There are several articles that have appeared over the years in Scientific American Magazine about the concept of infinity. Some deal with the ability to wrap one’s mind around the idea while others are simply trying to define what the word actually means. Seems like most people take the word for granted and use it very casually but amongst mathematicians, there are differing opinions on the true definition of the term. It gets rather technical so we won’t go there; however, the connotation or widely accepted use of the word means something like ‘goes on forever & ever’. When you try to conceptualize this idea it might drive you a little crazy. Can we really visualize something that has no end?
The current theoretical physics and cosmological community says that our universe is just one of infinite universes that might look like an ocean of bubbles spread out for eternity. If we could go to the edge of our universe, they say there is no sign there stating “that’s it”. Of course, no one knows what and where our universe ends and we’ll never see it as it is physically impossible to go that far; so we can only imagine what it’s like. The infinite multi-verse theory and the idea of infinity are just theories even though they are based on the best scientific information available. Any idea or concept that is un-testable will always remain a theory as true science requires hard evidence to become fact.
Although the ideas of infinite universes that go on forever are untestable, it is fun to think about because these concepts raise infinite possibilities. These ideas can be viewed as a type of Star Trek philosophy. It is said that if you travel long enough and far enough you will eventually meet yourself. To date, based on the current thinking, scientists have actually calculated the distance to the nearest universe wherein there is a humanoid life form located there with the exact same number of atoms and molecules structured in the exact same form as each one of us. Apparently, if I searched long enough I would find another piano player out there somewhere that looks and sounds just like me.
Deems Tsutakawa is a local Sansei musician. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.