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These are external links and will open in a new window Close share panel Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionThe BBC's Pallab Ghosh explains how Prof Stephen Hawking's final paper resolved a cosmic conundrum Prof Stephen Hawking's final research paper suggests that our Universe may be one of many similar to our own.
The theory resolves a cosmic paradox of the late physicist's own making. It also points a way forward for astronomers to find evidence of the existence of parallel universes. In the s, the Cambridge scientist, along with US physicist James Hartle developed a new idea about the beginning of the Universe.
This resolved a difficulty with Einstein's theory that suggested that the Universe began nearly 14 billion years ago but said nothing about how bbc business reporter stephen began. Instead, the Hartle-Hawking idea used a different theory called quantum mechanics to explain how the Universe arose from nothingness.
The idea tied up one loose end but created another - an infinite number some might say. As physicists analysed the idea it emerged that it carried with it the implication that the Big Bang would create not just one universe - but an endless supply. The Big Bang may have created many universes Some, according to the Hartle-Hawking theory, would be very like our own, perhaps have Earth-like planets, societies, even individuals similar to the ones in our Universe.
Other universes would be subtly different - perhaps with Earth-like planets where dinosaurs were not wiped out. And there would be universes completely unlike our own, with no Earths, perhaps no stars and galaxies and different laws of physics.
It sounds far-fetched, but the equations in this theory make such scenarios theoretically possible. A crisis arises because if there are infinite types of universes with infinite variations in their laws of physics then the theory cannot predict what kind of universe we should find ourselves in.
We said to each other: But we didn't want to give up. It has solved the puzzle by drawing on new mathematical techniques developed to study another esoteric branch of physics called string theory. These techniques enable researchers to view physics theories in a different way.
And the novel assessment of the Hartle-Hawking theory in the new paper has restored order to a hitherto chaotic multiverse. The new Hawking-Hertog assessment indicates that there can only be universes that have the same laws of physics as our own. That conjecture means that our Universe is typical and so observations we make from our viewpoint will be meaningful in developing our ideas of how other universes emerged.
Mind-bending as these ideas are, they will be of real help to physicists as they develop a more complete theory of how the Universe came into being, according to Prof Hertog.
They crystallised after the Big Bang when the universe expanded and cooled. The kind of laws that emerge depends very much on the physical conditions at the Big Bang. By studying these we aim to get a deeper understanding of where our physical theories come from, how they arise, and whether they are unique.What could be more serious than the allegation that the possible future Prime Minister of Great Britain worked for Soviet-backed Czechoslovakia during the s?
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During a busy week in the summer months the business can process up to 77,kg of uniforms, towels and linens, the company says, making water saving a prime business, as well as environmental. A detective was forced into a deal with a BBC reporter that led to a tip-off about a raid on Cliff Richard’s flat, it was claimed in court.
Matthew Fenwick said the journalist threatened to.