August 18, 2016 7:48 pm
The idea of a multiverse is pretty popular these days, possibly because it suggests that given an infinite number of universes, everything exists somewhere. In other words, somewhere, there’s a universe where you’re the person who wrote this blog post, and I’m the one reading it.
It’s a pretty mind-bending concept, but one that is a source of disagreement among scientists.
Cosmology itself is a specific subset of astrophysics and physics, so to help us understand the multiverse and answer questions submitted by our fans, Neil deGrasse Tyson has brought in an expert: Paul J. Steinhardt, Ph.D, the Albert Einstein Professor in Science and Director of the Princeton Center for Theoretical Science at Princeton University.
Not only is Paul one of the architects of the inflationary cosmology that is part of the Big Bang theory, but he also helped develop the theory of the multiverse that cast doubt on inflationary cosmology.
And that’s part of the problem. Paul hates the idea of the multiverse. According to him, it’s a failure of the theory, a breakdown.
It predicts nothing, and everything, and it’s not testable, so that makes it no longer scientifically interesting or valuable.
That’s where this episode starts, and it’s as easy as this episode is going to get.
Prepare yourself to grapple with big questions, like “Did the universe definitely start from a singularity and a Big Bang?”
And in-between questions, like, “How do you go from a quantum world to a classical world (described by general relativity)?
And small, really small questions, like “Are reality and gravity granular?”
But regardless of the question, specific answers are going to be hard to find.
In fact, the question that most characterizes this episode is one uttered by co-host Chuck Nice:
“What the hell are you talking about?”
Or, to quote a phrase frequently attributed to physicist Richard Feynman, “If you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don’t understand quantum mechanics.”
Find out what you don’t know for yourself this Friday. Listen to Cosmic Queries: The Multiverse, 7 pm EDT August 18, 2016 on iTunes Podcasts, Google Play Music, SoundCloud, Stitcher, TuneIn, and right here on our website.
That’s it for now. Keep Looking Up!