Pocket universes. Alternate dimensions. Multiverses. Parallel planes. The Upside Down. If you haven’t seen Stranger Things Season 1, this article might have more info than you’re looking for.
Stranger Things wasn’t the first sci-fi story to utilize a type of alternate or parallel reality. Humanity has grappled with the concept of parallel realities for good reason. Everyone wants to know what happens to Will and Eleven next, but there’s a bigger question.
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Spoilers for Stranger Things Season 1 Ahead
The Duffer Bros. & Alternate Dimension Tradition
The much-lampooned live-action Mario Bros. film depicted an alternate dimension where dinosaurs ruled the land. If you remember, the Goombas were frickin’ hilarious.
There’s that one episode of Family Guy where Stewie and Brian hop from one universe to the next (or the Futurama episode that did it first). SCP Containment Breach has a character that can doom you to pocket universes. Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World features a super convenient “subspace highway”.
Humanity is utterly obsessed with that feeling of something breathing over their respective shoulders. Of course, when you turn to look, there’s absolutely nothing there.
That could be your brain succumbing to something like confirmation bias or even just simple paranoia . . . Or there’s a giant monster resembling the progeny of a demented flower and a Silent Hill nurse about to eat you.
Apart from pop culture references and the dreams (or perhaps nightmares) of many a Stranger Things fan, many people consider this reality the only one. That is, until now.
Parallels, Pockets, Bubble Theory, & You
The greatest enemy to the existence of parallel universes is the concept that our universe, while massive, is finite. Despite this, we all know that scientific minds often retract older theories. And, spoiler alert: people have already calculated the distance to a parallel universe in our potential multiverse.
Based on cosmological volume and the velocity of light, that would only be 10^10^115 meters away. An identical universe to our own would be 10^10^29 meters away. This relates to something called “bubble theory”.
As a result of how quickly our universe expanded, there may be “bubble universes”. Alternate universes may have sectioned off during creation, forming their own realities.
Using the “eternal inflation” approach to the cosmos, everything exists in a vacuum, but still has energy. Think of this theory like a big, cosmological pot of boiling water. The bubbles roil, bouncing off and into one another. These bubbles resulted from those universal collisions.
So that means, in some expanse of the multiverse world, actor John Cho of Star Trek is portraying embittered Police Chief Hopper as currently played by David Harbour in Stranger Things.
In this crazy alternate universe, the sky is polka-dotted with green flames and yellow Batman signals. Suicide Squad was actually worth watching. But this is all familiar territory . . . in theory.
However, scientists think they have found the first, definitive and real evidence of an alternate universe, proving the multiverse theory.
How a Temperature Drop Could Support the Multiverse Theory
An unusually cold part of the universe drew the attention of cosmic researchers in the last few years. Astronomers measured the temperature utilizing latent radiation throughout the universe. The area, a casual 1.8 billion light years across, is colder than the surrounding areas by 0.00027 degrees Fahrenheit or 0.00015 degrees Celsius.
Originally believed to be colder due to a lack of matter with 10,000 fewer galaxies than its peers, recent galactic surveys disproved the supervoid theory. Astronomers ruled that this area could not be a supervoid, but could be a part of space where celestial bodies were more closely clustered around smaller voids (like bubbles). Despite a significant margin for error, the practical calculations suggest only a 2% probability that the “cold spot” formed by chaos theory.
Tom Shanks told Futurism: “This means we can’t entirely rule out that the Spot is caused by an unlikely fluctuation explained by the standard model. But if that isn’t the answer, then there are more exotic explanations . . . Perhaps the most exciting of these is that the Cold Spot was caused by a collision between our universe and another bubble universe.”
Which of These Theories Proves the Existence of The Upside Down?
As Kyle Hill of The Nerdist explains, The Upside Down is definitely not another dimension. It’s a legitimate reality that could be the result of anomalous quantum waves and fluctuations. He relates it to the universe being a “quantum tapestry” made of data that, close-up makes no sense (like Pointillist paintings).
Different from the multiverse theory, this means that two distinct parallel realities in that tapestry could be linked through the quantum fabric.
It would also mean that quantum entanglement is entirely possible and that travel between the realities is also entirely possible. This means, too, that “parallel universes” and “parallel realities” are two wildly different concepts. However, quantum entanglement would require an access point (like the portal in Hawkins, Indiana).
One thing Kyle doesn’t touch on is the fact that Will can communicate with Joyce via Christmas lights and, by proxy, lightwaves. In fact, you can tell when The Upside Down or a denizen of the realm is near by how lights react to its presence.
Now, the tricky thing here: light can act as either a wave or a particle or both simultaneously which scientists finally captured evidence of in 2015. That still doesn’t account for the telekinetic powers of the monster and Eleven…but that’s another article.