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I see here that after a very long time into the future, "Estimated time for random quantum fluctuations to generate a new Big Bang".

This begs the question, do we speculate that our big bang was the first? Or are we one of many in a never ending chain? Or do I miss the point entirely (being ignorant in the subject)?

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    $\begingroup$ The nature of the singularity which existed at the start of our universe means that questions of the uniqueness of the universe, or of the existence of space before the singularity are at best un-answerable, at worst the questions are meaningless. One can hold essentially religious opinions on this type of question, but not answer it. $\endgroup$ – James K Oct 10 '15 at 21:47
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    $\begingroup$ The correct answer turns out to be 42. We are the 42nd quantum fluctuation to collapse the false vacuum into an observable universe. Seriously though, until our tech is leveled up by many orders of magnitude, there is no way to learn the answer to this question. We can't even find a single other universe, far less count them or learn to determine their meta-age. $\endgroup$ – Wayfaring Stranger Oct 11 '15 at 13:08
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    $\begingroup$ @JamesKilfiger An answer to this question does not have to be opinion-based. It can discuss the different possibilities and why it is presently impossible (and may never be possible) to determine which is true. Michio Kaku did this in Parallel Worlds. $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Oct 13 '15 at 15:10
  • $\begingroup$ @called2voyage - I assume by the name of that book that my question is misunderstood. What I want to ask is whether we are possibly part of a sequence, not whether we exist simultaneously with some other universe $\endgroup$ – horse hair Oct 13 '15 at 16:03
  • $\begingroup$ @horsehair No, I didn't misunderstand you. I got that. In that book Michio Kaku discusses different possibilities that string theories introduce for the causation of our universe and how this might imply an infinite precession of universes causally prior to ours. $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Oct 13 '15 at 16:07
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It is very hard to tell whether we are in a unique Universe. The difficulty is the closer we attempt to probe in the fractions of a nano second after the Big Bang our current forumlations of Gravity and the three our fundamental forces do not work. So it is very hard to tell whether our Universe is unique.

However, with all that said, my own personal belief is that our Universe is not unique. The estimated time for random quantum fluctuations to generate a new Big Bang as quoted in the page that you have referred to is an UNIMAGINELY large time scale.

My question I will pose back to you is, how could we ever tell we are a unique Universe, or part of a collection of Universes?

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  • $\begingroup$ It's not that I wonder if we are part of a collection, rather I wonder if what I quoted implies that me may be one of a sequence. Would an unimaginably large time scale be meaningless if time has no end or beginning (I hope that's not speculating too much)? $\endgroup$ – horse hair Oct 11 '15 at 6:56
  • $\begingroup$ Perhaps, yes. Since it is us who perceive time. When our current Universe is long dead who is to say at some point in space, $x$, there may be a random quantum fluctuation with the same probability parameter, $\Phi$, as what we have seen that may start the process over again. This really is one of those mysteries than in all likelihood will remain a mystery to current physicists, unfortunately. $\endgroup$ – MichaelJRoberts Oct 11 '15 at 9:58
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With regards to first Universe I must say that it is first in many ways from within the Universe and within our own perspectives. I will try to stay close to the idea of first because you are unique. In the whole Universe there cannot be an exact, (exact containing the same molecules atoms and energy), copy of you out in this Universe so you, the rest of us and the planet are unique. Extrapolating from this, an argument could be made for the Universe being uniquely the first based on many assumptions but the crucial fact is, with the arrow of time the way it is, we are able to formulate such questions within our minds. Having an answer to such a question may not be as important as the question itself. Going forward the true realization maybe understanding how far our minds may reach. Since this question speaks of first it really is a temporal one and the passage of time can be understood as the progression of events in only one way. The singularity at the beginning would be where there is only that event {with no events?). Be that as it may we are living in side the result of that singularity at this event and as far as we can understand it is singular.

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    $\begingroup$ There are several problems with this answer. For one, it is not known whether or not our Universe is infinite. If our Universe is infinite, there certainly can be exact copies of ourselves and in fact there must be. It is difficult to see how this relates to whether or not this is the first Universe though. $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Oct 16 '15 at 21:36
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    $\begingroup$ I heard that the latest observations point to an infinite Universe $\endgroup$ – Peter U Dec 7 '15 at 23:45

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