Do you believe our universe has the sort of mirror image you might see in Star Trek or Rick and Morty? It might not be full of trippy swirls or alt-versions of ourselves, but someone is trying to take that aspect of science fiction and prove that it’s actual science.
This summer, physicist Leah Broussard has been running an experiment that sounds more like the next sci-fi movie smash than something that could actually happen in a lab. She and her research team at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee have been running an experiment to prove that the universe we live in is only one side of … something. Called an oscillation, this experiment should reveal “mirror matter” by blasting a beam of subatomic particles through a 50-foot tunnel and past a monster magnet to reach an impenetrable wall.
“Should” is the operative word here. Even Broussard told NBC Mach that her brainchild is “pretty wacky” and that “the game totally changes” if you can actually prove something this mind-blowing.
If this oscillation works the way Broussard has theorized, it could open up a portal to a parallel world, which might not be quite as glamorous as what you see in movies and TV, but still has its own laws of physics and its own history. You probably wouldn’t see yourself walking around. What Broussard believes you would see are things like mirror atoms (at least under a powerful microscope) and mirror rocks, planets, and stars. They may or may not actually look like the cosmic objects in our universe. It would be a world like ours, but not ours.
The 85-megawatt nuclear reactor at Oak Ridge can spew billions of neutrons, but what Broussard needs to do if she can prove this mirror world exists is make at least one of them cross over. If they do, they are (theoretically) supposed to turn into mirror neutrons, then morph right back when they return. Physics theory as it is now claims none should be visible.
So what happens if Broussard can find even one mirror particle? If Broussard can detect any, that pretty much shatters everything we think we know about physics. It would definitely be proof that our other half exists. Beyond that, it would also give every physicist out there a migraine trying to rewrite the laws of physics so they can explain the phenomenon.
Proof of a mirror universe could also make a further case for the existence of dark matter, which may be impossible to prove in our world because it’s on the other side. Would there be dark planets? Dark life forms?
“Dark people is probably a bit far-fetched,” Broussard said. “But dark matter is very likely as rich as our own matter. This kind of thing needs to be explored.”
(via NBC MACH)