The late, great Professor Stephen Hawking’s final scientific paper demonstrates both how we could determine the existence of a multiverse and how we’re all ultimately doomed.
He finished the paper just two weeks before his death. It explains mathematically how a space probe could, theoretically, determine once and for all whether the ‘multiverse’ idea is correct, and we inhabit one of many universes (making the ‘uni’ part of ‘universe’ inaccurate).
Hawking was always fascinated by the idea - essentially, the theory suggests that the Big Bang that brought our universe into being must have been accompanied by an infinite number of other Big Bangs bringing an infinite number of universes into existence. The maths doesn’t support the instantaneous ‘inflation’ from something to nothing without it happening infinite times at once, because of… hahaha, not a clue, because of the kind of science that divides the Professor Stephen Hawkings of the world from the rest of us.
With co-author Professor Thomas Hertog, Hawking’s final paper aims to take the paradoxes created by the theory and make them measurable, objective, provable. “We wanted to transform the idea of a multiverse into a testable scientific framework,” said Hertog.
All lovely and upbeat so far, but one implication of the paper is that, if it does turn out to be provable, in his final paper, Professor Stephen Hawking has predicted the death of our universe - the theory has it ultimately running out of energy and fizzling into nothingness, the whole universe reduced to less than a memory.
Professor Carlos Frenk of Durham University told The Times: “A consequence of inflation is that there should be a multitude of universes, but we have never been able to measure this. The intriguing idea in Hawking’s paper is that [the multiverse] left its imprint on the background radiation permeating our universe and we could measure it with a detector on a spaceship. These ideas offer the breathtaking prospect of finding evidence for the existence of other universes. This would profoundly change our perception of our place in the cosmos.”
Hawking and Hertog’s paper is currently in review by the journal it was submitted to, and will eventually be published.
Given that Hawking was given two years to live when he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease back in 1963, it’s fairly incredible that there’ll soon be a paper out under the name ‘Hawking et al (2018)’. That’s properly crackers. Puts the whole “eventually the universe will die, entirely die, and every trace of everyone who ever existed, every story ever told, every idea ever formed, everything, everyone who ever lived, who ever loved, absolutely everything will be gone, not even an absence, an absence of an absence, nothing, nothing anywhere, nothing at all” thing into perspective.