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February 09, 2007

New universes will be born from ours

Some physicists have argued that the universe is doomed to be ripped apart by runaway dark energy, while others think it is bouncing through an endless series of big bangs and big crunches. Now these two ideas are being combined to create another option, in which our universe ultimately shatters into billions of pieces, with each shard growing into a whole new universe. The model could solve the mystery of why our early universe was surprisingly well ordered.

Recent work with quantum computers seems to indicate that there are many universes. This new cosmological model feels closer to being right in my opinion.

In the new cosmological model, dark energy becomes very dense and sets the universe expanding at such a rate that it approaches the big rip. The universe tears into small patches that rush away from each other faster than the speed of light. But the destruction is then halted, as the density of dark energy becomes equal to the density of the universe. At this point, each patch crunches in on itself. "All the patches, of which there are a huge number, will separately contract into disparate universes," says Frampton. Each patch will then bounce outwards again, creating a new universe. Crucially, each patch only contains a fraction of the overall entropy of its parent universe - so each new universe starts out in a low entropy state, as required.

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