February 23, 2006 10:00 p.m. EST
Andrea Moore - All Headline News Staff Reporter
Fairfax, Virginia (AHN) - According to a controversial new analysis,
researchers say our universe may one day be obliterated or assimilated
by a larger universe.
The work suggests the parallel universes
proposed by some quantum theorists may not actually be parallel, but
could interact with disastrous consequences.
Robin Hanson of
George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia says, "This is what the
math suggests if you take it literally." But the idea that "every
microsecond, the universe splits into a bunch more universes boggles
Hanson is taking a new approach to the "many worlds"
interpretation, arguing that multiple universes are not actually
independent, as was thought, but interacting and sometimes destructive.
theory states that all universes are not created equal - each "parent"
universe is much larger according to a particular quantum measure than
its later descendants. Hanson says, the interactions can "smash or
mangle the small worlds." He believes the small universes would be
either destroyed or assimilated by the large universes, like specks of
dust colliding with a planet.
Hanson's theory suggests the
universe we live in now could be mangled at any moment by a larger
universe. He says, "It could be there's a moment of pain before the
end. But you could be comforted by the fact that versions of you will
go on, even if you don't."