Hawking’s final paper, published in the journal High-Energy Physics revisits one of his earlier (and no less mind-blowing) theories. The “no-boundary proposal” considers Einstein’s suggestion that the pre-Big Bang universe was a singularity, an extremely dense and hot micro-speck of matter where the laws of physics didn’t apply. Hawking speculated that time as we know it was nonexistent in this singularity, which had no beginning and no end—infinite and spherical rather than finite and linear. The embryonic universe is thought to have expanded rapidly and spawned parallel worlds during a period known as cosmic inflation.
Something this unfathomable to the human brain eventually made Hawking want to quantify it. Infinite universes open portals to infinite possibilities, but that paradoxically means that there can be no accurate way to test theories about the origins of our own universe or its future. He and physicist Thomas Hertog set out to put theoretical boundaries on his own no-boundary proposal by trying to isolate every unique type of universe that may be floating out there.
Before proving that other worlds lurk somewhere in time and space, we still need evidence of a multiverse. Interestingly, traces of primordial gravitational waves from the Big Bang linger all over the universe in the cold microwave radiation known as the cosmic microwave background (CMB).
If an advanced enough satellite ever beams back a CMB energy signal that aligns with Hawking’s model of cosmic inflation, it could mean the multiverse is more than just an element of science fiction. That his final theory was the closest to truth humanity has come in explaining the nature of our existence.
While more science will be needed to back up Hawking’s theory, but just the possibility of being a life-form in one of many universes existing all around us in time and space is a magical and compelling thought.
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