A Journey Through the Universes – The New York Times


Through Zoom, the Daniels professed to be devoted fans of pop science and cosmology. They sent me a copy of A Vast Pointless Gyration of Radioactive Rocks and Gas in which You Happen to Occur (A24 LLC) a collection of scholarly and speculative texts by authors such as Jorge Luis Borges and Carl Sagan that they edited.

Needless to say, there isn’t just one theory of the multiverse, there are many, depending on what physics you use. For example, the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics posits that whenever you make a decision — say, turn left out of your driveway rather than right — the universe splits in two and continues to branch at each intersection. There’s a universe for every way you could spin, every way a ball could come off Aaron Judge’s bat, every way a cookie could crumble.

Another version of the multiverse stems from string theory, the supposed “theory of everything,” which describes elementary particles as vibrating strands of energy. “Theory of Anything” might be a better nickname; It turns out that the theory has at least 10^500 solutions in 11 different dimensions, each representing an alternate universe, perhaps with its own laws.

Yet another multiverse springs from the prevailing, though not fully validated, theory of cosmic inflation. Thanks to a violent roar fueled by negative gravity at the dawn of time, an endless series of bubble or “pocket” universes branch out from each other at a dizzying, exponentially increasing rate.

The Daniels described their multiverse as a combination of many worlds and the cosmic bubble bath that inflationary theory implies. “It’s fun imagining both versions,” said Mr. Kwan. “Both point to infinity or just to the unknown.”

But, they added, their film is less about physics and more about how physics makes you feel. “If you could see alternative lives, that would be — that would spiral you,” Scheinert said. “It would put each of us on a sort of spiral of lives you could have lived and choices you could have made.”

The multiverse, they said, could also be a metaphor for the attention-deprived life we’ve embraced in our bubbles of truth on social media. “I think our stories need to constantly look for ways to calm us down or bring us back to a different version of centering and grounding,” Mr. Kwan said.


Comments are closed.