"Beginning of simulations"
"Late stages of simulations"
Fractallike nature of the inflationary universe along the lines of a different theory of particle physics. Strange color pattern corresponds to the distribution of energy in the theory of axions—known as a Kandinsky universe.

—Andrei Linde
“The Self-Reproducing Inflationary Universe”

The concept of a multiplicity of possible or actual universes is a very ancient one. In recent years, however, advances in physics and cosmology have given the “multiverse” idea a plausible scientific basis. Its new lease on life can be traced to the theory of inflation, which in its original form, suggested by Alan Guth, held that a split second after the Big Bang the universe abruptly jumped in size by a huge factor. Most theorists agreed that inflation could explain many puzzles about the structure and evolution of the universe. In the variant introduced by Andrei Linde, inflation spawns a network of branching “bubble” universes with different laws of physics operating inside of them. It has become fashionable to invoke some species of the multiverse theory to account for the well-known examples of parameter fine-tuning associated with the emergence of life in the observable universe where Earth has its home. But the possibility of many universes raises deep scientific, philosophical, and theological questions. How does the multiverse modify our understanding of the ultimate origin of the physical universe in time? Does the cosmos reproduce forever? Can the multiverse theory be made consistent with Occam’s razor? Is the theory falsifiable? If it is, how? If our universe, subtle, beautiful, and intelligible as it appears, is just, in Martin Rees’s phrase, “one island in the cosmic archipelago,” can it really be so special after all? To examine the conjectures that are so dramatically enlarging our cosmic perspective, fourteen scientists and philosophers gather in Palo Alto, California under the aegis of the John Templeton Foundation. Their conversation takes place on the campus of Stanford University, home of one of the world's leading research laboratories, the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, and to a highly-regarded physics department with dynamic astrophysics and particle-theory groups.

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