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No. 100: Jul-Aug 1995

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When Different Universes Rub Together

Over the past few years, more than one theorist has proposed that our universe coexists with at least one, perhaps many, other universes. Said universes are constituted of particles possessing properties so different from own own that we cannot normally discern the reality of these other "existences." In other words, astronomers cannot visually see the stars of these "shadow universes, nor do our detectors of electricity and magnetism acknowledge them. Normally, the subatomic "shadow" particles do not interact with our own particles either. Then, why even bother to contemplate shadow universes? Well, physicists say that none of their laws prohibits the existence of these other universes, and that's reason enough to search for a "looking-glass" entrance of some sort.

Just suppose that the particles of one of these shadow universes do possess mass (or whatever shadow physicists call it). Some speculate that this shadow mass could be the "missing mass" that cosmologists have been looking for and can't find. Cosmologists need something palpable out there to explain the puzzling dynamics of galaxies and other phenomena. Some physicists in our universe have conceived of a situation where our universe may "rub together" with a shadow universe. [Honestly!] During such less-than-cataclysmic encounters, some of the electric charge on our-world particles could be "scraped off" and transferred to shadow-world particles, enabling us to finally detect them!

This possibility obviously calls for experiments aimed at detecting other-world particles with electric charges of, say, one-thousandth of an electron's charge. The search is now underway at SLAC (Stanford Linear Accelerator Center).

(Travis, John; "How Quixotic Is SLAC's Quest to Detect 'Crazy Particle'?" Science, 267:1424, 1995.)

Shadow Comment. Obviously, weird phenomena might transpire when and where universes rub together. One area of frequent rubbing is probably the Bermuda Triangle! Had enough? We have.

From Science Frontiers #100, JUL-AUG 1995. 1995-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987