Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Multiverse, Dark Matter, and Other Such Trifles

The other day, while my younger guy was in his drum lesson, I found myself taking another long and meditative walk.  It's how I prefer to spend my adult down-time, particularly now that I've deleted all social-media apps from my phone.  Lord, but that has helped me feel more sane.

And so I walked and looked up to the heavens and ruminated on something that had recently danced through my consciousness.  It was a popular press article I'd recently read on the continuing struggle of science to come to terms with an elusive thing they call "dark matter."

Our time and space has within it plenty of matter, of course, the stuff we can see and touch and measure.  But as astronomers have looked out at the gravitational dynamics of the universe, it's clear that there's something missing.  Our universe behaves as if there is significantly more mass out there, and yet we can't observe or find that mass.  By some estimates, nearly 85% of the mass that should be out there is just kinda missing.

That peculiarity of physics has been a point of some befuddlement since humankind first strapped on its cosmological reading glasses and really looked at the creation we inhabit.  Where the heck is everything?

As I walked and meditated, I found myself thinking about dark matter and the Many Worlds hypothesis, and it suddenly seemed that there was some connection.

Perhaps what we consider "dark matter" is not matter that inhabits our space-time at all, at least not in a way that we can currently empirically measure.  If our time and space is interlaced with other times and spaces, perhaps it is they that are leaving an echo or imprint on the gravity of our corner of creation.

It was a delightful spark of a thought, a mystic ah-hah realization, and yet another indicator that I have way too much time on my hands.

But such flights of fancy aren't necessarily real, as fun as they might be to speculate about.  Afterwards I googled around a little bit to see if anyone who actually has a clue about such things has had a similar thought.  Meaning, not a mystically inclined cleric such as myself, but an actual trained scientist/cosmologist.

And whaddaya know…it's actually out there.

Nice to know I'm not entirely crazy.  Not entirely, anyway.