In another universe I am a theoretical cosmologist

28 October 2011

And in every universe I am a heretic. Though an agreeable one.

Here’s a recent piece by my favorite contemporary theoretical physicist (i.e. the one I can name), Sean Carroll: Welcome to the Multiverse. So in another universe, in some other pocket of the multiverse perhaps, my life is changed in the tenth grade when I discover that in addition to having an aptitude for math (which was true in this universe), I also kinda like it and decide to pursue it a little more seriously (not true here). I allow my rather strong desire to go beyond the earth’s atmosphere (true) to lead me into theoretical domains that do just that (sort of true), and when I am seventeen, rather than take some serious time trying to figure out exactly what I might have to do to become an astronaut (true), I go ahead and pursue complex maths and wacky sciences and gain an insider’s understanding of the kind of stuff (this is all obviously not true here) of which Sean Carroll writes popular descriptions and explanations. (He writes insidery articles, too, but I don’t read those in this universe. And in this universe I just trust that what he says is good science, whether or not it’s “right,” which is, anyway, a different question altogether.)

As it happens, in the universe in which I am writing this blog post, when I was seventeen I decided against trying to become an engineering student, which seemed absolutely dreadful to me, and instead figured if I live long enough and make a decent enough living, eventually some opportunity to blast off and see the earth from high, high above will probably come to be. Dissatisfying, but true enough. And in the meantime, I can read and think about the multiverse and dream the distant dream that someone someday will be able to observe (in some sense) and understand the early universe, and maybe what came “before,” and that someone like me, having chosen against pursuing math and science at their highest levels, will nevertheless be able to read about what they find, and imagine…

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