Let's Break Your Brain

Via David Brin’s blog (have you not read anything by David Brin? No? What the hell’s wrong with you?) I found this article regarding another idea about the ultimate fate of our universe; rather than the ultimate heat death as has been occasionally predicted, or the Big Crunch as has alternately predicted, this new model suggests that if there’s enough "dark energy", then the universe will eventually rip apart into little shards that become new universes themselves.  Our own universe may have begun as a shard of a previously exploded universe; this would explain how it was that our universe, at the very beginning, started out in a state of high order instead of disorder, since as the shards rip apart from the exploded universe, they take along with them high states of order.  As the universe transitions from the state of high order to disorder, all kinds of neat things happen: galaxies, stars, planets, life, and so on.  Everything we know, see, etc., it’s all the universe just running down from its original highly ordered state.  Until the universe explodes, creating new daughter universes that will begin their own processes of entropy.  And so on.

The problem with this model, as Brin explains it, is that it requires an actual empty space for universes to explode into.  No big deal, except that standard models of the universe and of the Big Bang over the past fifty years or so have all suggested that the Big Bang did not explode into empty space, because empty space came into being as part of the Big Bang itself.  In a way, the new model of universes exploding into empty space makes a little more sense, because it’s easier to think of empty space rather than… well, than nothing, not even space.  Although I imagine that the empty space into which these daughter universes explode is very different from the empty space that we think of as existing between the galaxies or between President Bush’s ears.  The spacetime into which a universe comes into being is flat, rather than curved as the empty space in our own universe is.

Damn cosmologists.  Just when we get used to one counter-intuitive, paradoxical idea of how the universe works, they come up with another.  I swear, they do this to us on purpose.

Now, if pondering the Big Bang and the nature of the universe, hasn’t broken your brain, perhaps this video — which my younger sister first clued me in to — will do the job. Below the fold and through the cut. Enjoy.

As my little sister said to me: "You’ve watched it.  You can’t unwatch it."

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