Most high school science classes teach the classical view of the atom, incorporating subatomic particles like protons, electrons, and neutrons. This is the particle theory of the atom dating to the early Twentieth Century. In about the 1960s, scientists discovered more subatomic particles. By the 1970s, scientists discovered that protons and neutrons consist of subatomic particles called quarks (an elementary particle not known to have a substructure). In the 1980s, a mathematical model called string theory, was developed. It is a branch of theoretical physics. String theory sought to explain how to construct all particles and energy in the universe via hypothetical one-dimensional “strings.” Subatomic particles are no longer extremely small masses. Instead, they are oscillating lines of energy, hence the name “strings.” In addition, the latest string theory (M-theory) asserts that the universe is eleven dimensions, not the four-spacetime dimensions we currently experience in our daily lives. String theory was one of science’s first attempts at a theory of everything (a complete mathematical model that describes all fundamental forces and matter).

In about the mid-1990s, scientists considered the equivalences of the various string theories, and the five leading string theories were combined into a one comprehensive theory, M-theory. M-theory postulates eleven dimensions of space filled with membranes, existing in the Bulk (super-universe). The Bulk contains an infinite number of membranes, or “branes” for short.

According to M-theory, when two branes collide, they form a universe. The collision is what we observed as the Big Bang when our universe formed. From that standpoint, universes continually form via other Big Bangs (collisions of branes).

Does this explain the true origin of the energy? No! It still begs the question: where does the energy come from to create the membranes? The even-bigger question: is there any scientific proof of the multiverse? Recently, several scientists claim unusual ring patterns on the cosmic microwave background might be the result of other universes colliding with ours. However, even the scientists forwarding this theory suggest caution. It is speculative. At this point, we must admit no conclusive evidence of a multiverse exists. In fact, numerous problems with the multiverse theories are known. This does not mean there are no multiverses. Currently, though, we have no conclusive experimental proof, but do have numerous unanswered questions.

All multiverse theories share three significant problems.

1) None of the multiverse theories explains the origin of the initial energy to form the universe. They, in effect, sidestep the question entirely.

2) No conclusive experimental evidence proves that multiverses exist. This is not to say that they do not exist. It just means we cannot prove they exist.

3) Critics argue it is poor science. We are postulating universes we cannot see or measure in order to explain the universe we can see and measure.

However, in the last hundred years, we have made discoveries, and experimentally verified phenomena that in prior centuries would have been considered science fiction, metaphysics, magic, and unbelievable. We discovered numerous secrets of the universe, once believed to be only the Milky Way galaxy—to now being an uncountable number of galaxies in a space that is expanding exponentially. We also unlocked the secrets of the atom, once believed to be the fundamental building block of matter (from the Greek atomos “uncut”). Currently, we understand the atom consists of electrons, protons, and neutrons, which themselves consist of subatomic particles like quarks. The list of discoveries that have transformed our understanding of reality over the last century is endless. From my perspective, skepticism can be healthy. However, one cannot be entirely closed-minded when it comes to exploring the boundaries of science.

This brings us to the crucial question: Do we need M-Theory? My answer is: Maybe! Right now, it’s the only “mainstream” game in town. It has numerous respected proponents, including world-renowned cosmologist/physicist Stephen Hawking. However, the “mainstream” has been wrong before, and we are in uncharted waters. It may be right, and the mathematics is elegant. The only thing missing is experimental evidence (i.e., proof). On this one, you’ll have to weigh the facts and draw your own conclusion.

Source: Unraveling the Universe’s Mysteries (2012), Louis A. Del Monte

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