Three Ways Universes Might Come Into Being
by David Sims
THINGS come into existence in accordance with probability distributions. The observable phenomenon called the Casimir Effect is an example. If you hang two conductive (e.g. aluminum, copper) plates in parallel and near to each other, they will prevent the random appearance of fluctuations of vacuum energy having a wavelength longer than the plates’ separation. This will reduce the vacuum pressure between the plates, making the pressure on their outside faces higher than the pressure on their inside faces. The plates will be pushed together by nothing more than a differential in vacuum energy.
The Casimir Effect is important because it proves a predicted result of the uncertainty principle in quantum physics: That random fluctuations of energy in vacuum occur. Most of them are too weak to cause pair production, such as the creation of an electron-positron particle pair, but a small fraction of vacuum fluctuations can and do.
These energy fluctuations probably follow a Planck distribution, such that the higher is the energy of the fluctuation you’re looking for, the rarer will be the occasions on which you find one. However, rare isn’t never. However great the energy you require, if you wait long enough, then it will happen. Long enough might involve more time than the present age of the Universe, but it is still true in principle.
The Planck energy [ √(ћc⁵/G) = 1.956082e+9 J ] is very, very large on the quantum scale, but if an energy fluctuation were to bring into being that much energy in a small enough space, it would instantly be enclosed by an event horizon. It would be a quantum-sized black hole. Black holes have no antiparticle, and these particular black holes would violate the conservation of energy locally were they to decay by Hawking radiation. So what they do instead is detach from our Universe and take up a separate existence in a spacetime having only a single quantum state or a small number thereof, depending on how quantum gravity works — which we don’t know yet.
These circumstances violate the uncertainty principle, resulting in the decay of the singular quantum state into a plurality of states, in a process of which you might have heard called inflation.
This is one of the hypothesized ways in which new universes are born. No gods required.
Now there are two other hypotheses that, while not scientific themselves (they aren’t presently testable), arise from what has become known from science. One of them is eternal inflation. The other is the Everett (or many-worlds) interpretation of quantum mechanics.
So, we have three candidate processes for the genesis of universes, and none of them involve creator gods.
* * *