full transcript

From the Ted Talk by Chris Anderson: How many universes are there?

Unscramble the Blue Letters

(Music) Sometimes when I'm on a long plane flight, I gaze out at all those mountains and deserts and try to get my head around how vast our ertah is. And then I rmeember that there's an object we see every day that would literally fit one mloliin Earths inside it. The sun seems impossibly big, but in the graet scheme of things, it's a pinprick, one of about 400 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy, which you can see on a clear night as a pale, white mist stretched across the sky. And it gets worse. There are maybe 100 biloiln galaxies detectable by our telescopes, so if each star was the size of a single giarn of sand, just the Milky Way has enough stars to fill a 30 foot by 30 foot stretch of beach three feet deep with sand. And the entire Earth doesn't have enough bcahees to represent the stars in the overall universe. Such a beach would cnutnoie for literally hundreds of millions of miles. Holy Stephen Hawking, that is a lot of stars. But he and other physicists now believe in a reality that is unmilbniaagy bieggr still. I mean, first of all, the 100 billion galaxies within range of our telescopes are probably a minuscule fraction of the total. spcae itself is exindpnag at an aaeerictlcng pace. The vast majority of the gaiexlas are spraaeintg from us so fast that light from them may never reach us. Still, our physical reality here on Earth is intimately connected to those distant, isilvnbie galaxies. We can think of them as part of our universe. They make up a single, gnait edifice, obeying the same physical laws and all made from the same types of amots, electrons, protons, quarks, neutrinos that make up you and me. However, recent theories in physics, including one called string theory, are now telling us there could be countless other universes, built on different types of particles, with different properties, oibyneg different laws. Most of these unviesres could never sppuort life, and might flash in and out of ectxnsiee in a nanosecond, but nonetheless, combined they make up a vast multiverse of possible universes. in up to 11 dimensions, faetirung wonders beyond our wsliedt imagination. And the leading version of string trhoey predicts a multiverse made of up to 10 to the 500 universes. That's a one followed by 500 zeroes, a number so vast that if every atom in our observable universe had its own universe and all of the atoms in all of those universes each had their own universe, and you repeated that for two more cycles, you'd still be at a tiny fraction of the total — namely, one trillion trillion trillion trillion tlirloin trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillionth. But even that number is minuscule compared to another number: infinity. Some physicists think the space-time continuum is literally infinite, and that it contains an infinite nmuebr of so-called pcoket universes with varying properties. How's your brain doing? But quantum theory adds a whole new wrinkle. I mean, the theory's been proven true beyond all dubot, but irnenettrpig it is baffling. And some physicists think you can only un-baffle it if you ingmaie that huge numbers of parallel universes are being spawned every moment, and many of these universes would actually be very like the world we're in, would include multiple copies of you. In one such universe, you'd gutdaare with honors and marry the person of your dreams. In another, not so much. There are still some scientists who would say, hogwash. The only meaningful answer to the question of how many universes there are is one, only one universe. And a few philosophers and mystics might agure that even our own universe is an illusion. So, as you can see, right now there is no agreement on this question, not even close. All we know is, the answer is somewhere between zero and infinity. Well, I guess we know one other thing: This is a pterty cool time to be studying physics. We just might be undergoing the biggest paradigm shift in knowledge that humanity has ever seen.

Open Cloze

(Music) Sometimes when I'm on a long plane flight, I gaze out at all those mountains and deserts and try to get my head around how vast our _____ is. And then I ________ that there's an object we see every day that would literally fit one _______ Earths inside it. The sun seems impossibly big, but in the _____ scheme of things, it's a pinprick, one of about 400 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy, which you can see on a clear night as a pale, white mist stretched across the sky. And it gets worse. There are maybe 100 _______ galaxies detectable by our telescopes, so if each star was the size of a single _____ of sand, just the Milky Way has enough stars to fill a 30 foot by 30 foot stretch of beach three feet deep with sand. And the entire Earth doesn't have enough _______ to represent the stars in the overall universe. Such a beach would ________ for literally hundreds of millions of miles. Holy Stephen Hawking, that is a lot of stars. But he and other physicists now believe in a reality that is ____________ ______ still. I mean, first of all, the 100 billion galaxies within range of our telescopes are probably a minuscule fraction of the total. _____ itself is _________ at an ____________ pace. The vast majority of the ________ are __________ from us so fast that light from them may never reach us. Still, our physical reality here on Earth is intimately connected to those distant, _________ galaxies. We can think of them as part of our universe. They make up a single, _____ edifice, obeying the same physical laws and all made from the same types of _____, electrons, protons, quarks, neutrinos that make up you and me. However, recent theories in physics, including one called string theory, are now telling us there could be countless other universes, built on different types of particles, with different properties, _______ different laws. Most of these _________ could never _______ life, and might flash in and out of _________ in a nanosecond, but nonetheless, combined they make up a vast multiverse of possible universes. in up to 11 dimensions, _________ wonders beyond our _______ imagination. And the leading version of string ______ predicts a multiverse made of up to 10 to the 500 universes. That's a one followed by 500 zeroes, a number so vast that if every atom in our observable universe had its own universe and all of the atoms in all of those universes each had their own universe, and you repeated that for two more cycles, you'd still be at a tiny fraction of the total — namely, one trillion trillion trillion trillion ________ trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillionth. But even that number is minuscule compared to another number: infinity. Some physicists think the space-time continuum is literally infinite, and that it contains an infinite ______ of so-called ______ universes with varying properties. How's your brain doing? But quantum theory adds a whole new wrinkle. I mean, the theory's been proven true beyond all _____, but ____________ it is baffling. And some physicists think you can only un-baffle it if you _______ that huge numbers of parallel universes are being spawned every moment, and many of these universes would actually be very like the world we're in, would include multiple copies of you. In one such universe, you'd ________ with honors and marry the person of your dreams. In another, not so much. There are still some scientists who would say, hogwash. The only meaningful answer to the question of how many universes there are is one, only one universe. And a few philosophers and mystics might _____ that even our own universe is an illusion. So, as you can see, right now there is no agreement on this question, not even close. All we know is, the answer is somewhere between zero and infinity. Well, I guess we know one other thing: This is a ______ cool time to be studying physics. We just might be undergoing the biggest paradigm shift in knowledge that humanity has ever seen.

Solution

  1. theory
  2. pocket
  3. great
  4. graduate
  5. imagine
  6. accelerating
  7. wildest
  8. earth
  9. remember
  10. expanding
  11. trillion
  12. grain
  13. featuring
  14. billion
  15. bigger
  16. argue
  17. separating
  18. pretty
  19. existence
  20. unimaginably
  21. million
  22. interpreting
  23. support
  24. galaxies
  25. space
  26. universes
  27. continue
  28. atoms
  29. doubt
  30. giant
  31. obeying
  32. number
  33. invisible
  34. beaches

Original Text

(Music) Sometimes when I'm on a long plane flight, I gaze out at all those mountains and deserts and try to get my head around how vast our Earth is. And then I remember that there's an object we see every day that would literally fit one million Earths inside it. The sun seems impossibly big, but in the great scheme of things, it's a pinprick, one of about 400 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy, which you can see on a clear night as a pale, white mist stretched across the sky. And it gets worse. There are maybe 100 billion galaxies detectable by our telescopes, so if each star was the size of a single grain of sand, just the Milky Way has enough stars to fill a 30 foot by 30 foot stretch of beach three feet deep with sand. And the entire Earth doesn't have enough beaches to represent the stars in the overall universe. Such a beach would continue for literally hundreds of millions of miles. Holy Stephen Hawking, that is a lot of stars. But he and other physicists now believe in a reality that is unimaginably bigger still. I mean, first of all, the 100 billion galaxies within range of our telescopes are probably a minuscule fraction of the total. Space itself is expanding at an accelerating pace. The vast majority of the galaxies are separating from us so fast that light from them may never reach us. Still, our physical reality here on Earth is intimately connected to those distant, invisible galaxies. We can think of them as part of our universe. They make up a single, giant edifice, obeying the same physical laws and all made from the same types of atoms, electrons, protons, quarks, neutrinos that make up you and me. However, recent theories in physics, including one called string theory, are now telling us there could be countless other universes, built on different types of particles, with different properties, obeying different laws. Most of these universes could never support life, and might flash in and out of existence in a nanosecond, but nonetheless, combined they make up a vast multiverse of possible universes. in up to 11 dimensions, featuring wonders beyond our wildest imagination. And the leading version of string theory predicts a multiverse made of up to 10 to the 500 universes. That's a one followed by 500 zeroes, a number so vast that if every atom in our observable universe had its own universe and all of the atoms in all of those universes each had their own universe, and you repeated that for two more cycles, you'd still be at a tiny fraction of the total — namely, one trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillionth. But even that number is minuscule compared to another number: infinity. Some physicists think the space-time continuum is literally infinite, and that it contains an infinite number of so-called pocket universes with varying properties. How's your brain doing? But quantum theory adds a whole new wrinkle. I mean, the theory's been proven true beyond all doubt, but interpreting it is baffling. And some physicists think you can only un-baffle it if you imagine that huge numbers of parallel universes are being spawned every moment, and many of these universes would actually be very like the world we're in, would include multiple copies of you. In one such universe, you'd graduate with honors and marry the person of your dreams. In another, not so much. There are still some scientists who would say, hogwash. The only meaningful answer to the question of how many universes there are is one, only one universe. And a few philosophers and mystics might argue that even our own universe is an illusion. So, as you can see, right now there is no agreement on this question, not even close. All we know is, the answer is somewhere between zero and infinity. Well, I guess we know one other thing: This is a pretty cool time to be studying physics. We just might be undergoing the biggest paradigm shift in knowledge that humanity has ever seen.

Frequently Occurring Word Combinations

ngrams of length 2

collocation frequency
billion galaxies 2

Important Words

  1. accelerating
  2. adds
  3. agreement
  4. answer
  5. argue
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  40. electrons
  41. entire
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  44. fast
  45. featuring
  46. feet
  47. fill
  48. fit
  49. flash
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  60. guess
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  62. head
  63. hogwash
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  70. imagination
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  182. zeroes