If the idea of parallel universes blow your mind, then you might want to sit down while you read about this new mind-bending scientific theory: Scientists are proposing that not only are parallel universes real, but they are constantly interacting with each other.

The “Many-Interacting Worlds” theory, by Griffith University scientists Howard Wiseman and Dr Michael Hall and University of California’s Dirk-Andre Deckert, was just published by journal Physical Review X. According to a press release, the theory argues that yes, multiple universes exist simultaneously, and “rather than evolving independently, nearby worlds influence one another by a subtle force of repulsion.”

What the hell does that mean? Wiseman puts it in layman terms, saying, “each universe branches into a bunch of new universes every time a quantum measurement is made. All possibilities are therefore realised – in some universes the dinosaur-killing asteroid missed Earth. In others, Australia was colonised by the Portuguese.”

Here’s what the theory proposes:

-The universe we experience is just one of a gigantic number of worlds. Some are almost identical to ours while most are very different;
-All of these worlds are equally real, exist continuously through time, and possess precisely defined properties;
-All quantum phenomena arise from a universal force of repulsion between ‘nearby’ (i.e. similar) worlds which tends to make them more dissimilar.

Wiseman insists that the theory complies with Newtonian mechanics and the wave-particle duality model of quantum mechanics. “The beauty of our approach is that if there is just one world our theory reduces to Newtonian mechanics, while if there is a gigantic number of worlds it reproduces quantum mechanics,” he said. “In between it predicts something new that is neither Newton’s theory nor quantum theory.”

Scientists already see potential application of this theory in molecular dynamics that explain drug interactions and furthering our understanding of quantum behavior.

If you’re still confused, you’re not alone. Nobel Prize-winning theoretical physicist Richard Feynman famously once said, “I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics,” though he probably just said that to make the rest of us feel less dumb.

(Photo: Tom/TT Design)