The "known" Universe

Is it possible that the “known” Universe is part of something much larger than we had ever anticipated? As we learn more and more about the “known” Universe and what may or may not lie beyond it, will that also become known as the Universe as a modified description or might the known Universe become one of many such Universes comprising something that does not yet have a name? I guess I am asking if the term Universe means everything that is out there or just everything that we can currently see or extrapalate from?

What a neat question.

From what I can surmise, the “Known Universe” is decided by two things:

  1. Objects/energies that we have proof of, and assuming there is “stuff” out there so far that its energies, light, whatever still has not reached Earth.

  2. Scientists have determined that the Universe expands a certain measured rate since a time approximating the Big Bang.
    I don’t think there are any scientists willing to admit the Universe is infinite and limitless, but I’d have to say they would call anything “new” they find would just be added to what is known. This leaves out possibilities of alternate universes and planes.

After all, when Columbus “discovered” the Americas, he didn’t think he found an entirely new planet. These places were just added to what was already known.

Anyone smarter than me want to answer?


The pragmatic answer is the universe we can observe or detect by any means.
It is interesting how fragile the universe is according to cosmologists: if the BigBang were any stronger we’d expand too fast for stars and planets to form; any weaker and the collapse would be too soon for formation.
Then, you have the equations of thermodynamics to deal with in order to balance stuff out.
I think most science books extrapolate on these concepts and then go into the ‘wild’ theories like How many BigBangs were there before ours (are the eternal?), Could a BigBang invade another universe and what would happen (thermodynamic law violation?), etc.

Uh oh, I’ve gone cross-eyed.
I think we’d just better enjoy the movie.

Wait just a second … what “other universe”???

For a start, the majority of ‘our’ universe has expanded out of our reach and is foever inaccessible. During the imagined period of hyperinflation the universe was expanding faster than light, so anything that is outside our event horizon will be permanently beyond our reach.
And as for brane theory… well, suffice it to say that there may be many more universes out there.
If you want to nit pick and say we are all the same universe, I would not disagree with you.
But you can’t ever go to these ‘other’ universes… some effects of the other universes may be felt in our world, but this is all pretty wacky stuff that might be proved wrong in the next six months (if it hasn’y already) so there is probably no point in hitching your pony to it just yet…

Oh. I thought e.e. cummings was on to something when he said,

I think one aspect of Guth’s early inflation theory was that this universe burst into its own set of dimensions and that there is a ‘multiverse’ of bubbles each containing its own universe, all absolutely cut off from all the others. I like the current conjecture that the dark energy and dark matter we presume to exist are shadows of the other universes, existing all in and around us, separated only by the tiniest of change in dimension.

That’s right; the idea is, AFAI can understand it, the (dark matter) or missing mass could be the gravity caused by the mass of nearby matter in other universes. Which if true, means they are no longer part of another universe, instead they are just a very inaccessible part of our own universe.
Wild assed speculation (that’s what I do):
if gravity can affect objects in an adjacent brane, or universe, then by building a handy-dandy gravity wave generator you could send a signal, in fact a message, to the inhabitants of the nearby universes.
Hey, you could seng your genome and memory, and intructions for making them into a carbon copy of yourself.
Then we could annexe the multiverse!
Ha Ha Ha Ha!

Quite the contrary. Most scientists (or at least, most cosmologists, which is what’s relevant here) currently think that the Universe probably is infinite, and it’s almost definitely limitless (the two are different: The surface of a sphere is limitless, but finite). There are some models still for a finite universe, but they’re considered somewhat far-fetched.

The observable Universe does have an edge and is finite, unless our current understanding of physics is completely cockeyed, but that doesn’t really say anything interesting about the Universe. A hypothetical race of intelligent beings 13 billion light years away from us would (presumably) see much the same sort of thing that we do.

And yes, eburacum45, your speculation is correct. If there are other branes separated from ours across some higher dimension, and if gravity can cross that dimension (both of which are currently considered plausible) then it would, in principle, be possible to communicate with those other branes via gravitational waves. Those other branes might not have similar laws of physics to ours, though, which might make cross-brane chemical experiments impossible, and even if such was possible, I’m not sure why the inhabitants of another brane would want to clone us.

The universe exists, apparently, because it can. If we are allowed to anthropomorphize a bit (and why not, we are part of “universe” after all), it exists because it wanted to. Because it felt like it. A vacuum fluctuation writ large.

Google “universe” and “vacuum fluctuation” if you think I’m kidding.

Given that theory of origin, we can assume that spacetime and universe can conjure itself into being ummm (…searching for alternative to “whenever”) … at will.

Our scientists say we cannot know anything at all about other universes, beginning with and including their existence. We’re sealed off.

But if they are right we can only assume that that which we call “universe” is not unique.
And therefore no end-of-everything due to entropy. Entire universes presumably can and will exist quite apart from ours and though each may die from entropy, so what? Universes will exist as they see fit to exist, apparently.