Stephen Hawking’s final paper on the universe says things are much simpler than we think
Stephen Hawking’s final thoughts on the universe — or rather multiverse — have been published.
The renowned physicist, who died in March, explains in his final piece of writing that the multiverse is much simpler than previously thought.
His paper, called A smooth exit from eternal inflation?, was published Wednesday in the Journal of High Energy Physics. It is co-authored by Belgian physicist Thomas Hertog.
The work puts a slight question mark on the widely accepted idea that the big bang was followed by repeated bursts called “cosmic inflation,” which created several universes throughout space that are infinite and impossible to measure.
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The many universes were said to be radically different from one another.
But the latest paper says that isn’t the case — they’re actually “finite and reasonably smooth.”
“In the old theory there were all sorts of universes: some were empty, others were full of matter, some expanded too fast, others were too short-lived. There was huge variation,” Hertog explained, according to The Guardian.
Hertog explained that the new paper “reduces the multiverse down to a more manageable set of universes which look alike.”
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That solves a few problems for scientists, who were unable to test the original theory that the multiverse is infinite.
The theory that the multiverse is finite is easier to test, and the universes more comprehensible. Hertog told Live Science that this was precisely Hawking’s goal with this paper.
“Hawking was not satisfied with this state of affairs,” Hertog said. “‘Let’s try to tame the multiverse,’ he told me a year ago.”
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