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Transferring Matter between Bubble Universes

  1. Mar 3, 2012 #1
    Hello everyone,

    First - apologies if this is the wrong subforum for this question, I wasn't quite sure where it belonged.

    Thanks to everyone last summer who helped me with my science-fiction novel "Mindjammer", where I had some questions on solar shades - the feedback everyone provided me with was wonderful!

    I have another, very speculative question, and I've been unable to find any hints from my own research, so am hoping you may be able to help again!

    I've been researching traversable wormholes and bubble universes, particularly those where different laws of physics may apply. This morning I was reading "Looking for Life in the Multiverse" by Alejandro Jenkins and Gilad Perez in Scientific American, and their suggestion that hypothetical bubble universes with subtly (or not so subtly) different physical laws may still be able to support life.

    My question is this: if we were to visit another bubble universe where different laws of physics pertained (assumption is we could actually do that), what would happen to us and any matter we took along? Asimov's story "The Gods Themselves" speculates that material from another universe would somehow "infect" our own, but I'm guessing he took that stance for dramatic interest. If we entered a universe where there was no weak nuclear force, or where life was based on carbon-14 rather than carbon-12, would our bodies be destroyed because carbon-12 "could not" exist, or would be continue to exist as some kind of intrusion or form of exotic matter? How about with more extreme differences?

    Obviously this is again for science fiction reasons - I'm hoping to write about bubble universes, but like I say I'm having trouble finding what the current scientific thinking is about this.

    Thanks in advance for what again is a highly speculative question!


  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 3, 2012 #2
    I suppose it would depend on the particular difference. Your examples are good starting points:

    If life was made of C14, it probably would have no effect on C12 life --- or C12 life's continued viability. Thats because C14 based life would, presumably, be a stochastic difference rathe than a systematic one (i.e. C14 life happened to form over C12 life; but there's no physical law mandating it). But note that life is a highly local phenomenon (at least our type), on the scale of planets---far far smaller than universes. Its conceivable that C14 life would develop even in another part of our galaxy.

    To my knowledge, the weak-nuclear force doesn't have any requisite stabilizing effect on macroscopic matter (i.e. people, cars, bananas)---thus, again, our universe's matter should be fine. But if the string force were absent, all of 'our' type of matter would instantly explode. Because its such a drastic difference, its logical to suppose matter from the alternate universe wouldn't be stable in our-own. You couldn't have a much more extreme difference than that.
  4. Mar 3, 2012 #3
    Hello Zhermes!

    Thanks very much indeed for the reply - that's *exactly* the sort of thing I'm after! :)

    The Carbon-12 / Carbon-14 difference actually came from the Scientific American article. It's predicated on a universe where the proton is roughly 0.1 percent heavier than the neutron (down quark is lighter than the up), rather than the other way round, so that hydrogen atoms couldn't exist for long, but deuterium or tritium could.

    In that universe, you could (according to the article) have oceans of heavy water, and life based on Carbon-14, given that Carbon-12 (I think) couldn't exist.

    What do you think would be the implication of us travelling to such a universe, given the short life of hydrogen, deuterium- and carbon-14-based chemistry? Is that another case where we would "explode" (or dissolve, or rapidly break down, etc)? Would the same happen to any vessel (ie spaceship, etc) we were in? I'm guessing any hydrocarbons would be toast?

    Lastly (and I know this is very much a science-fiction-y question), do you think there's any conceivable way to "shield" or "isolate" us (as intruders in that universe) from the effect?

    Thanks very much again for your help,

  5. Mar 3, 2012 #4
    Hmmm, thats very interesting. Do you happen to have a link to the article? I'd be very curious to read it.

    Honestly, I have no idea---I never would have considered changing the quark mass ratio to enact such an effect... I'll try to find the article, and maybe tease out a little more information.

    Again, understanding the effects of changing the quark masses is way above my pay-grade... maybe that could occur from varying how the Higg's couples to quark/color-field (or whatever the hell its called)... You'd have to talk to a pro particle physicist; I'm more on the astrophysics side (and thoroughly without the 'pro').
    I'd guess there's no way to 'shield' from it. But at the same time; there probably isn't a way to travel to this other universe---so you shouldn't let that stop you. How about you use a micro-wormhole to continually maintain a normal (our) universe bubble in your vicinity----or maybe more like an IV drip, delivering just enough of the 'normal' fields to maintain stability around you?
    Make sure you're not standing next to a power-conduit---they always explode.
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