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Previous Programs

2020 Consciousness in the Physical World

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. Saswat Sarangi
Columbia University


Gary Shiu, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Benjamin Shlaer, University of Colorado, Boulder

Project Title

Transport Properties of the Multiverse

Project Summary

One of the greatest surprises to come from recent theoretical physics is the description of an incredible number of possible four-dimensional universes. The resulting picture is that empty space is occasionally bubbling new and different universes in much the same way that bubbles of steam form and expand in a hot kettle: But instead of only two possible phases, the 'multiverse' can cook up perhaps 10500 different phases of universe. The question we will address is whether our type of universe is in any sense typical - or even compatible within this new theoretical framework, known as the Landscape.

Our approach is to understand collective behavior in the Landscape. As an analogy, one may study the gross properties of a bottle of soda that determine when bubble nucleation becomes ubiquitous (e.g. when the cap is opened or sugar is added). A more precise analogy is that of transport in a disordered system. Disorder in semi-conductors and metals have a large impact on the mobility of an electron, and determine what the likelihood is for a current to reach a given destination. In the landscape, a probability current flows between universes. Understanding where this current flows is equivalent to understanding which universes are formed.

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