5 Interesting Concepts you probably didn’t know about the Universe
The Universe that we inhabit is a mysterious, incomprehensible place that is so baffling at times that we fail to understand its underlying beauty and symmetry that impregnates it. Here are some of science’s most recent breakthroughs and discoveries. Some of them may seem incredible, but they are all valid scientific theories or proven concepts.
1. We cannot observe the vast majority of the Universe.
95 % of the Universe is presumed to be made up of dark energy or dark matter, which have both yet to be observed by scientists. Dark matter does not emit or reflect light or any other electromagnetic radiation, so is nearly impossible to be detected via optical or radio astronomy. Dark energy is more mysterious still, being a hypothetical form of energy to account for acceleration of the Universe.
2. The Universe is flat.
The Universe is an infinite flat shape. This theory was popularised when the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) confirmed the existing knowledge with a 0.5% margin for error. Other shapes that have been considered are the spherical or hyperbolical universe, but these are now considered to be unlikely based on observations.
3. Our Universe is one among the many.
The Universe has been widely accepted to be part of the multiverse, a hypothetical set of universes that together comprise everything that exists and that can exist. The main hypothesis is that there are six types of ‘bubble universes’ that have different physical constants to our universe. This concept has been proposed to explain why our Universe seems to be fine-tuned for life as we experience it. Our universe is one in the near-infinite possibilities that emerged parallel to ours.
4. The Universe as we know it will one day end.
There are many theories surrounding the ultimate fate of the Universe, but nearly all scientifically accepted scenarios agree on one point: there is a point in time where our universe will cease to exist as we know it. We do not know whether this will be a result of a ‘Big Freeze’, where heat will become evenly distributed across an ever-expanding universe, or whether the Universe itself (in terms of the multiverse) will never cease to exist, and that our Universe is simply one in an infinite number of simultaneous Big Bangs, ever propagating outwards to infinity.
5. There exist more than our four traditional dimensions.
Our universe is made up of vibrating, hyper-energetic strings that exist in every dimension. Intriguingly, this theory predicts a greater number of dimensions than four, and that a certain number of these dimensions have been compacted and rolled up so that they are unobservable to current scientific means. This theory has yet to yield any quantitative results, and is still undergoing development. However, it is one of the main contenders for the Theory of Everything, a hypothetical theory that could unite the entirety of physics (quantum and general relativity).
Not only do these recent scientific breakthroughs have incredible implications on how we perceive the universe, but they mean humans are closer than ever to solving the mysteries that have puzzled scientists for millennia and continue to today. Physics is relevant to all of us, because the beauty of the universe is all around us, and we can only truly appreciate its immensity and symmetry if we begin to understand what the universe really is.