Stephen Hawking's final research paper has been published, and it's mind-bending

Late British physicist Stephen Hawking | AP

A research paper on the nature of our universe and its place in the wider multiverse, penned by theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking and his colleague Thomas Hertog, has been released by Cambridge.

According to The Guardian, the new theory "may provide some comfort to physicists who wonder how, given all the hostile variations thought possible, we find ourselves in a universe well suited to life". This paper was authored by Stephen W Hawking and Thomas Hertog, and can be found with code arXiv:1707.07702v3 [hep-th] (that's version 3).

"However, the dynamics of eternal inflation wipes out the separation between classical and quantum physics", he continued.

As the story goes, our universe began with the Big Bang. Some of those universes could appear very similar to ours, while others might have completely different laws of physics.

"The usual theory of eternal inflation predicts that globally our universe is like an infinite fractal, with a mosaic of different pocket universes, separated by an inflating ocean", said Hawking in an interview in the latter half of the year 2017. Physicists could find the evidence of other universes using tools created to measure ripples in spacetime which is also known as primordial gravitational waves.

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To understand what the professors mean when they say eternal inflation, consider what one existing theory on the big bang is.

This idea, championed by Hawking and Hertog, also implies that there are infinite universes.

But Prof Hawking claimed the idea could not be reconciled with Einstein's theory of General Relativity.

It is widely believed, however, that once inflation starts, there are regions where it never stops. This eternal inflation produces a "multiverse", a collection of pocket universes of which our own universe is just one.

The renowned physicist's last theory, published this week in the Journal of High Energy Physics, contends that, while there may be multiple universes, the reality of these alternate universes may be closer to our own than has been previously proposed. Local laws of physics and chemistry can differ from one pocket universe to another, which together would form a multiverse. "I personally felt this might be the conclusion of our journey, but I never told him", recounts the Belgian professor at the Catholic University of Leuven.

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"We predict that our universe, on the largest scales, is reasonably smooth and globally finite".

Quantum effects can simply keep this inflation going forever in some parts of the universe, making inflation eternal in the overall picture.

So the new paper attempts to simplify things, challenging some of the assumptions of eternal inflation.

"When we trace the evolution of our universe backwards in time, at some point we arrive at the threshold of eternal inflation, where our familiar notion of time ceases to have any meaning", Hertog said.

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