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For three decades, researchers hunted in vain for new elementary particles that would have explained why nature looks the way it does. As physicists confront that failure, they’re reexamining a longstanding assumption: that big stuff consists of smaller stuff.
Since they can’t prod actual universes as they inflate and bump into each other in the hypothetical multiverse, physicists are studying digital and physical analogs of the process.
On November 16, 2018, more than 200 readers joined writers and editors from Quanta Magazine for a wide-ranging panel discussion that examined the newest ideas in fundamental physics, biology and mathematics research.
In an era when untestable ideas such as the multiverse hold sway, Michela Massimi defends science from those who think it hopelessly unmoored from physical reality.
The amount of energy infusing empty space seems too small to explain without a multiverse. But physicists have at least one alternative left to explore.
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