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Seriously, Was Our Universe Created In A Lab?

Seriously. Scientific American has a nice article describing how we're a lab experiment.

A less explored possibility is that our universe was created in the laboratory of an advanced technological civilization. Since our universe has a flat geometry with a zero net energy, an advanced civilization could have developed a technology that created a baby universe out of nothing through quantum tunneling.

This possible origin story unifies the religious notion of a creator with the secular notion of quantum gravity. We do not possess a predictive theory that combines the two pillars of modern physics: quantum mechanics and gravity. But a more advanced civilization might have accomplished this feat and mastered the technology of creating baby universes.

If that happened, then not only could it account for the origin of our universe but it would also suggest that a universe like our own—which in this picture hosts an advanced technological civilization that gives birth to a new flat universe—is like a biological system that maintains the longevity of its genetic material through multiple generations.

Scientifiction and science fiction writers have been describing how somebody could create a universe since the Thirties at least.

I love how they're always found in old mansions, the perfect place to build a micro-cosmos (or microcosm):

The big, deep basement of the old mansion had been thrown into one great room. Along its walls was arranged a tangle of high-powered electrical apparatus, motor-generators and condensers and transformers, linked by bewildering wiring. But at the center of the room rested an object that dwarfed all else. It was a steel sphere thirty feet in diameter, supported by a set of giant gimbals. The upper part of the house directly over it had been partially cut away to make foom for it.

Felton observed that in the steel wall of the sphere at one point was a round glass window, and beside the window were the eye-pieces of telescope-like instruments that were set in the wall. Into the sphere at two points ran wiring from the massed apparatus.

He turned inquiringly to the astrophysicist. “What in the world is that?” Doctor Robine’s eyes were brilliant, but he only answered evenly, “It is an instrument with which I am going to create a microcosm.”

“A microcosm?”

“Yes, an exact but infinitely smaller replica of the great cosmos in which we live. Atom for atom it will be identical with our cosmos, but the atoms of the microcosm will be infinitely smaller and so the tiny cosmos they make up will be infinitely smaller — so small, in fact, that that steel sphere will contain the whole microcosm.”

You'll need a micro-telescope to be able to see the one that Edmond Hamilton describes in The Cosmic Pantograph, a 1935 classic published by Wonder Stories.

Felton applied his own eye to the other eyepiece. Instantly it was as though one of the tiny clouds of sparks of the microcosm inside the sphere leaped to vision in immensely greater size. Now he saw that galaxy of the microcosm as though from close at hand, and it filled the whole field of his vision. It was no mere patch of sparks now but a great assemblage of swarming suns and nebulae, roughly spiral in shape and turning slowly in space.

Hamilton loved this idea, using it again in his 1937 story Fessenden's World:


(Fessenden's World by Edmond Hamilton)

Via Scientific American.

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