Several weeks after the death of Stephen Hawking, the so-called Hawking's "Final Theory", his most recent piece of scientific research about the character of our universe and its position in the broader multiverse, has been published earlier this day in the Journal of High-Energy Physics.
But Hawking wasn't having any of it, as it doesn't work with Einstein's theory of General Relativity - admitting in an interview a year ago that he had "never been a fan of" the multiverse. "Now we're saying that there is a boundary in our past", said Hertog.
However, in their co-publication, Hawking and Hertog say that despite being formed amidst radically different laws of physics, the individual universes may not be that different from one another.
The "no boundary theory" implies that the Big Bang would have led to the creation of infinite universes, each exhibiting physical laws that differ from others. The part of the universe that we can observe is just a hospitable pocket where inflation has ended. According to Hertog, "I always had the impression that he never wanted to quit and, in a way, this was Hawking".
Hawking passed away on 14 March, leaving behind one of the most influential legacies in science - a legacy that, judging from this little nugget, is also a gift that just keeps on giving.
In this new paper, Hawking and Herzog reexamined the theoretical characteristics of the Big Bang using new mathematical applications.
Much like popular explanations of multiple iterations of characters in comic books, theorists suggest the possibility of infinite universes - the multiverse. "As a outcome, Einstein's theory breaks down in eternal inflation".
"The most promising observable [phenomena], when it comes to our universe, are gravitational waves ... that are probably generated at the big bang, basically", he said in a video explaining the paper.
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Both Hawking and Hertog argue that these probabilities may not be as endless as other scientists used to claim since the eternal inflation is restricted by "a smooth, timeless, featureless state of existence".
Hertog now plans to study the implications of the new theory on smaller scales that are within reach of our space telescopes.
Hertog travelled to Cambridge to work on the theory with Hawking and towards the end, communication became very hard, he said.
"This paper. reduces the multiverse down to a more manageable set of universes which all look alike".
The expansion of our universe since the beginning means such gravitational waves would have very long wavelengths, outside the range of the current LIGO detectors.
The European Space Agency's Laser Interferometer Space Antenna, or LISA, "should be ideally suited to capture those gravitational waves from the big bang", Hertog said.