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Previous Programs

2019 Intelligence in the Physical World

2019 Information as Fuel

2018 Agency in the Physical World
Awardees; RFP download

2016 Physics of the Observer
Awardees; RFP download

2015 The Physics of What Happens
Awardees; RFP download

2013 Physics of Information
Awardees; RFP download

2010 The Nature of Time
Awardees; RFP download

2008 Foundational Questions in Physics and Cosmology
Awardees; RFP download

2006 Foundational Questions in Physics and Cosmology
Awardees; RFP download

Dr. Richard J. Easther
Yale University


Eugene Lim, Yale University
Liam McAllister, Princeton University

Project Title

Possible Pasts in the Multiverse

Project Summary

The suggestion that our observable universe may be a single "pocket" in an infinite "multiverse" is one of the most profoundly exciting - and unsettling - possibilities offered by modern cosmology. However, attempts to calculate the probability of finding oneself inside a given type of pocket universe often yield ambiguous answers, which depend critically on the choice of coordinate system in the multiverse. This proposal tackles this problem by examining only quantities that can be computed without reference to any explicit coordinate system, and without making direct comparisons between hypothetical observers who could only communicate by using signals that travel faster than light. Secondly, much of theoretical support for the multiverse comes from the string landscape. This is a massively complicated, multidimensional surface with a vast number of valleys and paths - each of which represents a possible past for our (or any other) universe. The second goal of this proposal is to compute the properties of the landscape that follow directly from its dimensionality, as opposed to following from explicitly stringy considerations.

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