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    Unraveling the Multiverse: Did We Win the Cosmic Lottery?

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    Alien life could exist in abundance in a hypothetical multiverse, which our universe is potentially a part of. This conclusion was voiced by a group of researchers from Durham University and its partner universities in Australia.

    Sputnik discussed the study with one of its authors, Dr. Luke Barnes, a John Templeton research fellow at Western Sydney University.

    Sputnik: What has led your team to assume that our universe might be part of a multiverse?

    Dr. Luke Barnes: The idea is put out there because our universe seems to have these what are called fine tuned special properties, so if you take the basic bits that we're all made out of or the way the universe expands and you change it a little bit you end up with a universe that does not make life or complexity or anything like that; so the thought is how did we get this lucky lottery ticket, maybe there is a whole heap of other universes, other lottery tickets out there and we are just the lucky ones.

    Sputnik: How does the concept of multiverse work? How is it possible for there to be so many multiple universes?

    Dr. Luke Barnes: Most of these ideas start off with some sort of generator for universes, so there's some sort of physical process from the very early universe and once that starts up, thanks to the expansion of space or the way physics puts these universes together, you end up with different bits of the universe, like different little bubbles of universe, which have different properties to ours; so they might have an electron that's a bit heavier or they might expand a bit faster.

    Sputnik: So as a human race so far we have had little luck finding life outside of Earth, if other universes do exist what are the chances there could be life, are you hopeful?

    Dr. Luke Barnes: The idea of a multiverse is precisely that there is a whole heap of other possibilities which are actually realized out there, so if that's the case, if we sort of vary things enough, yes, there could be life elsewhere. One of the things that this study found was actually one of the things we thought might kill off life in other universes was not quite the death sentence that we thought it was; actually, this might create a problem for the multiverse because it might make our universe a little bit too special, we've not only won the lottery, we did even better than that somehow, so that would be a little bit weird.

    Sputnik: The issue of the existence of sentient life forms has long captivated the minds of scientists, I don't know if you agree or disagree with that statement, but if they do exist, why has there been no contact with us so far?

    Dr. Luke Barnes: That's a very famous paradox. There was a physicist, Enrico Fermi, who suddenly stopped in the middle of these tracks one day and went: "Where is everyone? If there is another life out there why haven't they said hello yet," and there's a whole heap of ideas, maybe life is just very difficult to form, that's entirely possible, maybe only one planet in a trillion trillion trillion actually makes life, even if it was perfectly easy, in that case, we're the only life in the observable bit of the universe, there's no one in the range of our telescopes.

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    Another option is maybe life gets too smart too quickly, it gets smart enough to learn how to blow itself apart before it learns how to go in and expand life throughout the rest of the galaxy, maybe blowing yourself to bits is easier than space travel, or maybe life learns to keep to itself.

    Sputnik: Well the imagination boggles, I mean the potential is off the scale really, I don't know how you get to sleep at night, but what are your further steps in regard to your study down there in Australia?

    Dr. Luke Barnes: So the point of the study was to go — all right, there are these ideas about how bits of the universe might work, let's really see whether we could make life in them to see whether our universe is typical or whether we seem even more special, and so there are some other knobs and dials we want to turn, this particular study looked at dark energy and the way it makes our universe expand, but what we want to do next is change something like how lumpy is the universe, it's not perfectly smooth for the matter, there are lumps from place to place, what if we change that number, what would that do to different bits of the multiverse, so that's what we're doing next with these supercomputer simulations.

    Sputnik: I would imagine it's absolutely huge, the potential of the study, and the opportunity its bringing, what's the thing that really gets you excited? What are you passionate about? What gives you a big tick in the box?

    What is it that you're focused in because it's a huge elaborate study, isn't it? Perhaps you can elaborate a little bit more on that?

    Dr. Luke Barnes: What really interests me is what I said at the start, that fine-tuning problem. Our universe does not look like an accident, it doesn't look like just some just random stuff thrown together, it looks like, one very famous scientist called Fred Hoyle said, that it looks like some superintellect has monkeyed with physics, it really looks like the universe was put together for a purpose.

    What I'd like to know is, the reason why we're looking at the multiverse is, are we here because we got the winning lottery ticket out of this huge cosmic lottery or there some other reason, is there a reason deeper in physics or beyond physics.

    The views and opinions expressed by the speaker do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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