides, it is a fascinating way of thinking about choice and what we might have done differently. It shows just how much cutting edge science can expand our horizons far beyond what we can detect with our senses.

Allah protects Somaliland.

Lecturer: abdulkhaliq Mohamed Sheikh Osman- Birmingham UK