You wake up tomorrow morning, and everything goes as normal.
Then, you leave for work. As you leave, you get into your car, back out of the drive way and begin your commute. On the radio, you hear that there is an accident on the highway, and three of the five lanes are blocked.
You have a decision to make.
Take the highway, either as you normally would, or take one of the other three routes you’ve already mapped out.
According to the “Many Worlds Theory” of quantum physics, you actually make all four decisions resulting in four alternate outcomes, or alternate realities. The choices also result in different futures.
In 1957, American physicist Hugh Everett, III postulated that “whenever numerous viable possibilities exist, the world splits into many worlds, one world for each different possibility”1. A situation can start out the same in all of the universes; however, one small change in decision does result in different outcomes. Because of environment, society, weather, or other issues, a person can make a different choice than they would have under other conditions.
In the alternate universe of Fringe, Dr. “Walternate” Bishop comes up with a cure for the genetic disease his son is dying from. Unfortunately, he’s distracted by an Observer and doesn’t realize that he has completed the cure. However, in our universe, Dr. Bishop is unable to come up with the cure. He is, however, able to see when Walternate does, prompting Dr. Bishop to make the decision to go to the other universe to save the other Peter.
Another great example of this is in the Dr. Who episode “Turn Left”. If you are a fan of the series, you know what has happened up to this point between Dr. Who and his cool-as-all-get-out companion, Donna Noble (she’s my favorite companion).
On one seemingly innocuous day, Donna turns right at a corner instead of left. In turning right, events happen which lead to her meeting the Doctor.
However, in this particular episode, she turns left creating a parallel universe: One with devastating consequences for all.
Because of the theory that each person’s decisions as well as circumstances have different outcomes, there is time to contend with. Let me explain.
A 74 year-old man is flying a Cessna. In four different universes, four different outcomes could happen:
- He has a heart attack and dies, crashing the plane into a house killing all occupants because the electricity went out and turned off all of the clocks causing everyone to sleep in.
- He has a heart attack and dies, crashing the plane into a house and no one dies because the electricity didn’t go out and everyone left on time for work and school.
- He has a heart attack and is able to successfully land the plane on a street only crashing into an unoccupied car.
- He doesn’t have a heart attack and has a successful flight and landing.
With each of these situations the future (time) is different for all involved. Because of this, there are many different outcomes of this one situation (more than what I’ve named) which change the futures of all involved.
The possibilities for science fiction stories are endless when dealing with the Multiverse. Currently there are no solid theories for concretely proving the existence of or a way to travel to another universe.
Join me next week when I discuss Fringe’s idea of the killer cold virus.
- Are there parallel universes? (plus.maths.org)
- The Fringes of Another World (yiwashington.com)
- Science fiction, science fact: Are there parallel universes? (plus.maths.org)
A few weeks ago, I started a new series about the science of the show “Fringe”. In the first two posts, I started by telling you about Alternate Universes which is the major plot-line of the entire show.
This week, I am continuing the thread on the Alternate Universe theory. In the last post, I stated that I would now speak about the real life possibilities of crossing to another parallel universe. Want to hear about it? Here we go.
One of our favorite sci-fi action flicks is “The One”, starring the ever awesome Jet Li in multiple versions of one person, Gabe Law, Gabriel Yu Law, Lawless, etc. One of his “versions” even has dreadlocks!
If you’ve never seen this movie, beware, SPOILER ALERT!!
According to this movie, there are many alternate universes and in one of them, scientists discovered a way to jump to each one. Because of this discovery, people were able to go to these alternate realities and take whatever they wanted to make more money in their own universe.
As such, a police force, The Multiverse Authority, was established which would capture the renegades and send them to a penal universe called (appropriately) Hades Universe.
The MVA travel via natural wormholes which they can detect and manipulate as a bridge back to their own universe.
An officer of the MVA figures out by accident that if he goes to alternate universes and kills other versions of himself, he gets more powerful. He’s finally captured by his ex-partner, Harry Roedecker (played by the indomitable Delroy Lindo) and is in the process of being sent to Hades, when he escapes. And heads straight to our universe to kill the last of his Doppelgangers.
While some physicists have postulated that there is a Multiverse, (there are literally dozens of papers and articles about it), no one has figured out how to actually traverse the membranes. So far, one theory would be to create an Einstein-Rosen Bridge (wormhole) to pass through both membranes and cross the space in between, as is the case in the movie. However, without knowing exactly where the wormhole would end up, how to stabilize it, or anchor it, such a mode of transportation for travel within our universe is impossible, much less traveling to another universe altogether.
In Fringe, Dr Walter Bishop creates a machine that first acts as a window to show him the other side, until he destroys it in a fit of rage. The second machine he creates, allows him to walk through the membranes at a “soft spot”. By doing so, the soft spot becomes like a crack in a glass pane. The “crack” then spreads out and each time it hits another soft spot in the membrane, it causes issues for the other universe.
The reality is, that in order to punch through to another universe, Plank Energy would be needed. This is energy so intense that the fabric of space and time would be utterly destroyed.
Is it at all possible to create a stable wormhole to another universe? Only time will tell.
Please join me next week when I delve a little deeper into the “Many Worlds Theory” of alternate universes.
Imagine a whole world parallel to ours in which another you exists.
In this parallel world, Martin Luther King, Jr. was a president; the Twin Towers still stand and, oh yeah, there are daily flights to the moon.
However, to get to this alternate universe, one has to rip open the membrane of our reality and that of the other. And the ripping causes all manner of destruction on the other side.
This is the gist of one of the main themes in ”Fringe”. Dr. Walter Bishop, desperate to save his son Peter from a deadly genetic disease, uses a window which shows him his counterpart in the alternate world. Dr. Bishop’s son dies; however, the other Peter does not. Having seen the other Dr, Walternate, create a successful cure, Walter breaks the membrane, kidnaps the other Peter, brings him over to our side, cures him and then all hell breaks loose.
How close to truth is this story-line? Let’s find out.
In the early 1980′s a new theory came to light called the Inflation Theory. I won’t attempt to explain the whole idea; however, according to this theory we reside in a bubble universe. No matter how fast or far we travel in our universe, we will never get to the end of it. And there are, theoretically, other bubbles as well. These bubbles are other universes which together are called the Multiverse.
There is a belief that copies of each of us exists in these alternate or parallel universes and our decisions are different in each. In other words, in one universe, you decide to go to college, and in another you decide to go into the Marines. The outcome of each possible decision exists in one of the universes.
Physicist and author Brian Greene posits that each universe is an actual membrane. In “Fringe”, Walter Bishop finds a way to tear a hole into the membrane and walk through to the other side. Definitely a tale of just because we can doesn’t mean we should. The ensuing result, is other rips through the membranes which cause issues for the other side.
Is it possible to actually travel through our membrane to another? Come back next week and I’ll tell you what scientists have discovered.
One of my husband’s and my favorite show is “Fringe“.
If you haven’t seen it, you’ve missed one of the best shows on television.
True, the series has just concluded (sob, sob); however, thanks to The Science Channel and DVD’s, this groundbreaking show lives on.
What’s so great about this show, is that it introduces unorthodox and kinda out there scientific concepts to the masses. Concepts such as teleportation, mutated killer cold viruses, severely mutated parasites, parallel universes, alternate timelines, shape-shifters, time travel and transgenics, among others are showcased each week.
Some of these concepts have been done before; however, not like this. “Fringe” takes on-the-edge science ideas and pushes them over the cliff taking you on a thrilling bungee jump off the top of the Himalayas. Oh yeah, it’s just that good.
Having watched every episode (some of them repeatedly), I decided to do some research and see how some of these sci-fi concepts are being put to the test in the real world. For the next several weeks, I will share with you what I’ve found.
Shows like “Fringe”, “Through the Wormhole” and “Sci-Fi Science:Physics of the Impossible”, and even “Eureka”, tickle the imagination and take us to new fields of discovery. The ability to learn, research and explore further than we’ve ever gone before is what pushes humanity to new heights. Scientists like Neil deGrasse Tyson, Michio Kaku, Brian Cox and Phil Plait (a.k.a. the Bad Astronomer) make learning about the previously stereotyped science cool.
Come with me through the wormhole to the fringe science currently being researched. Soar with me to new heights, discover new concepts and get ready to have your mind blown, put back together and blown again.
From the first telling of the story of Pinocchio, the inanimate and mechanical have had a desire to become real.
This has been a story retold for over a century. Man has dreamt of creating a being that would love us unconditionally and develop into a true and loving child. Stories and movies such as the above mentioned Pinocchio, Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation, David from “A.I.” , the Andy’s from Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and Tom Servo from Mystery Science Theater 3000 (Ok, maybe not that last one, but you get my drift), and others tell a story of a desire for something to become like us–Human. The doll or machine’s journey usually includes showing Humanity from the eyes of something that can see not only our greatest qualities (which we take for granted) or our worst.
This iCub Humanoid Robot was created by the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (The Italian Institute of Technology). These robots, which are totally open sourced in their hardware and software, are the size of a 3.5 year-old child. Each one is used by various researchers throughout the world. However, DeeChee is used by computer scientist Caroline Lyon at the University of Hertfordshire, UK.
Dr. Lyon programmed DeeChee with about 40,000 syllables found in the English text. Next, they sat with it and began teaching it to speak. DeeChee, like a human baby, is learning how to speak from listening to a human teacher. The teacher speaks a color and symbol and shows it to DeeChee on a cube. DeeChee then goes through its systems and repeats what it thinks it’s hearing until it gets the right answers. Just like a baby!
Granted, DeeChee’s not able to speak a full sentence yet; but scientists are hopeful that this continued pattern of learning will teach robots to not only speak “more humanly”, but aid in creating newer ways to teach children to speak at an early age, as well as studying language acquisition.
Of course, the future uses of these amazing robots are still in the research stage. Scientists will continue updating the software and hardware to make them more human. Who knows, in another fifteen to twenty plus years, we may actually see androids akin to the ones portrayed in the movies, I, Robot or Terminator. However, whether or not they will ever have the ability to become human is still a long way of, if not impossible.
Baby Robot Learns First Words (news.discovery.com)
Very recently I went with my husband to his Physical Therapy appointment and had a really great conversation with one of the receptionists. She, like me, is a Science Fiction Geek and proud of it. So I figured I’d have a little fun today and salute all the Speculative Fiction Geeks out there. If you read this list and you can relate to or understand more than half of the following statements, (without using Google, Ask or Wikipedia) then stand up and be proud: Because you, yes you, are a Geek!
- You take off from work to watch the coverage of the E3 convention on G4.
- You take off from work to watch the coverage of ComicCon on G4.
- If you live in the Southeast, your celebrate Labor Day weekend in Atlanta at DragonCon.
- You know all of the words to the theme song from “Firefly”. (And you just started singing it.)
- When you see Adam Baldwin on-screen you immediately yell, “JAYNE!” (“Know what the chain of command is? It’s a chain I go get and beat you with till you know who’s in command” )
- You own t-shirts from some or all of the following:
- Star Trek
- Star Wars
- Your favorite video games
- The Chronicles of Riddick
- You know all the words to all 6 Star Wars movies.
- The first time you watched “LOTR: The Fellowship of the Rings” and saw Bilbo Baggins, you had flashbacks to the
movie Alien(ASH: You still don’t understand what you’re dealing with, do you? Perfect organism. Its structural perfection is matched only by its hostility. I admire its purity. A survivor… unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality)
- You know who HAL 9000 is and you’re slightly afraid of him.
- You own either a toy Lightsaber, a Star Trek Communicator, or a replica of the Battlestar Galactica (or all three).
- You believe Wormwholes are possible.
- You want Vasquez’s gun from “Aliens”.
- You know that “Soylent Green” is a type of food in the future. And you’re in no hurry to try it out.
- You know how to tell the difference between Pod People and real humans.
- You own the mask from “Scream”.
- You consider Halo and Mass Effect training for future alien invasions.
- Your idea of social networking is “World of Warcraft”.
- You speak fluent Klingon.
- You wanted to go to Battle School after reading “Ender’s Game“.
- You often wonder who would win in a no-holds-barred fight between Batman and Superman.
- You know who Goku, Gohan and Vegeta are.
- You understand why “Save the Cheerleader; Save the World” is important.
- You know the secret of The Spice. (No, I don’t mean Spice Girls.)
- You realize that driving in traffic would be more fun with a Zat’nik’tel gun. (Personally, I’d like a Staff Weapon welded to the front of my truck!).
- You know the best way to kill a zombie is a bullet to the brain pan.