CERN physicists believe the Large Hadron Collider may finally prove parallel universes exist - perhaps even with evil goatees - within the year.
Parallel universes have long been a staple of science fiction, appearing in everything from Star Trek to BioShock. But they aren't just fictional constructs - modern quantum mechanics has put forward the idea that other universes exist in tandem of our own. The trick is proving it, but how long will that take? Well, if CERN's projections for the Large Hadron Collider are correct, probably by this spring.
Here's the logic behind the thinking: In the realm of modern physics, string theory is considered the most likely explanation behind all of existence. String theory makes all kinds of sense on a mathematical level, but we're still gathering observational data to prove it. That's the main reason particle accelerators like the Large Hadron Collider exist - they let us replicate and observe the behavior of particles from the earliest days of the universe.
Once the LHC becomes fully operational, which is expected to happen this spring, string theory clearly states what should happen when it's flipped on - tiny black holes no bigger than a millimeter will form. If physicists observe these mini black holes it validates string theory and, by association, the existence of parallel universes.
"That's something I'm really, really waiting for," physicist Mir Faizal said, "because if it does come out in our energy scale, then we know we're using the right theory."
Now you might be asking yourself, if we've been running the LHC already, why couldn't we see the black holes? According to Faizal, it's likely because the energy needed to produce them was larger than what the LHC could muster - which will change once it's fully operational. Physicists also need to take the "rainbow gravity" theory into account, which suggests gravity might leak into other dimensions, lowering the energy levels needed to make black holes.
"So if LHC operates at that [energy level]- we will know that rainbow gravity is correct, and that extra dimensions and parallel universes are correct," Faizal explained.
Right now however, the LHC is facing delays just to make sure it will be in working order. A CERN spokesperson recently revealed that repairs were underway to remove a small piece of metal that became stuck near one of the accelerator's magnets. If all goes well, the delay will take a few days - if not, it could take over five weeks.
Let's be clear however: If the LHC does prove the existence of parallel universes, that doesn't mean we'll stumble across a mirror universe where our polar opposites have goatees. But I still don't think we should be surprised if that's what we find.