Stephen Hawking’s final study was on parallel universes

Steven Hawking’s final study will make you question everything you know about reality.

Mar 25, 2018

BEIJING – JUNE 21: British scientist Stephen Hawking attends a conference during the 2006 International Conference on String Theory on June 21, 2006 in Beijing, China. Hawking is visiting Beijing to attend the conference on the riddle of string theory which, if solved, could help unlock the mysteries of black holes and the creation of the universe, according to reports. (Photo by Cancan Chu/Getty Images)

In his 76 years on Earth, Stephen Hawking redefined much of what we knew about the universe. Expanding upon the Big Bang Theory, Hawking discovered ‘Hawking Radiation,’ the energy emitting out of black holes, which were previously understood to be the gravitational forces from which no matter can escape. After a lifetime of cosmic exploration, Hawking passed away last week. His death has put a lot of interest in his final piece of research, an unfinished paper that seeks to clarify what parallel universes are.

Theoretical physicists, the field in which Hawking led in his lifetime, seek to understand the functions of the universe beyond what humans are capable of perceiving. Time, for example, does not exist as we experience it. And it has always been theorized that beyond our own reality are parallel ones, possibly infinite. It is always served as fodder for some of the most overactive science fiction, but Hawking, along with Belgian CERN physicist Thomas Hertog, hoped to create a more formal understanding of these other worlds.

While Hawking’s passing is a tragedy, a lot of speculation and excitement has generated over his final piece of work, as preliminary as it was. Stephen Hawking’s parting gift, a preview of the worlds beyond ours. Some even speculated he could finally nab a Nobel Prize, which had had puzzlingly never received before, and the committee doesn’t distribute awards posthumously.

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK – APRIL 12: Professor Stephen Hawking onstage during the New Space Exploration Initiative “Breakthrough Starshot” Announcement at One World Observatory on April 12, 2016, in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)

Unfortunately, for those hoping for outrageous revelations or that Rick and Morty’s butt fart universe might be out there, what we know of Hawking’s final work suggests that if there are parallel universes they may not be radically different from our own. Scientists have speculated that these other realities, pockets in spacetime, could vary in size and the conditions of their physics are altered in ways that are difficult for us to imagine. Hawking seemed to be working towards a dismissal of this, and that the parallel universes would actually be quite similar to our own and, more shockingly, are not infinite at all, that there is probably a cap on them.

Of course, like all theoretical physics, it’s all speculative and largely the best that we can do here on Earth. Hawking’s research offers no insight on how we would be able to access, or even see, these other realms, and so far it seems impossible. Perhaps in one of those other realities, this isn’t the case. They’re watching neighboring realities and bungee jumping between them. 

Mar 25, 2018