I’m a science fiction writer, as well as a reader, so I tend to think about odd things when my hands are busy and my brain is unattended.
Today I was working on my latest rockery project when I found myself thinking about babushka dolls.
Image courtesy of Color My Brain
The interesting thing about these little babushkas is that they nest, one inside the other. If we had the technology, we could probably keep making them smaller right down to the Planck level. [Wiki : “the Planck length is in principle, … the shortest measurable length…”] Basically that’s incredibly small.
Fractals are the natural equivalent of babushkas.
Core image courtesy of Dave’s Garden
“Mandelbrot derived the term “fractal” from the Latin verb frangere, meaning to break or fragment. Basically, a fractal is any pattern that reveals greater complexity as it is enlarged. Thus, fractals graphically portray the notion of “worlds within worlds” …” [ http://www.glyphs.com/art/fractals/what_is.html%5D.
So what do babushkas and fractal fern leaves have to do with the multiverse? I’m so glad you asked. 😉
The thought that occurred to me while I was lugging those rocks around from one spot to another was… what if the multiverse is like an infinite series of babushkas?
As human beings we see the universe around us as the only universe, however a bacterium must think it is living in the only universe as well!
Yes, yes, I know, bacteria don’t have brains [sic], but when you look at how they live their lives, the parallels between them and us are not so very far-fetched. To a bacterium, one single human body is the universe! They can’t ‘see’ us because we are simply too big.
But what happens if we humans raise our sights from the microscopic and look up, at the billions of stars that inhabit our universe? Is it possible we are just like those bacteria, and can’t see the forest for the trees?
When I think of the stars, all arranged into galaxies, each of which orbits some theoretical centre of the universe, I can’t help thinking of the sub-atomic particles – protons, neutrons and electrons – that make up one atom. Those particles spin around the nucleus of the atom, much like the planets of a solar system or the stars in a galaxy, giving it form and substance. Fractals anyone?
Here, in our universe, if you multiply that one atom by the billions, you might end up with a rock, or a human being. But what would you get if you multiplied all those stars and galaxies by the billions? Would you just end up with star soup? Or might you not end up with a bigger babushka doll?
If there is such a thing as the multiverse then this is how I see it, one universe inside the other, each providing the building blocks for something bigger, grander, more unknowable. And if there is a god, then perhaps she is the biggest babushka of them all. 😉
-cough- On that metaphysical note I’m going to end this last post for 2012 and wish you all a safe, and very happy New Year!