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Radical theory says our universe sits on an inflating bubble in an extra dimension

Cosmologists propose a groundbreaking model of the universe using string theory.

Getty Images/Suvendu Giri
  • A new paper uses string theory to propose a new model of the universe.
  • The researchers think our universe may be riding a bubble expanded by dark energy.
  • All matter in the universe may exist in strings that reach into another dimension.

Our universe may be having itself quite a great time it seems. Cosmologists from Uppsala University came up with a new model that proposes the universe may be riding on an ever-expanding bubble in an extra dimension.

In particular, according to this theory, published in Physical Review Letters, the researchers offer a novel explanation for how the universe may be getting bigger. The fact of its accelerating expansion has been known for about the past 20 years but the explanation for that has relied rather unsatisfyingly on the mysterious "dark energy".

In their new paper, the Swedish scientists approach this topic from the direction of string theory, which maintains that all matter is made of tiny vibrating strings. The theory also allows for the existence of extra dimensions, in addition to the three spatial ones we experience on a daily basis.

The groundbreaking new idea by the researchers says that the universe may be sitting on the edge of an expanding bubble, while all matter exists on strings that reach outward from it into an extra dimension. Dark energy would be the inflating force in this bubble, the existence of which is supported by string theory, claim the scientists.

In case you're wondering, they think such bubbles should be rather stable, writing there's "a strong indication in favor of the stability of these bubbles."

Perhaps even more excitingly, there could be more bubbles than just the one with our universe on it. Each one of those carrying another universe.

'In this context, the cosmology we see as 4D observers is not due to vacuum energy, but rather arises as an effective description on a dynamical object embedded in a higher dimensional space,' the researchers explain.

The Uppsala University team included Souvik Banerjee, Ulf Danielsson, Giuseppe Dibitetto, Suvendu Giri, and Marjorie Schillo.

As they write in their paper, black holes can also be re-defined by this new theory:

"Gravitational collapse of the string endpoints in four dimensions results in an unstable black string solution in five dimensions," state the scientists.

Check out their research for yourself here.

Michio Kaku: The multiverse has 11 dimensions

Is the universe a graveyard? This theory suggests humanity may be alone.

Ever since we've had the technology, we've looked to the stars in search of alien life. It's assumed that we're looking because we want to find other life in the universe, but what if we're looking to make sure there isn't any?

According to the Great Filter theory, Earth might be one of the only planets with intelligent life. And that's a good thing (NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team [STScI/AURA]).
Surprising Science

Here's an equation, and a rather distressing one at that: N = R* × fP × ne × f1 × fi × fc × L. It's the Drake equation, and it describes the number of alien civilizations in our galaxy with whom we might be able to communicate. Its terms correspond to values such as the fraction of stars with planets, the fraction of planets on which life could emerge, the fraction of planets that can support intelligent life, and so on. Using conservative estimates, the minimum result of this equation is 20. There ought to be 20 intelligent alien civilizations in the Milky Way that we can contact and who can contact us. But there aren't any.

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Study details the negative environmental impact of online shopping

Frequent shopping for single items adds to our carbon footprint.

A truck pulls out of a large Walmart regional distribution center on June 6, 2019 in Washington, Utah.

Photo by George Frey/Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • A new study shows e-commerce sites like Amazon leave larger greenhouse gas footprints than retail stores.
  • Ordering online from retail stores has an even smaller footprint than going to the store yourself.
  • Greening efforts by major e-commerce sites won't curb wasteful consumer habits. Consolidating online orders can make a difference.
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Childhood sleeping problems may signal mental disorders later in life

Chronic irregular sleep in children was associated with psychotic experiences in adolescence, according to a recent study out of the University of Birmingham's School of Psychology.

A girl and her mother take an afternoon nap in bed.

Personal Growth
  • We spend 40 percent of our childhoods asleep, a time for cognitive growth and development.
  • A recent study found an association between irregular sleep patterns in childhood and either psychotic experiences or borderline personality disorder during teenage years.
  • The researchers hope their findings can help identify at-risk youth to improve early intervention.
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