The Bottom Line
- Detailed exploration of modern cosmology.
- An in-depth look at current big bang models, including eternal inflation.
- Explains why recent findings in cosmology support a multiverse view.
- In this book, Vilenkin supports a growing, but not yet entirely accepted, viewpoint.
- hardcover, 235 pages
- 19 Chapters + Prologue, Epilogue, Notes, Acknowledgements, and Index
- Alex Vilenkin is the Director of the Tufts Institute of Cosmology.
Guide Review - Many Worlds in One: The Search for Other Universes by Dr. Alex Vilenkin
The question of why our universe has the properties it does becomes easier to answer. There are so many universes that surely some of them would have the properties we observe, and if that's the case, then of course life would develop in only those universes (such as ours) which happen to have the right properties. Our universe is not unique! This is the fundamental basis of the anthropic principle, and Vilenkin makes a strong case that this is direction that modern cosmology is heading.
Vilenkin tackles the major criticism of the anthropic principle - that it cannot be tested. In this section, I think he shoots himself in the foot a bit by pointing out that a similar method of analysis yields the result that the journal Nature will go out of print by the year 6800. This hardly sounds like the sort of precision we hope for ... but in cosmology those sort of error bounds are perfectly acceptable.
In his 1995 analysis, Vilenkin used anthropic arguments to narrow in on a cosmological constant that was much smaller than the bound found years earlier by Stephen Weinberg. At the time, the anthropic principle was very unpopular. With the discovery of a dark energy that matches Vilenkin's prediction, his credibility on the topic has grown tremendously.
Today both cosmologists and string theorists seem to be adopting the anthropic principle, and this book by Vilenkin does a great job of explaining why, in a way that's accessible to the layman.