Multiverse. Multi-multiverse. Bubble Universes. Baby Black Holes. Parallel Universes. Alternate Universes. Many Worlds. Membranes. Extra Dimensions. What exactly IS the multiverse? Minute Physics breaks down The True Science of Parallel Universes.
Playwright Nick Payne has spoken at length about how the NOVA documentary The Elegant Universe, based on the book of the same name by Physicist Brian Greene, inspired his play Constellations. But the theories of the multiverse are contentious, according to Ethan Siegel. In a recent article for Forbes, he contends, “our Universe may be just one minuscule region of a much larger multiverse, within which many Universes, perhaps even an infinite number, are contained. Some of this is actual science, but some is nothing more than speculative, wishful thinking.” As Sarah Scoles wrote in her 2016 article on the multiverse controversy for Smithsonian Magazine, “If the multiverse exists, the life-hosting capability of our particular universe isn’t such a mystery: An infinite number of less hospitable universes also exist. The composition of ours, then, would just be a happy coincidence. But we won’t know that until scientists can validate the multiverse. And how they will do that, and if it [is] even possible to do that, remains an open question.”
Interestingly, one possible solution to the multiverse conundrum may have come from neuroscientists, who recently posited that the human brain contains a multidimensional universe. Regardless of the science behind parallel universes, artists and writers have been fascinated by this notion. From plays to books to television shows and movies, the idea of alternate universes has captivated us for ages. Elizabeth Howell offers a short list of some of the most iconic pop culture / science fiction treatments of the multiverse in her article for space.com. Nick Payne has hailed iconic feminist playwright and fellow Brit, Caryl Churchill, as a major influence on his writing. Churchill has explored repetition and parallel universes in several of her plays including Blue Heart, Traps, and most recently, Escaped Alone.
“…if every possible future exists, then the decisions we do and don’t make will determine which of these futures we actually end up experiencing.” — Marianne