Universe Is Finite? Stephen Hawking's Final Theory Published

Stephen Hawking’s last theory could lead to us finding a parallel universe

But Stephen Hawking's scientific partner Professor Hertog, theoretical physicist at the University of Leuven in Belgium, has now announced a "significant departure" from the theory, saying: "There is a single, over-arching question behind all this work by Hawking".

The "no boundary theory" implies that the Big Bang would have led to the creation of infinite universes, each exhibiting physical laws that differ from others. Instead, these multiverses likely have different rules of physics, and their own, smaller-scale inflation might still be occurring.

"The usual theory of eternal inflation predicts that globally our universe is like an infinite fractal, with a mosaic of different pocket universes separated by an inflating ocean", Hawking said previous year.

The theory has been decades in the making having first started in the 1980s with a collaboration between Hawking and the USA physicist James Hartle, but now includes the most up-to-date findings on the complex and odd science of string theory.

But now his final theory could be about to cement his place in the 21st century as it suggests that our universe may be one of many universes, but that unlike other suggestions, they all might be quite similar to our own.

The pair proposed that prior to the Big Bang, there was space but no time.

Hawking and Hertog's paper relies on string theory, a branch of physics that tries to reunite quantum physics with gravity and Einstein's theory of relativity.

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"The problem with the usual account of eternal inflation is that it assumes an existing background universe that evolves according to Einstein's theory of general relativity and treats the quantum effects as small fluctuations around this", said Prof Hertog.

"However, the dynamics of eternal inflation wipes out the separation between classical and quantum physics", he continued. "As a effect, Einstein's theory breaks down in eternal inflation". It was never said between us that this would be the last paper.

The paper presents a variation of the holographic principle to deal with the time dimension of eternal inflation, reducing it to a timeless state defined on a spatial surface at the beginning of time.

"When we trace the evolution of our universe backwards in time, at some point we arrive at the threshold of eternal inflation, where our familiar notion of time ceases to have any meaning", Hertog said.

"Stephen himself said that this work was the area he was most proud of", Malcolm Perry, a colleague of Hawking's, tells the Guardian. Modern physics has several ideas of how the universe came to be, but by far the most popular idea is that the big bang was followed by bursts of "cosmic inflation" which created an endless number of universes that are now distributed throughout space.

Professor Hawking, died in March at the age of 76, passing away peacefully in his sleep. His ashes will be laid near the grave of Sir Isaac Newton at Westminster Abey during a thanksgiving service at the end of 2018. "'A Smooth Exit from Eternal Inflation?".

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