Tiny Bubbles

Science Men now believe they possess experimental data indicating the existence of multiple universes.

We already know that such universes exist. But Science Men, being Science Men, like to have something they can call “proof.”

Formerly, Dr. Hiranya Peiris, a cosmologist at University College London, had written with her colleagues a paper for Physical Review Letters, in which it was noted that there do exist Difficulties, in trying to observe other possible universes, from within the “bubble” of this one.

However, Dr. Peiris—who, as a female homo sapiens, validates Dr. Possum’s repeated assertions on this blog that some Science Men are, in fact, women—in that paper proposed an inspired solution.

To wit:

The inflationary para-digm has been very successful at explaining the initial conditions giving rise to our observable universe. Considering the initial conditions for inflation itself leads to the possibility that our observable universe might only be a tiny piece of a vast multiverse. In this scenario, known as eternal inflation, our observable universe resides inside a single bubble nucleated out of a false vacuum de Sitter space. The rate of bubble formation is outpaced by the accelerated expansion of the inflating false vacuum, and therefore inflation does not end everywhere.

Eternal inflation is ubiquitous in theories with extra dimensions (string theory being the primary example) and positive vacuum energy. However, testing this scenario is extremely difficult since eternal inflation is a pre-inflationary epoch: any signals from outside of our bubble would naively appear to be stretched to unobservable super-horizon scales. While this is in general true, one prospect for probing this epoch lies in the observation of the collisions between vacuum bubbles. These collisions produce inhomogeneities in the inner-bubble cosmology, raising the possibility that their effects are imprinted in the cosmic microwave background.

And lo: that is just what has been done. Through scrutinizing seven years of data from the Wilkinson Microwave Anistotropy Prove, which presents in minute detail the residual glow from the moments of this universe’s formation, Peiris and her people have detected, through just such afore-referenced “collisions,” remnants of several extra-this-place “bubble universes.”

And thus:

The idea that other universes—as well as our own—lie within “bubbles” of space and time has received a boost.

Studies of the low-temperature glow left from the Big Bang suggest that several of these “bubble universes” may have left marks on our own.

Though, then, to the BBC, to, like, bring us all down, Dr. Peiris throws this wet blanket:

Dr Peiris said that even if these bubble universes were confirmed, we could never learn anything further about them.

“It would be wonderful to be able to go outside our bubble, but it’s not going to be possible,” she explained.

Bollocks. With respect, here, I think the good doctor is thinking too small. As I have observed on this blog before, when I was but a wee lad, no one with a Right Mind even believed that “multiverses” existed, except in the too-fertile minds of aberrant science-fiction writers. Yet, today—behold: this piece—they are Real.

So, who’s to say we “can’t” go outside the bubble of this universe? Certainly not I. And that is why I am even now preparing to enter into an experiment, with an esteemed extra-gifted colleague, in which these bubbles of space and time shall, hopefully, be utilized to move breakfast from one place, and worldtrack, on this planet, to another place, but same worldtrack, on this same planet.

Stay tuned. Brave new world(s).

Here is some of the cool language from the preview of the actual Science Wo/Man paper on the bubble universes:

In the picture of eternal inflation, our observable universe resides inside a single bubble nucleated from an inflating false vacuum. Many of the theories giving rise to eternal inflation predict that we have causal access to collisions with other bubble universes, providing an opportunity to confront these theories with observation. We present the results from the first observational search for the effects of bubble collisions, using cosmic microwave background data from the WMAP satellite. Our search targets a generic set of properties associated with a bubble collision spacetime, which we describe in detail. We use a modular algorithm that is designed to avoid a posteriori selection effects, automatically picking out the most promising signals, performing a search for causal boundaries, and conducting a full Bayesian parameter estimation and model selection analysis.

And so yes, if we have, as it is written above, “causal access” to other bubble universes, it should be possible to use them to transport breakfast.

If there is “causal access,” then they are “close together” (as Dr. Peiri says below); if they are close together, electrons stray across membranes; and if electrons stray across membranes, said electrons, at our service, can be used to move breakfast.

I mean: really. To perceive the Reality of this, all one has to do is consult an advanced quantum-physics text. Like, say, Anathem.

Even Dr. Peiris, while fretfully counseling impossibility, unwittingly acknowledges the possible: “They’re born close together—that’s when the collision happens[.].”

George Efstathiou, director of the Kavli Institute of Cosmology at the University of Cambridge, basically admits that people like Dr. Peiris are akin to Moses, and it will be up to new Joshuas to travel yonder:

“My own personal view is that it will need new physics to solve this problem,” he told BBC News. “But just because there are profound theory difficulties doesn’t mean one shouldn’t take the picture seriously.”

Professor Efstathiou said the search was inherently worth it. He explained: “It would be a pretty amazing thing to show that we have actually made physical contact in another universe. It’s a long shot, but it would be very profound for physics.”

Why these bubbles of space and time might first be used experimentally, by people marooned in this particular space and time, to “make physical contact in another universe” by, uh, teleporting breakfast, can best be understood by apprehending the traditionally secret and unacknowledged Meaning Of Breakfast, to the more outre people sentenced to this planet.

One of the boldest, and most recent, explications of said Meaning Of Breakfast, was inscribed, as follows, by Terran visitor Dr. Hunter S. Thompson:

I like to eat breakfast alone, and almost never before noon; anybody with a terminally jangled lifestyle needs at least one psychic anchor every 24 hours, and mine is breakfast. In Hong Kong, Dallas or at home—and regardless of whether or not I have been to bed—breakfast is a personal ritual that can only be properly observed alone, and in a spirit of genuine excess. The food factor should always be massive: four Bloody Marys, two grapefruits, a pot of coffee, Rangoon crepes, a half-pound of either sausage, bacon or corned beef hash with diced chilies, a Spanish omelette or eggs Benedict, a quart of milk, a chopped lemon for random seasoning, and something like a slice of key lime pie, two margaritas and six lines of the best cocaine for dessert . . . . Right, and there should also be two or three newspapers, all mail and messages, a telephone, a notebook for planning the next 24 hours, and at least one source of good music . . . . All of which should be dealt with outside, in the warmth of a hot sun, and preferably stone naked.

Nothing as ornate and excessive and opulent and obscene as this is envisioned in the Experiment. We are instead intent on moving, through the bubbles, but scrambled eggs. Maybe a sausage.

Still. The Principle, is the same.

Regretfully, I must report that The Breakfast Project is classified. So, I may say no more about it. And, it is possible that you may never hear of it again. No matter how many eggs may be sent successfully scrambling around the universes. Or not. One never knows. Here: there: everywhere. Which is why, you should try, it yourself.

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4 Responses to “Tiny Bubbles”


  1. 1 possum August 9, 2011 at 3:49 am

    Ahhh, the glories of Science Women (and Men). Even they may be wrong sometimes. “Dr Peiris said that even if these bubble universes were confirmed, we could never learn anything further about them.

    “It would be wonderful to be able to go outside our bubble, but it’s not going to be possible,” she explained.” In science the impossible is often found to be possible after all. Boundaries are put in place to stimulate exploration. Anyone who states anything in science is impossible is very likely to find themselves proven wrong. At the rate of advance these days that very proof may come sooner than one thinks.

    But for the moment, we can leave Science Woman to bask in her glory. In Possum Valley the women are considered to be right until they themselves admit to a mistake. No smart man goes about pointing out the error of any woman’s ways.

    • 2 bluenred August 9, 2011 at 9:14 am

      So. Do you speak from experience, in noting the possibility of venturing outside the bubble of this universe?

      Do tell. ; )

  2. 3 possum August 9, 2011 at 11:05 am

    Dreaming only. Been reading science fiction far too long. But observing the past and so many who were so sure things would not be possible the opinion that nothing is impossible reigns in Possum Valley.

    • 4 bluenred August 9, 2011 at 1:34 pm

      Probably you’re right. For instance, it was not impossible that 40% of the people in Possum Valley and environs would vote for Christine O’Kooky. : /


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