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It's just black holes all the way down...

Was our universe born in a wormhole in another universe?

(excuse me Sir, my brain is full!)

A long time ago in a universe far, far away a giant star is in its death throws. It has shone undiminished for billions of years, faithfully illuminating its corner of the cosmos but, its fuel finally exhausted, it collapses. Its quiet implosion concentrates all of its formerly colossal bulk into a tiny speck, a black hole that bends the fabric of the universe to such a degree that it tunnels into another reality and the star becomes a wormhole. Within the wormhole’s womb, a seed of matter expands to become a whole new universe in which, one day, you will be born, live out your days and die.

This might sound pretty fantastic but a theoretical physicist believes that just such a scenario could answer some of cosmology’s most annoying problems.

One of those problems is gravity. For decades scientists – including Einstein – have struggled to mathematically unite this force with the other fundamental forces (electromagnetism and the strong and weak nuclear forces).

Another problem is the messy reality that our universe is expanding at an ever increasing rate when, theoretically, its expansion should be slowing. The last is more of a question than a problem – what came before the Big Bang?

Big Bang theory maintains that the universe was born from a single point of hyper-concentrated matter (a singularity) and has been expanding from that point ever since. But how did that point get there in the first place?

The answer might lie in an idea first suggested more than 30 years ago – that the seed of the Big Bang was created by a dying star in another universe. This dying star created a black hole with a cosmological plughole at the bottom called an Einstein-Rosen bridge, or wormhole. This wormhole tunnelled from that universe, carrying the seed of our universe with it. In the theoretical reverse of a black hole, known as white hole, it spat the seed out, allowing it to expand to create the universe we know and love.

Despite the age of this theory, physicist Nikodem Poplawski, publishing in the journal Physics Letters B next month, has for the first time made calculations that prove that (on paper at least) such a scenario is possible.

It would answer all those irritating cosmological conundrums. If another universe existed before our own, we could trace gravity back to a time when it was united with the other fundamental forces and it explains the universe’s continued expansion and even what came before the Big Bang.

‘But what came before the Big Bang that formed the universe that created our Big Bang?’, do I hear you ask?

Well, maybe it’s just black holes all the way down

View and download this week's Cosm here

(this week's graphic - From dying star to black hole to brand new universe)