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The term Multiverse was invented in December 1960, by Andy Nimmo, then vice
chairman of the British Interplanetary Society, Scottish Branch, for a talk
on the Everett many-worlds interpretation of quantum physics which had been
published in 1957, to the branch. This was given in February 1961, and the
word with its original definition, "an apparent universe, a multiplicity of
which, go to make up the whole universe" was then first used. This was
because the then dictionary definition of the word 'universe' was, "All that
there is" and one cannot have "Alls that there is" etymologically. 'Uni'
means one, and 'multi' means many, so you can have many multiverses.
The word was then both used correctly and misused in both scientific and
science fiction circles over several years by those who attended the meeting
and others. In the late 1960s science fiction author Michael Moorcock
interpreted the word in a novel that was read by David Deutsch. Deutsch then
used the term "multiverse" in a scientific work as the totality of all
possible universes throughout time, including our observable universe- the
opposite of its previous definition. Other scientists, not being
etymologists, then picked up and adopted the popular redefinition of the word.
Although no scientific evidence suggesting the possibility of other realms
outside our own universe has been discovered yet, the concept of other
universes (also described as "alternate" universes) has been proposed by
theoretical scientists. In the absence of direct evidence, the case for
multiple universes is related to the principle of Ockham's Razor; the
existence of our universe and possibly quantum decoherence within it are
most simply explained by the existence of many universes.
A multiverse of a somewhat different kind has been envisaged within the
11-dimensional extension of string theory known as M-theory. In M-theory our
universe and others are created by collisions between membranes in an
11-dimensional space. Unlike the universes in the "quantum multiverse",
these universes can have completely different laws of physics—anything
may be possible.
The formation of our universe from a "bubble" of a multiverse was proposed
by Linde and fits well with the widely accepted theory of inflation. There
is also a strong line of reasoning leading to the conclusion that all
possible worlds exist.
A majority of cosmologists now believe that Everett's many-worlds
interpretation of quantum theory is correct. (Source: Michael Price's
The concept of the multiverse figures prominently in many science fiction
and fantasy novels. Among the more famous fictional "multiverses" are those
of Michael Moorcock, though "alternate universe" stories have appeared in
popular science fiction. A classic episode of Star Trek entitled "Mirror,
Mirror" featured an "alternate" version of the Star Trek universe where the
main characters were barbaric and evil. The science fiction TV series
Sliders is founded upon the idea of an infinite number of "alternate"
Earths, with each Earth existing in a different and separate universe.
On developing his concept of the multiverse, Moorcock was developing his
"Eternal Champion" stories at around the time Everett was developing his
theory. Moorcock first used the term in print in the 1962 novel The
Blood-Red Game. In the same year, the original Eternal Champion novella was
published in Science Fantasy Magazine. On the influence of Everett's work,
It was an idea in the air, as most of these are, and I would have come
across a reference to it in New Scientist (one of my best friends was
then editor) ... [or] physicist friends would have been talking about
it. ... Sometimes what happens is that you are imagining these things
in the context of fiction while the physicists and mathematicians are
imagining them in terms of science. I suspect it is the romantic
imagination working, as it often does, perfectly efficiently in both
the arts and the sciences.
The popular comic book publishers Marvel Comics and DC Comics each have
their own fictional "multiverses" that exist within the framework of their
A large number of fantasy stories involve a character being suddenly
transported from one world or universe (often from our own Earth) into
another universe. Notable stories of this sort include the Thomas Covenant
stories of Stephen R. Donaldson, and the Guardians of the Flame series by
The Multiverse is a concept derived originally, by philosophers in prior
centuries; but theoretical physicist David Deutsch was the first to discover
and contribute physical evidence to support the theory on a quantum scale.
David Deutsch is also a major proponent of the collaboration of scientists
working to instill factuality of quantum theory on a macrocosmic level.
Deutsch specializes in quantum computing, a modern revolution in computer
The concept of the Multiverse is present in the recent box-office hit, "The
One", starring Jet Li.
The Multiverse was physically conveyed through the product of the famous
"double-slit experiment" (invented by Thomas Young in 1803 - long before
quantum theory) in which photons were emitted at a wall with 2 openings, and
the sensor behind the wall recorded the collision points of the photons. As
one photon was emitted, multiple points were registered on the grid, thus
conveying the idea that the photon (a quanta of light) was making multiple
decisions. The data is also recorded with sensitive "quantum" cameras.