Big Bang theory upended: These ‘alternate universes’ are really complex

We asked astronomer Toyin Ojih Odutola, a PhD candidate in astronomy at the University of Chicago, to explain the full meaning of Mesmeric Alternate Universes. She’s on hiatus now, but in late 2019 you’ll be able to hear her talk about these theories and her personal research at the Smithsonian’s Hayworth Mansion and the National Museum of Natural History.

Q: Why don’t we typically think of nuclear fusion as a kind of theory for the cosmos?

A: We typically think of clusters of matter and their dynamics as an atomic force — that’s how we teach about the physics of matter in a classroom. But it turns out, there’s an exciting form of matter for the galaxy — an agent of instability called Mesolithic Alternate Universes, or MOVA. These alternative universes are places where the gravitational pull of black holes — the constituent objects of the larger universe — seems to have somehow changed. The force on black holes has so disrupted the accretion disk that the two types of matter have been flung out of their accretion disks and into environments where they interact with each other. The strange collisions of the matter create this chaos in the same way that atomic forces or chemists’ reactions can. The pull of MOVA pulls the dark matter around the black holes and when it pulls, it makes the black holes more chaotic. And MOVA also creates a form of matter that is in some ways what we’d call dark matter; it’s made of voids of empty space that are surrounded by other voids of empty space. So this material has a very different chemistry and shape from traditional dark matter.

Q: Have you made any revelations that have been exciting to you?

A: When I was a student, I noticed that the number of empty voids on some large-scale galaxies had gotten bigger over time. When galaxies were the same size, these large-scale voids didn’t exist. Now, they’re no bigger than about 500 to 100,000 light-years across — that’s a petabyte’s worth of dark matter, which is hundreds of billion times as large as the known universe. These large-scale voids are kind of bizarre because they don’t end up on the outskirts.

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