Flicking through the iPlayer catalog this morning I noticed an Horizon program I hadn’t seen before. It was apparently first broadcast in October 2010, but must have been repeated recently for it to show up again. It is called What Happened Before the Big Bang? and it deals with the current state of bleeding edge cosmological theory.
Cosmologists are understandably concerned about the Big Bang theory because it appears to create something from nothing, and this program checked in on a number of possible explanations as to how that might have come about. They include things like repeating cycles of expansion and collapse, and the idea that our universe was born inside a black hole in another universe. However, I want to talk about just one of the alternatives.
This particular theory was first published in 2006 by Dr. Laura Mersini-Houghton, an Albanian physicist currently working at the University of North Carolina. I’m not sure if it has a name, but it is mathematical treatment of string theory that views the universe as a wave form. The interesting thing about it is that it purports to explain some existing cosmological mysteries such as Dark Flow. Perhaps most excitingly for SF writers, Mersini-Houghton’s theory not only postulates the existence of multiple universes, but claims that we can actually see evidence of one.
I am, of course, in no way equipped to judge such theories, though I’m aware that string theory itself is still controversial. I am, however, rather pleased with the prospect that other universes might exist, and that they have been discovered by a woman physicist from Albania. If anyone reading this knows more about the subject, please do comment. I’m also hoping that if I type the magic words “Hannu Rajaniemi” loudly enough that an expert on string theory might drop by and explain things to me.