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Science & Technology

Experiment seeks evidence of 'mirror universe'

July 4, 2019 | Comment icon 11 comments



Are we living in one of an infinite number of parallel universes ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Kuroiniisan
Scientists are attempting to prove the existence of parallel universes by firing neutrons at a solid wall.
The idea that we live in one of a practically limitless number of near-identical worlds is nothing new, having been proposed previously many times by physicists including Hugh Everett, who in 1957 put forward his 'many-worlds interpretation' of quantum mechanics.

Everett's theory suggested that there exists a potentially infinite number of parallel universes in which every possible permutation of history is played out.

In one universe for instance you may have died in a car accident last month, while in another you might have even become the President of the United States. Every conceivable outcome has happened in at least one of these universes - each version of history has played out somewhere.

Controversially however, Everett also suggested that none of these universes are ever able to influence our own universe, thus making the whole concept impossible to test out.
Now though, scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in eastern Tennessee are hoping to challenge this assertion by conducting an experiment that could, in theory, produce evidence to suggest that particles can move back and forth between parallel universes.

The research builds upon anomalous results from the 1990s involving neutron particles which seemed to break down in to protons at differing rates instead of at the same rate as would be expected.

The experiment itself will involve firing a beam of neutrons at a solid wall with a neutron detector set up at the other side. Normally the detector should pick up nothing at all because the neutrons cannot pass through the wall, however scientists believe that some of them may temporarily "oscillate" in to a mirror universe and back, enabling them to pass through the wall where the detector will pick them up.

Whether such an outcome will be enough to prove the existence of parallel universes however remains unclear.

Source: Independent | Comments (11)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #2 Posted by spartan max2 3 years ago
Interesting
Comment icon #3 Posted by sci-nerd 3 years ago
How can they be sure that a neutron passing the wall is not just quantum tunneling? @cormac mac airt†@danydandan†@Harte You guys should be able to answer that, right?
Comment icon #4 Posted by Harte 3 years ago
From the energy level of the captured neutron, I would say. Harte
Comment icon #5 Posted by cormac mac airt 3 years ago
AFAIK Quantum tunnelling generally applies to levels of particles well BELOW the threshold of the atomic particles of proton, neutron or electron and entering the realm of fermions, bosons, etc. The question would tend to be on the level of "why can't a car travel through a mole-hole?". cormac
Comment icon #6 Posted by Seti42 3 years ago
Just finished Stranger Things season 3. I'd recommend against searching for a mirror universe, lol.
Comment icon #7 Posted by sci-nerd 3 years ago
I did a Q&A with experts on another forum. Here's a summary: † A: The stuff about parallel universes and "portals" is hyperbole. Q: So it will not prove parallel universes, even if they succeed? A: Certainly not parallel universes. But if it provides evidence of mirror matter then it is possible (but not certain) that there could be large scale structures equivalent to stars and galaxies, made up of mirror matter. This would exist in our universe but not be directly detectable. That could be described as a "parallel universe" but it requires a bit of journalistic license. There is a good o... [More]
Comment icon #8 Posted by Manwon Lender 3 years ago
Now I understand why the US Government scrapped the Neutron Bomb after they test fired the weapon.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Harte 3 years ago
Protons, neutrons and electrons all exhibit quantum tunneling under certain circumstances. IIRC, protons and neutrons must be at a much lower energy state than is necessary for an electron. Electron tunneling is common. Without it, the Sun doesn't work. Or so I read several years ago. Harte
Comment icon #10 Posted by Calibeliever 3 years ago
I'm picturing Buckaroo Bonsai and the overthruster.
Comment icon #11 Posted by sci-nerd 3 years ago
I found a good video explaining this stuff. Hope it helps those who feel a little lost trying to understand it †


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