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Multiverse Poster, photo etching on zinc with computer generated text, 2014

 Singularities are imagined to be extremely tiny. Beyond tiny: Enlarge a singularity a trillion trillion times, and the worlds most powerful microscope wouldn’t come close to seeing it. But something is there, at least in a mathematical sense. Something not just small but also unimaginable heavy. Don’t bother wondering what. The vast majority of physicists say, yes, black holes exist, but they are the ultimate Fort Knox. They’re impenetrable. We will never know whats inside a singularity.

But a couple of unorthodox thinker beg to differ. In recent years it’s become increasingly accepted among theoretical physicists that our universe is not all there is. We live, rather, in whats known as the multiverse- a vast collection of universes, each a separate bubble in the swiss cheese of reality. This is all highly speculative, but it’s possible that to give birth to a new universe you first need to take a bunch of matter from an existing universe, crunch it down, and seal it off.

Sound familiar? We do know, after all, what became of at least one singularity. Our universe began, 13.8 billion years ago, in a tremendous big bang. The moment before, everything was packed into an infinitesimally small, massively dense speck- a singularity. Perhaps the multiverse works something like an oak tree. Once in a while an acorn is dropped, falls into the ideal soil and abruptly sprouts. So too with a singularity, the seed of a new universe….

The evidence for what could reside in a black hole is compelling. Look to your left, look to your right. Pinch yourself. A black hole might have originated in another universe. But we may be living in it.

Extract from Star Eater: National Geographic, March 2014.

 

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