The universe is a mysterious place. We do not know why it exists, and there are many questions that remain unanswered. But what if it was built on purpose by an intelligent entity? Is there any way we can find out?
In 2005, a pair of physicists proposed that if there had been a Creator, they could have encoded a message in the background radiation of the universe, when light was first left to flow freely through space . This light is called cosmic microwave background (CMB).
Now, astrophysicists Michael Hippke and the breakthrough list of the Sonberg Observatory in Germany have looked for this message, which translates the temperature variation in the CMB into a binary bitstream.
Whatever he has recovered, it seems absolutely useless.
Hippke’s paper describing his methods and findings has been uploaded to the pre-print server arXiv, (and thus yet to be peer reviewed); The work involves extracted bitstreams, so that other interested parties can study it for themselves.
The cosmic microwave background is an incredibly useful relic of the early universe. It dates back to about 380,000 years after the Big Bang. Before, the universe was completely dark and opaque, so hot and dense that atoms could not be formed; Protons and electrons were flying around as ionized plasma.
As the universe cooled and expanded, neutral hydrogen atoms could be formed by combining those protons and electrons into what we call the age of recombination. The space became clear, and light could move freely through it for the first time.
This first light is still detectable today, albeit very inadvertently, withstanding all known space. He is the CMB. Since the initial universe was not uniform, there are density variations in the epoch of recombination appearance due to very slight fluctuations in CMB temperature.
Because of this ubiquity, the theoretical physicist Stephen Hsu of the University of Oregon and Anthony Zee of the University of California, Santa Barbara argued – completely theoretically – that the CMB would create a perfect billboard that would leave a message that would be visible to all Technological Civilizations in the Universe.
“Our work does not support the Intelligent Design movement in any way,” he wrote in his 2006 paper, “but tries to answer, and is a purely scientific question of what the medium and message might be.” That was really a message. “
They proposed that a binary message can be encoded in temperature variations in the CMB. This is what Hippke has attempted to discover – first by addressing claims made by Hsu and Zee, and then using data to try and find a message.
“[Hsu and Zee’s] The beliefs, first, that the universe was created by something better. Secondly, that the producers really wanted to inform us that the Universe was purposely created, ”Hippie wrote.
“Again, the question is: how will they send a message? The CMB is the obvious choice, as it is the largest billboard in the sky, and is visible to all technical civilizations. Hahs and Xie argue that a message is in the way. The CMB space And all observers of time will be equal, and that information content can be reasonably large (thousands of bits). “
With these claims, Hippke, there are many problems. The first is that the CMB is still cold. It started at around 3,000 Kelvin; Now, 13.4 billion years later, it is 2.7 Kelvin. As the age of the Universe increases, eventually the CMB will become undesirable. It may take another 10 duodenal years (10)40), But the CMB will fade.
Putting this aside, in 2006, physicists found in response to Hue and Xie’s paper that it is highly unlikely that the CMB would look exactly the same in the sky to different observers in different locations. Furthermore, Hippie argues, we cannot see the entire CMB due to foreground emissions from the Milky Way. And we have only one sky to measure, which introduces the statistical uncertainty inherent in every cosmological observation we make.
Based on these hiccups, Hippke estimates that the information content proposed by Hass and Zee will be much less than just 1,000 bits. This gave him a good framework for the actual discovery of the message.
Both the Planck satellite and the Wilkinson microwave anisotrophy probe (WMAP) observed and recorded temperature fluctuations in the CMB. It was from these datasets that Hippke extracted the bitstream, comparing the results of each dataset to find matching bits.
The first 500 bits of the message are illustrated below. Values in Black were similar in both Planck and WMAP datasets, and are considered accurate with a 90 percent probability. Value in red deviation; Hippke chose Planck values, and they are accurate with only a 60 percent probability.
Changing values, he found that the situation had not improved. Searching for the on-line encyclopedia of Integer sequences yielded no tangible results, nor transferred data to speculate about an infinite future.
“I have not received any meaningful message in the actual bit-stream,” Hippke wrote.
“We can conclude that there is no clear message on the CMB sky. Yet it is not clear whether there is a manufacturer, whether we live in a simulation, or whether the message is printed correctly in the previous section, but We fail to understand it. “
Be it any of these options or not, the CMB has a lot to tell us, as beautifully noted in Hassu and Zee’s response in 2005.
Physicists Douglas Scott and James Zibin of the University of British Columbia wrote, “The CMB is a treasure trove of information about the structure of the sky universe and the nature of physics at possibly the highest energy levels.”
“The universe has left a message to all of us.”
Hippke’s paper can be read in full at the archive.