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What are Parallel Universes?

Diana Bocco
Updated May 21, 2024
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Parallel universes, also known as meta-universes or multiverses, are a group of theoretical twin universes that coexist at the same time as our own. They are said to be simple variations of our reality, all running at the same time in different realities. These universes are not uniquely confined to the science fiction realm anymore; philosophy, physics, and even theology have theories about why multiverses exist and how they work. Parallel universes have often been used in fiction and TV programs as an explanation for strange phenomena.

Quantum mechanics, the science that looks for explanations to phenomena that cannot be explained by the regular laws of physics and science, has been studying parallel universes since 1956. American physicist Hugh Everett first formulated the idea of their existence to explain the theory that every possible outcome of every choice we have actually does happen. While in this universe you may choose path A, an alternate you will choose path B in a parallel universe.

Where and how parallel universes exist is actually the most heated source of debate. Some say meta-universes exist close to us. So close, in fact, that ghosts may be nothing more than people from alternate universes somehow slipping into our reality. Others postulate that these universes are infinitely far, way beyond the farthest galaxies. A third theory is that parallel universes exist in different dimensions, either lower or higher than the four-dimension world we live in.

While the idea of parallel universes may seem incredible, more and more scientists are buying into the idea of a multitude of universes coexisting barely millimeters away. A disturbing new theory currently being researched in several high-profile universities holds that the Big Bang may not have been the actual beginning of the universe. In fact, some scientists are now claiming that the big explosion we see as the origin of our life could actually be the result of two universes colliding, thus generating a new one. This revolutionary theory has been taken seriously by quantum mechanic scientists and is now the source of heated debate across the world.

All The Science is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Diana Bocco
By Diana Bocco , Former Writer
Diana Bocco, a versatile writer with a distinct voice, creates compelling long-form and short-form content for various businesses. With a data-focused approach and a talent for sharing engaging stories, Diana’s written work gets noticed and drives results.

Discussion Comments

By anon948392 — On Apr 30, 2014

Well, they will never be able to prove the existence of parallel worlds. Everett was on safe ground with his hypothesis because while it can never be proved, neither can it be falsified. There's as much chance that my Second Life avatar is real and alive because my consciousness animates her, as there is that I share my consciousness with an infinite number of doppelgangers spread out over an infinite multiverse.

By anon924146 — On Jan 02, 2014

So, let me get this straight. If science or religion cannot explain certain phenomena, then it must be a parallel universe, right? Is science no better than religion or is this just human nature rearing its ugly head? Come on boys, nose to the grindstone. Parallel universe is a poor attempt to conceal your ineptitude.

By anon359960 — On Dec 22, 2013

I found this article for a very specific reason. After reading all of the posts I'd like to comment on a few things.

1. If parallel universes exist and someone traverses them by any method, then there is no way to sense both the "original" universe that person came from and the one they travel to. I use the 1960's movie “The Time Machine” as my example. In the early part of the movie, after George has performed the experiment with his model in front of his friends, he's explaining how if the model is traveling into the future. then no one can put their hand in the space it's occupying and feel it, since it's traveling fourth dimensionally, and our hands can normally only feel things that exist at that present moment. The same applies for all 5 (6?) of our senses.

2. The reason that since they probably do exist, but we've never met someone from one or anyone has claimed/had proof that they've travelled from one parallel universe to another, is that it's most likely very hard, or that it might only be possible as a mental journey.

Let me explain: what I mean is that you could travel to a parallel universe but only your current consciousness would do so. I don't know what would happen to the consciousness that was originally in your alternate-universe body, maybe either you switched or it was displaced. But the point is that then you would have to look for things that would identify and prove that you travelled to a parallel universe. Almost everything would be exactly the same, but if you pay attention you could find small differences, irrefutable proof that things are not the same in one or a few ways or another compared to the universe you were in before you travelled. So you would need a fairly good memory and some common sense to examine everything you knew and see if anything's changed.

For my example I use the movies “Back To The Future” 1 and 2. At the end of Part 1, there are some noticeable differences, and in 2 when they're in the alternate 1985, you can see how many things are different. Now in a true multiverse, it wouldn't be that easy to tell the difference; there may only be like five things max that have changed, but if you can even find one thing that definitely is different, then you know you've left your old universe behind, maybe for good.

So, that's a lot of what I wanted to say. Thanks for reading. -- Kronoan.

By anon357653 — On Dec 05, 2013

Every human being on this planet lives in this one universe, yet every thinking human being has an individual perspective of their reality in this universe: hence, 7 billion realities and some would say, "that means 7 billion universes."

These universes overlap without doubt, obey certain laws. yet occupy the same space. Each universe has the power to be good or evil or both. If you want the one universe to be better, then conduct your universe accordingly. Not everyone will live long and prosper but everyone can strive.

By anon321740 — On Feb 24, 2013

Parallel universes only exist in the minds of humans on this planet, which only proves that it's easier to make up stuff than find a logical explanation.

All parallel lines meet in the distance, which means it's a matter of scale. Parallel universes do not exist. Parallel realities is quite another matter.

By anon321363 — On Feb 22, 2013

How can parallel universes collide? If parallel lines don't, then how can the universe? If it is parallel?

By anon315093 — On Jan 21, 2013

I believe multiverses were dreamed up by people incapable of truly understanding gravity, mass, em energy and the cycle of our existing universe.

The concept of multiverses, like string theory, can neither be proven or disproven, and therefore become the perfect crutch for these "dillusionists". Other dimensions are, in fact, scale related, and it shouldn't take a mensa to understand that. Our dillusionists should leave the dreaming to Hollywood: they're much better at it.

By Dreams321 — On Jan 03, 2013

Since there are multiverses, this means that in another universe, there can be different law of physics for all you know. One universe can look like ours while another can be cartoonish. Think about it. With an infinite number of worlds (universes), anything can exist, don't you think?

I believe there probably is a world out there where everything is like cartoonish or maybe anime-ish.

By anon310371 — On Dec 22, 2012

I have a question. In a parallel universe, is there another me? And if so, is he doing exactly what I am doing? And if your other self always chooses the opposite choice from you, how can he then be doing what I am doing and how can it then be parallel?

By anon293902 — On Sep 28, 2012

Some universes are years behind others and the ghost like images people see which seem like another era are actually the people moving slower in another universe and time line.

By anon276768 — On Jun 26, 2012

We just can't conceive what we don't understand. The world was once flat, remember?

Do we have the ability to understand this parallel universe or any other concept like that? Can sharks understand algebra?

I don't believe we will answer this question until we have evolved for many more thousands of years and even then, we'll only understand what we can conceive at that time. We need another Einstein or two! People who can really think outside the box.

By anon254381 — On Mar 13, 2012

First, the galaxy is an unsolved mystery. The universe is always a puzzle!

By anon210753 — On Aug 31, 2011

Quick question. Every possibility is played out on every decision that we make in its own universe, right? Well we haven't exactly proved it yet, and if this is real, how come in another universe we haven't figured it out already?

I'm just saying if every possibility exists then we have already figured everything out in another dimension. In this dimension we haven't figured out how to travel between dimensions, so the other possibility would be that we have. Maybe I'm not getting something right here but in all attempts to time travel and switch dimensions and bend light our whatever else there may be, you're basically saying we've accomplished it but we don't know it yet.

Figure it out, scientists. Forget aliens. I want to see myself in another dimension.

By anon168215 — On Apr 16, 2011

Space infinitum is a flawed concept. The 'infinite' space around us may actually be nothing more than a virtual tableau. the science we produce to 'prove' our existence as a part of this 'system' may well also be nothing more, therefore, than the fragment components of the virtual program creation which is Galaxy- the game.

By anon117997 — On Oct 12, 2010

We are the parallel universes.

By anon110561 — On Sep 12, 2010

Maybe you can make maths fit any human idea. Maybe, despite our ideas, the universe is merely infinite space with clumps of mass derived energy packets here and there. Small and almost infinite distances might exist between other big bang clusters.

Big bang here, another big bang way over there. Every now and then by chance gravity and (or) random other forces clump bits of the stuff together, which can become unstable, and perhaps 'bangs' again. Timeless, and every possible outcome. Or, just the one bang, spreading out, and that's it?

A mathematical theory could be developed to perfectly fit that schoolboy daydream too. Mind you, I think M-theory also allows for this. Regards, Thantox

By anon108259 — On Sep 02, 2010

What is big or small cannot be decided by the physical size of it (freakishly true with relationships and human body).

Space (the stupid dimension) which is so full of emptiness, is what i believe is made from the very "insignificantly" small matter it shrouds. It's like peeking into a microscope, there is a depth that we can peer into and "see" beyond that matter still exists but cannot be "seen" with physical eyes.

What we have been fed all these years by scientists and priests is that the universe is infinite. Infinitely "big," but its fabric is made with and from the matter which makes us, and also with the matter which is present on the petri dish under the microscope the matter we can't "see" with our eyes.

My point is: it doesn't mean "it" is not out there because we can't see it. We just need a better microscope to convince the foolish eye.

For if the universe is so vast, than it has to be big enough for all (i mean "all") possibilities to exist! which I'm sure they do. Every crazy idea we have, every permutation and combination exists. Even the critics of the theory (any theory) are right. For even their ideas exist for the reason that they had one.

So even non existence exists. Why is it so difficult to believe? When we can foolishly believe in the "Creator"? Don't we doubt "him" by doubting "his" creation?

And at last: Soul has to be made of something? Am i wrong when i say that it's the supreme form of matter?

There is one other way: Just believe it. Foolishly or not. - Nobody.

By anon105745 — On Aug 22, 2010

i got familiar with this parallel world thing in the anime "katekyo hitman reborn", where there's an antagonist that somehow managed to share knowledge among himself in other worlds.

it reminds me of our teacher in high school. she said that when we meet a complete stranger and suddenly felt that he/she was familiar, it may be that we already meet that person in other worlds. Somehow, we already shared knowledge from parallel worlds without realizing it.

By anon92190 — On Jun 26, 2010

If parallel universes do exist, then is any one of the parallel universes more important than the other. A man claims on his website that people can pick up skills knowledge etc by being able to cross over to visit your other versions of you that have achieved anything.

By anon88734 — On Jun 07, 2010

Yes there are parallel universes existing and you have an identical you in that universe as well. Maybe those universes are not physical as ours and we are confined to our physical technology to see the universes like telescopes. If we find that technology then we'd be able to see beyond this physical world.

By anon86429 — On May 25, 2010

I find it hard to see how at any particular moment I could make two different decisions which then both lead off into two different worlds where the consequences of each decision are played out.

In any moment you will only ever make one decision unless your own mind constructs a whole parallel world to see what would have happened if it had made the other decision.

By anon84664 — On May 17, 2010

thanks for this article! but sometimes i wonder, according to a theory of multiverses, maybe what we see in our "world" is only a deformation of a phenomenon which has passed in the time (sure, the time being one of four vectors to localize an object,moving or no); either some explosions we observe generally are a non-compatibilities phenomena between n-universes which go colliding. For example, when hydrogen is mixed with oxygen to form a water molecule (i could agree with a four tentative of theory of the text as below). We investigate more, who knows? Dr. ivy-fortus, Angola.

By anon82669 — On May 06, 2010

I had to look at this for my english class. This page was very helpful, thanks!

By anon79404 — On Apr 22, 2010

Just think of it like World of Warcraft. There are different servers that players play on. They can be a mage on one server and a paladin on another server.

Just like in a parallel universe you can choose to be a teacher in this universe and maybe you chose to be a police officer in another universe. Or perhaps you weren't even born in some other parallel universe just like you didn't create a warcraft character on all the other servers.

By anon31839 — On May 12, 2009

I am a high school senior, and i stumbled upon this article. i am wondering if this can even be possible, i mean multiple universes right next to eachother co-existing at the exact same time? why wouldn't we know by now? how do we not see hear feel or smell them? how can 2 universes colliding produce a new one? i am going to research this a lot more and try to understand what this means for us...

By student246 — On Jul 13, 2008

This is the first time that I heard of this topic and to be quite honest it seems rather far-fetched. It is however, being discussed in major universities and being taken very seriously by scientist so, who knows. Perhaps the proof of existence of parallel universes could tell us more about our universe or explain some phenomena here on earth. I really hope to find out more about this in the future.

By darkmatter — On May 02, 2008

I have been puzzled for sometimes on the limitations of the speed in our known universe and that according to Einstein theory on relativity nothing can travel faster than light. However since starting reading more about parallel universes, our limitation to three dimensional world and way of thinking that has almost been forcing us to limit ourselves in the way we look at the universe and realities. Since there has been more about 11 dimensional universes, well almost anything can happen. I'd love to know more about possible physical laws that actually can contradict each other and break every possible rules.

Diana Bocco

Diana Bocco

Former Writer

Diana Bocco, a versatile writer with a distinct voice, creates compelling long-form and short-form content for various...
Learn more
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