Researchers at Towson University and the University of Maryland, College Park, have created the world’s first multiverse of universes in a lab, according to a story by ExtremeTech.
A multiverse, according to Merriam-Webster, is “a theoretical reality that includes a possibly infinite number of parallel universes.”
Vera Smolyaninov, a TU physics professor, is a member of the team of scientists that has developed a metamaterial that forms multiple universes. This metamaterial is a simple concoction of cobalt, kerosene and a magnetic field, through which light passes to form Minkowski spacetimes—universes similar to our own but that include time as a fourth dimension.
There are two key takeaways here: First, metamaterials are usually rather hard to manufacture — and yet here the researchers have seemingly discovered a self-organizing metamaterial. Second, this is the first ever time that new universes have been created in a laboratory setting.
This is about as bleeding-edge as it gets, so we’re not exactly sure what avenues of research this opens up, but Smolyaninov suggests that they could be used to study how particles behave in universes with different properties than our own. Our universe has fairly firm rules on how particles behave, but it might be interesting to create a pet universe where, say, photons have mass and light travels really slowly.
- Department of Physics, Astronomy and Geosciences
- Jess and Mildred Fisher College of Science and Mathematics