Back in March, cosmologists believed they had detected gravitational waves in the aftermath of the Big Bang that suggested the existence of a multiverse – a universe filled with many, possibly infinite, universes.
It was a mind-blowing discovery that made us question our very existence and led to Nobel Prize predictions and academic appointments, but now an eminent theoretical physicist has stepped forward with serious doubts about the research.
In an article in Nature, Albert Einstein Professor of Science at Princeton University Paul Steinhardt writes that "serious flaws in the analysis have been revealed that transform the sure detection [of gravitation waves] into no detection," adding that "the search for gravitational waves must begin anew."
Steinhardt pointed to light scattering from dust and synchrotron radiation from electrons moving within our own galaxy as possible causes for the misreadings, adding that the inflationary paradigm which multiverse theory comes from "is fundamentally untestable, and hence scientifically meaningless."
While his analysis will come as disheartening news, he pointed out that there is plenty of work underway to get more conclusive results.
"The sudden reversal should make the scientific community contemplate the implications for the future of cosmology experimentation and theory," he added.
"The search for gravitational waves is not stymied. At least eight experiments, including BICEP3, the Keck Array and Planck, are already aiming at the same goal."