TECH

Inflation Discovery Could Confirm Existence Of Other Universes

20/03/2014 10:58 GMT | Updated 20/03/2014 11:00 GMT

We already knew that the announcement this week of the first direct evidence of cosmic inflation could rock the foundations of science.

We didn't really understand until now that it could also rock the foundations of the universe.

Scientists have said that the findings - if confirmed by peer review - could strengthen suspicions that there really are alternate or parallel universes existing alongside ours.

The research, led by John Kovac of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, is already among the most significant for years. So far, it seems to confirm the existence of gravitational waves, which are the 'ripples' in space time created in the very first moments after the big bang about 14 billion years ago.

In those moments, the universe expanded at a dramatic pace - many times the speed of light - and created the basis for everything we know and see around us.

Where it gets interesting for multiverse theorists is that most models of inflation we have today show that different parts of that hyper-dense early universe would have expanded at different speeds, creating "bubbles" of space time which would effectively be cut off from each other.

The result would be many bubble universes, co-existing but unable in most respects to interact.

Over at Space.com, several experts said that the new findings mean that such a model is more realistic than ever.

"In most of the models of inflation, if inflation is there, then the multiverse is there," said Stanford University theoretical physicist Andrei Linde - the star of a viral video in which he learns that his theory was correct.

"It's possible to invent models of inflation that do not allow [a] multiverse, but it's difficult. Every experiment that brings better credence to inflationary theory brings us much closer to hints that the multiverse is real."

Alan Guth, an MIT theoretical physicist, agreed, saying in a press conference that "there's still certainly research that needs to be done. But most models of inflation do lead to a multiverse, and evidence for inflation will be pushing us in the direction of taking [the idea of a] multiverse seriously."

So there we are - if this research is confirmed, it's not just our universe that's affected. It's all the others, too.