(TMU) — New research into black holes has accelerated in recent years, producing some outlandish—though mind-boggling—ideas. The newest theory advanced by researchers may take the cake in this regard.A team of astrophysicists at Canada’s University of Waterloo have put forth a theory suggesting that our universe exists inside the event horizon of a massive higher dimensional black hole nested within a larger mother universe.
Perhaps even more strangely, scientists say this radical proposition is consistent with astronomical and cosmological observations and that theoretically, such a reality could inch us closer to the long-awaited theory of “quantum gravity.”
The research team at Waterloo used laws from string theory to imagine a lower-dimensional universe marooned inside the membrane of a higher dimensional one.
Lead researcher Robert Mann said:
”The basic idea was that maybe the singularity of the universe is like the singularity at the centre of a black hole. The idea was in some sense motivated by trying to unify the notion of singularity, or what is incompleteness in general relativity between black holes and cosmology. And so out of that came the idea that the Big Bang would be analogous to the formation of a black hole, but kind of in reverse.”
The research was based on the previous work of professor Niayesh Afshordi, though he is hardly the only scientist who has looked into the possibility of a black hole singularity birthing a universe.
Nikodem Poplawski of the University of New Haven imagines the seed of the universe like the seed of a plant—a core of fundamental information compressed inside of a shell that shields it from the outside world. Poplawski says this is essentially what a black hole is, a protective shell around a black hole singularity ravaged by extreme tidal forces creating a kind of torsion mechanism.
Compressed tightly enough—as scientists imagine is the case at the singularity of a black hole, which may break down the known laws of physics—the torsion could produce a spring-loaded effect comparable to a jack-in-the-box. The subsequent “big bounce” may have been our Big Bang, which took place inside the collapsed remnants of a five-dimensional star.
Poplawski also suggested that black holes could be portals connecting universes. Each black hole, he says, could be a “one-way door” to another universe, or perhaps the multiverse.
Regardless of whether or not this provocative theory is true, scientists increasingly believe that black holes could be the key to understanding many of the most vexing mysteries in the universe, including the Big Bang, inflation, and dark energy. Physicists also believe black holes could help bridge the divide between quantum mechanics and Einstein’s theory of relativity.
Alien civilizations may be forced to capture stars and harness their energy using ginormous structures – all to keep themselves alive in the cold, ever-expanding vastness of universe, a Fermilab cosmologist believes.
Expansion of the universe, thought to be further accelerated by dark energy, is flinging matter apart, while galaxies are being pushed away from each other. This is a challenge alien technologies will have to deal with in order for them to survive, Dan Hooper, a senior Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory scientist, writes in a new study.
The paper looks at the use of megastructures, popularly known as Dyson spheres, which may theoretically be built around stars to harvest their energy. But it goes further than that, arguing that the huge balls of gas will also have to be shifted in their course so as not to escape the energy-hungry aliens.
“In order to maximise its access to useable energy, a sufficiently advanced civilisation would chose to expand rapidly outward, build Dyson Spheres or similar structures around encountered stars, and use the energy that is harnessed to accelerate those stars away from the approaching horizon and toward the centre of the civilization,” Hooper, who is also a professor of astronomy at the University of Chicago, writes.
While the futuristic scenario may or may not be already playing out somewhere in the universe, the study suggested that “any sufficiently advanced civilization” which is faced with the problem of possible isolation, will be prompted to start hunting for available stars in order “to secure as many of them as possible” before it is too late to reach them and extract their energy.
“Over the next approximately 100 billion years, all stars residing beyond the Local Group will fall beyond the cosmic horizon and become not only unobservable, but entirely inaccessible, thus limiting how much energy could one day be extracted from them,” Hooper writes.
Considering distances measured in billions of light years between us and the cosmic horizon, aliens could already be grabbing and moving stars, the study has admitted.
Hooper, however, remains skeptical that harvesting energy from stars can be something doable for humans at the present moment. But given that the human race will eventually reach the limit of our planet’s resources, the idea of fishing for stars to extract their energy may not seem so surreal in the future – unless some other race comes to snatch our Sun for their needs first.
Martin Rees is Emeritus Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics, at the University of Cambridge, the Astronomer Royal, a member of Britain’s House of Lords, and a former President of the Royal Society. The following interview was conducted at Trinity College, Cambridge, by The Conversation’s Matt Warren.
Q: How big is the universe … and is it the only one?
Our cosmic horizons have grown enormously over the last century, but there is a definite limit to the size of the observable universe. It contains all the things from which light has been able to reach us since the Big Bang, about 14 billion years ago. But the new realisation is that the observable universe may not be all of reality. There may be more beyond the horizon, just as there’s more beyond the horizon when you’re observing the ocean from a boat.
What’s more, the galaxies are likely to go on and on beyond this horizon, but more interestingly, there is a possibility that our Big Bang was not the only one. There may have been others, spawning other universes, disconnected from ours and therefore not observable, and possibly even governed by different physical laws. Physical reality on this vast scale could therefore be much more varied and interesting than what we can observe.
The universe we can observe is governed by the same laws everywhere. We can observe a distant galaxy and see that the atoms emitting the light are just the same as the ones in the lab. But there may be physical domains that are governed by completely different laws. Some may have no gravity, or not allow for nuclear physics. Ours may not even be a typical domain.
Even in our own universe, there are only so many ways you can assemble the same atoms, so if it is large enough it is possible that there is another Earth, even another avatar you. If this were the case, however, the universe would have to be bigger than the observable one by a number which to write down would require all the atoms in the universe. Rest assured, if there’s another you, they are a very, very long way away. They might even be making the same mistakes.
Q: So how likely is alien life in this vast expanse?
We know now that planets exist around many, even most, stars. We know that in our Milky Way galaxy there are likely millions of planets that are in many ways like the Earth, with liquid water. The question then is whether life has developed on them – and we can’t yet answer that.
Although we know how via Darwinian selection a complex biosphere evolved on Earth around 4 billion years ago, we don’t yet understand the actual origin of life – the transition from complex chemistry to the first metabolising, replicating structures. The good news is that we will have a better idea of how that happened within the next ten or 20 years and crucially, how likely it was to happen. This will give us a better understanding of how likely it is to happen elsewhere. In that time, we will also have technologies that will allow us to better search for alien life.
But just because there’s life elsewhere doesn’t mean that there is intelligent life. My guess is that if we do detect an alien intelligence, it will be nothing like us. It will be some sort of electronic entity.
If we look at our history on Earth, it has taken about 4 billion years to get from the first protozoa to our current, technological civilisation. But if we look into the future, then it’s quite likely that within a few centuries, machines will have taken over – and they will then have billions of years ahead of them.
In other words, the period of time occupied by organic intelligence is just a thin sliver between early life and the long era of the machines. Because such civilisations would develop at different rates, it’s extremely unlikely that we will find intelligent life at the same stage of development as us. More likely, that life will still be either far simpler, or an already fully electronic intelligence.
Q: Do you believe that machines will develop intelligence?
There are many people who would bet on it. The second question, however, is whether that necessarily implies consciousness – or whether that is limited to the wet intelligence we have within our skulls. Most people, however, would argue that it is an emergent property and could develop in a machine mind.
Q: So if the universe is populated by electronic super minds, what questions will they be pondering?
We can’t conceive that any more than a chimp can guess the things that we spend our time thinking about. I would guess, however, that these minds aren’t on planets. While we depend on a planet and an atmosphere, these entities would be happy in zero G, floating freely in space. This might make them even harder to detect.
Q: How would humanity respond to the discovery of alien life?
It would certainly make the universe more interesting, but it would also make us less unique. The question is whether it would provoke in us any sense of cosmic modesty. Conversely, if all our searches for life fail, we’d know more certainly that this small planet really is the one special place, the single pale, blue dot where life has emerged. That would make what happens to it not just of global significance, but an issue of galactic importance, too.
And we are likely to be fixed to this world. We will be able to look deeper and deeper into space, but travelling to worlds beyond our solar system will be a post-human enterprise. The journey times are just too great for mortal minds and bodies. If you’re immortal, however, these distances become far less daunting. That journey will be made by robots, not us.
Q: What scientific advances would you like to see over the coming century?
Cheap, clean energy, for one. Artificial meat is another. But the idea is often easier than the application. I like to tell my students the story of two beavers standing in front of a huge hydroelectric dam. “Did you build that?” asks one. “No,” says the other. “But it is based on my idea”. That’s the essential balance between scientific insight and engineering development.
Q: Michael Gove [the British politician who was a leader of the campaign for the UK to leave the EU] said people have had enough of experts. Have they?
I wouldn’t expect anything more from Mr Gove, but there is clearly a role for experts. If we’re sick, we go to a doctor, we don’t look randomly on the internet. But we must also realise that most experts only have expertise within their own area, and if we are scientists we should accept that. When science impacts on public policy, there will be elements of economics, ethics and politics where we as scientists speak only as laymen. We need to know where the demarcation line is between where we are experts and where we are just citizens.
If you want to influence public policy as a scientist, there are two ways to do it. You can aspire to be an adviser within government, which can be very frustrating. Or you can try and influence policy indirectly. Politicians are very much driven by what’s in their inbox and what’s in the press, so the scientists with the greatest influence are those who go public, and speak to everyday people. If an idea is picked up by voters, the politicians won’t ignore it.
Q: Brexit – good or bad?
I am surprised to find myself agreeing with Lord Heseltine [former UK Conservative government minister] and Tony Blair [former Labour prime minister], but it is a real disaster, which we have stumbled into. There is a lot of blame to be shared around, by Boris Johnson et al, but also by Jeremy Corbyn [leader of the UK Labour party] for not fighting his corner properly. I have been a member of the Labour Party for a very long time, but I feel badly let down by Corbyn – especially as Labour voters supported Remain two to one. He has been an ineffective leader, and also ambivalent on this issue. A different leader, making a vocal case for Remain, could have tilted the vote.
On the other side, Boris Johnson [now UK foreign secretary – who campaigned for Britain to leave the EU] has been most reprehensible. At least Gove has opinions, which he has long expressed. Boris Johnson had no strong opinions, and the honourable thing to do if that is the case is to remain quiet. But he changed his stance opportunistically (as in the Eton debating society) and swung the vote.
Q: But why is it such a disaster?
My concerns are broad geopolitical ones. In the world as it is now, with America becoming isolationist and an increasingly dominant Russia, for Europe to establish itself as a united and powerful counterweight is more important than ever. We are jeopardising something that has held Europe together, in peace, for 60 years, and could also break up the United Kingdom in the process. We will be remembered for that and it is something to deplore.
One thing astronomers bring to the table is an awareness that we have a long potential future, as well as the universe’s long past – and that this future could be jeopardised by what happens in the coming decades.
Q: More broadly, how much danger is the human race in?
I have spent a lot of time considering how we as a species can make it into the next century – and there are two main classes of problems. First, the collective impact of humanity as its footprint on the planet increases due to a growing population more demanding of resources. Second, the possible misuse by error or design of ever more powerful technology – and most worryingly, bio-tech.
There is certainly a high chance of a major global setback this century, most likely from the second threat, which increasingly allows individual groups to have a global impact. Added to this is the fact that the world is increasingly connected, so anything that happens has a global resonance. This is something new and actually makes us more vulnerable as a species than at any time in our past.
Q: So terrorism will pose an even greater threat in the coming century?
Yes, because of these technologies, terrorists or fanatics will be able to have a greater impact. But there’s also the simple danger of these technologies being misused. Engineering or changing viruses, for example, can be used in benign ways – to eradicate Zika, for example – but there’s obviously a risk that such things can get out of control.
Nuclear requires large, conspicuous and heavily-protected facilities. But the facilities needed for bio-tech, for example, are small-scale, widely understood, widely available and dual use. It is going to be very hard indeed properly to regulate it.
In the short and intermediate term, this is even more worrying than the risks posed by climate change – although in the long term, that will be a very major problem, especially as both people and politicians find it very difficult to focus on things further down the line.
I have been very involved in campaigns to get all countries involved in research and development into alternative, clean energy sources. Making them available and cheap is the only way we are going to move towards a low carbon future. The level of money invested in this form of research should be equivalent to the amount spent on health or defence, and nuclear fusion and fourth generation nuclear fission should be part of that.
Q: In the medieval world, people would start building cathedrals that only later generations would finish. Have we lost that long-term perspective?
That’s right. In fact, one very important input behind the political discussion prior to the Paris climate agreement was the 2015 Papal Encyclical. I’m a council member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, which helped to initiate the scientific meetings which were important in ensuring that the encyclical was a highly respected document. Whatever one thinks of the Catholic church, one cannot deny its long-term vision, its global range and its concern for the world’s poor. I believe that the encyclical, six months before the Paris conference, had a big impact on the leaders and people in South America, Africa and Asia. Religion clearly still has a very important role to play in the world.
Q: Have you ever encountered anything in the cosmos that has made you wonder whether a creator was behind it?
No. Personally, I don’t have any religious beliefs. But I describe myself as a cultural Christian, in that I was brought up in England and the English church was an important part of that. Then again, if I had been born in Iran, I’d probably go to the mosque.
This is Sha’Tara. I was going to comment on this previous article:
The deepest reason why we are afraid of death, but decided to post additional thoughts on it instead. For your reference, here’s the article, my thoughts below.
“Perhaps the deepest reason why we are afraid of death is because we do not know who we are. We believe in a personal, unique, and separate identity — but if we dare to examine it, we find that this identity depends entirely on an endless collection of things to prop it up: our name, our “biography,” our partners, family, home, job, friends, credit cards… It is on their fragile and transient support that we rely for our security. So when they are all taken away, will we have any idea of who we really are?
Without our familiar props, we are faced with just ourselves, a person we do not know, an unnerving stranger with whom we have been living all the time but we never really wanted to meet. Isn’t that why we have tried to fill every moment of time with noise and activity, however boring or trivial, to ensure that we are never left in silence with this stranger on our own?” ― Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
To the person who has faced death; who has interfaced with the terminal aspect of life on a material world; who has seen that it is more than a physical body, the above seems very familiar, yet no longer applicable. I will speak in the first person, I, me, because I have experienced the state known as “near death experience” and seen life the way many can never see, or could but refuse to. I have seen life as a non-physical entity, as a fully functional mind being.
Indeed, before I entered my spiritual journey I was the person you read about above, Rinpoche’s normal human being. I remember a rage to live, to experience as much of physical sense satisfaction as possible, and a gnawing fear that somehow this would be denied me, or taken from me. From what I see of people around me, this is very much the case with most Earth-based people. They need “stuff” to give their lives solidity, and they need money to do things so they can add to their own, personal, experiences of life. I sense great dissatisfaction in their awareness that no matter how much they accumulate of things and experiences, there will be those who will have more; there will be some they crave and won’t be able to get because they lack the means, or their current lifestyle prevents them from attaining to a greater (and entitled) greater sense of material self.
They will be unhappy. Unsatisfied. Unfulfilled. Incomplete. They will go about casting blame for this condition. They will resent the very things that currently define who they are: their families, their jobs, their responsibilities. They will have a bucket list in the back of their minds and it will eat at them. Often enough they will suddenly ditch their life-long responsibilities to lunge after the promises in their bucket. And they will find chimeras.
For some of us “lucky” ones, we get a reprieve from this private hell. We are allowed to “die” and see a different and much expanded vista: the real worlds of the mind. And for some of those, the “lesson” learned is accepted, kept and put to use when we return to our little physical reality.
I need to say this because it is crucially important: no one needs to experience “NDE’s (Near Death Experiences) or even OBE’s (Out of Body Experiences) to become aware of what I’m talking about. Those esoteric experiences are for particularly stubborn and dumb types who won’t get it any other way but who somehow show promise and a propensity for things of the mind and of spirit. To attempt NDE’s or OBE’s to gain spiritual insight is ridiculous, since the fact such is sought indicates you are ready to make the mental transition or jump!
Transitioning into the spirit/mind realm means encountering your greater (higher) or more real and complete self. This is why it is important to do so. This greater self can and does function quite well without ANY of the normal attachments and clap-trap that defines the Earth-based self. It can function as a self-empowered, totally detached entity. It can decide everything about itself, including, and note, if and whom, it will love.
Most reading this will know already what “falling in love” entails. For me it always was an upsetting and confusing process that invariably left me the loser. Imagine my surprise when in my greater self to realize I could choose whether to love someone, and how that loving would be expressed. I was in control, imagine that. If there was passion, I allowed it to take place. If there was a cooling from the other, I accepted it and used that time for other pursuits. If the cooling went to freezing point, I accepted the dissolution as something completely normal. I could after all have a similar relationship with anyone else should I want one. None of it mattered. Would it shock you to read that the person you “do it with” isn’t in the least important, what’s important is the experience. Go ahead, dare admit that and break another Matrix programming link in the chain.
Imagine the same thing about work, about money, about any relationship. I was in control of my whole life even in the midst of storms. I knew I wouldn’t drown because there is no such thing. I would have a new experience to work with.
And so it is to this day. I’ve gone through “stuff” in the last twenty years that I know would have crushed or devastated many a “normal” Earthian because of attachments, expectations, sense of entitlement.
The common question, “Why is this happening to me?” is not asked by the spirit/mental intelligent, sentient, self aware entity because “this” isn’t relevant to its life. What’s relevant is “that” as in, taking in the cosmos in infinity.
(A point of view from “The Other Side” with ~burning woman~ and Airn WilloWitch)
Those who are awake live in a constant state of amazement…~ Buddha ~
Years ago, attempts were made upon me to get me to “quiet the endless chatter of the mind and go into that silent center…” from which, presumably, would come all the great wisdom I was seeking. I could almost hear my “Teachers” chuckling as I pondered that ponderous teaching. Never did it make sense to me, much less did it work. What great wisdom lies in the silence of nothingness? Like a good service truck full of useful stuff clattering purposefully down some road or street, my mind rattles and chatters along, happy as can be… Doesn’t yours? If it doesn’t, you must be dead!
But I had to ask anyway, and today I got an answer of sorts. Good teachers, naturally, never give you the answers. They just point in some direction, usually down into the earth, and hand you the shovel. You want to know what’s down there? Dig. Not here dummy – over there. Use your empathy!
What’s mind chatter? Imagine you are a tourist lost in a semi-arid countryside amongst rolling hills. You can sense the land is immense, but you can’t see very far. You pull to the side of the road, reach for the map in the glove box and step out. You spread it out on the hood of your dusty Toyota four-by to locate yourself. There is a breeze, so you anchor the map with small stones. The wind blows under the paper and it flutters. But you are intelligent and you know that the map isn’t talking to you to tell you where to go. It just makes you aware that it is there. Now you look it over and since you know how to read map symbols, you can make some sense of map and surroundings. You can locate yourself and become un-lost (Do not confuse becoming un-lost with being found!)
Mind chatter is there to remind you that you have one, that’s all. Shut that down and you’re left with what?
So, what’s the mind, then? The mind is that which contains the map to the cosmos. Every single “thing” that is, is mapped in the mind. Every hair on every head, every drop of rain, every grain of sand, every star, every universe, every entity is symbolically represented in the mind’s map. The mind is, in fact, a hologram of life and as life is ever-expanding, so is the mind.
Is it any wonder that those who’s survival depends on our blissful ignorance would have us shut it down? Take that map off the hood of the car, fold it up neatly, put it back in the glove box… and drive on until we are so lost, we’ll accept any kind of help… from anybody? Can you see now why this planet is in the mess it’s in? Instead of becoming un-lost, we keep being found — and found-out for not knowing how to read our own mind.
Everything is connected to everything else. There are “filaments” – like silver threads – connecting everything. When these “threads” bunch up in groups connecting similar things, they form channels, or flows (or black holes or worm holes) of great energies. Magnetic flows, gravitational pulls, orbits, and on worlds such as Earth, rivers, warm and cold winds, tornadoes, typhoons, clouds, great ocean currents. Down into the micro, the attractions of cells to form bodies, of atoms to form molecules, of particles to form atoms… ad infinitum. But more, these connections form attractions of sounds to form music; of thoughts, of ideas, of beliefs. They also form collectives. And collectives within collectives. But no matter what, every single “event” remains connected individually to every thing else. It gets complicated only if you don’t know how to read the symbols.
The awakened mind knows this. It can see it. Not the way eyes see physical reality. Eyes, after all, are terribly limited concepts – they are just physical lenses designed for one purpose: to reflect physical surroundings into a physical brain, and the physical is such a tiny portion of all that is. But the mind can locate itself anywhere in the Cosmos. It can see, feel, taste, touch, hear as if it were one expanded (Cosmic) sense. And really, that’s what the mind is.
To the awakened mind, the Cosmos contains only knowable reality. There are no secrets anywhere, and there are no mysteries. Only reality, a small portion already explored and an infinite amount yet to be explored, as well as an even more infinite (say what???) part yet to be created. In this, I hear the echoes of my earlier teachings – “Nothing is impossible; Believe all things, believe in nothing -these are the paths to freedom from the bondage of systems and time.”
Amazing? And the best part of all, it’s a ride offered to anyone willing to look at the map, not as a colourful piece of paper fluttering in the breeze, but as a meaningful, carefully drawn set of symbols representing the offerings of infinity. If you can read your own map, you can go anywhere and never get lost. Once this is understood, the next step is, you begin to create. You drive to the end of the road on the map. And you pick up that shovel again. But now, you know where to dig, and why. And you won’t be hurting anything there because there is, as yet, no-thing. The gopher is safe and snug in his burrow behind you, as are the earthworms, crickets and other creepy, crawly things. Your shovel becomes a magic wand…
Look out Thirteenth Floor: I’m adding a new wing on this side!
And the point being? No one needs to remain lost (stuck) in time.
Pushing the boundaries of what is known about galaxies’ formation and evolution, astronomers have weighed a rare massive young galaxy cluster using three of NASA’s observatories.
At the weight of 500 trillion Suns, the IDCS J1426.5+3508 (IDCS 1426 for short) located 10 billion light years from Earth is the most massive galaxy cluster detected at such an early age.
“This object has important implications for understanding how these mega-structures formed and evolved early in the Universe,” the statement said, noting that astronomers have observed IDCS 1426 when the universe was only 3.8 billion years old, less than a third of its current age.
In their study astronomers used data from three of NASA’s Great Observatories – the Hubble Space Telescope, the Spitzer Space Telescope and the Chandra X-ray Observatory. Their findings were summed up in a NASA press release and detailed in the Astrophysical Journal.
In addition, new data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory showed that that about 90 percent of the mass of the cluster is in the form of dark matter. The mysterious substance cannot be seen with telescopes but accounts for most of the matter in the universe. It has been so far detected by scientists only through its gravitational pull on normal matter composed of atoms.
According to the observations, the cluster formed very rapidly and quickly in the early Universe. They explained that on the images there is a region of bright X-ray emission (seen as blue-white) slightly dislodged from the middle of the cluster. This suggests that the cluster has had a collision or interaction with another massive system, which have been common early in the history of the Universe.
“We are really pushing the boundaries with this discovery,” said Mark Brodwin of the University of Missouri at Kansas City, who led the study.
While the existence of the cluster and its parameters do not contradict the standard model of cosmology, it “sets a high bar for theories that attempt to explain how clusters and galaxies evolve.”
Mysterious signals coming from outside the Milky Way may have been sent by an alien civilization. At least that’s one of the theories astronomers are using to explain the appearance of a new series of ‘fast radio bursts’.
“Our citizens should know the urgent facts…but they don’t because our media serves imperial, not popular interests. They lie, deceive, connive and suppress what everyone needs to know, substituting managed news misinformation and rubbish for hard truths…”—Oliver Stone