Groundbreaking theory suggests a ‘multiverse’

The UD professors' 1997 publication remains one of the major documents on the subject.

Written by PTI | Washington | Published:June 23, 2013 12:50 pm

A groundbreaking theory proposed 15 years ago by physicists that suggests the presence of ‘multiverse’ or multiple universes may be correct,according to some top US scientists.

If the theory,proposed in 1997 by three University of Delaware physicists is true,then it could debunk some of the discoveries scientists were hoping to make at the Large Hadron Collider,the huge,multi-billion-dollar particle accelerator in Geneva,Switzerland,where the famous “Higgs boson” was recently discovered,researchers said.

It would also suggest that we might be living in a “multiverse” – a universe that is much bigger than was once thought and in which the laws of physics take different forms in different places,according to an article in Scientific American,published by Simons Science News.

Linking to an influential paper by UD physics professors Stephen M Barr,David Seckel,then-graduate student Vivek Agrawal,and John F Donoghue,a professor and colleague at the University of Massachusetts,Amherst,the article examines the “principle of naturalness,” which for decades has been thought to govern the size of the numbers appearing in the laws of physics.

Generally,whenever some quantity was found to be much smaller than what physicists had thought to be its “natural” value,some new force,mechanism,or symmetry was discovered that explained the anomaly.

The UD professors’ 1997 publication remains one of the major documents on the subject.

“It all has to do with one of the main theoretical puzzles in fundamental physics. Why is the mass of the Higgs particle 17 orders of magnitude smaller than its ‘natural’ value?” Barr said in a statement.

Two explanations have been proposed,and both of them predict new phenomena that should be seen by the LHC. But so far,there is no hint of them,researchers said.

“That is why our radical proposal nearly 15 years ago is attracting increasing attention,” he added.

Their idea is that the Higgs boson mass has to have an “unnaturally” small value for life to be possible. In other words,if it didn’t,we wouldn’t be here.

Barr explained that one way to account for this is to say that the Higgs boson mass varies place to place (which can happen in a multiverse) and only in those rare places where it has the right,unnaturally small value would life emerge and someone exist who could measure it.

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