New theory on how it all started

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 24 June, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 24 June, 2006, 12:00am

While we were rolling out the red carpet, Stephen Hawking apparently didn't see fit to share with us his latest and even more intriguing theory about how it all started. Apparently, Hawking and his colleague, Thomas Hertog, of the European Laboratory for Particle Physics, have a startling new proposal about how the universe was created. According to the journal Nature, which got wind of the contents of the article the two are about to publish in Physical Review, they have proposed that the universe started in every imaginable and unimaginable way!

Most people, even the early Hawking, thought there was only one way, but the pair now argue there were multiple beginnings, the sum of which added up to our present universe. The universe in the first instants of the big bang is a superposition of all these possibilities.

Sounds strange? Apparently this is the view that must be taken if we accept quantum mechanics.

For example, we think a light ray travels on a straight path from A to B. Not true, say contemporary physicists. A light particle actually travels on every possible path - the 'straight line' is just the summation of all these paths.

The same must be true of the universe in its evolution into its present state - a sum of all possible histories, or so Hawking and Hertog have argued.

That's hedging your bets. Their theory must be true because it encompasses every possibility.