As a theoretical physicist, I was completely unprepared for my coffee pot to overflow. I know! I know…you can say that anyone can overfill a coffee pot….everyone, even theoretical physicists make errors. Except that I didn’t make an error, the coffee pot just overflowed and continued to overflow…even after there was no more coffee!
I could see a shimmer; an unsteadiness, perhaps, in the air inside the coffee pot resembling heat waves dancing over hot pavement in the summer.. I could see dust particles suspended in the air moving up and out of the pot. Then, items on the counter began to move slowly but steadily away from the coffee pot. The first item to fall on the floor was a pencil; the second, a package for coffee filters that I managed to catch on its way to the floor. Within minutes, there was nothing on the counter top.
The phone rang. The phone was across the lab in my office and I didn’t move to answer it. I was watching the progression of items separating themselves from the area of the coffee pot and moving with singleness of purpose away…not to anything in particular, but just away from the coffee pot. Interesting, I thought, no direction…just way. Something struck me then. The universe is expanding outward at an ever increasing rate. No particular direction, just away from the theoretical center of the Big Bang.
Now, larger things began to move. A laptop computer fell off a table and began sliding along the floor. An office chair wheeled itself across the room and crashed into the door as though pushed. My cell phone rang. I answered it. I wish I hadn’t.
A colleague told me odd things were happening all over town…objects moving away from centers in concentric rings, the rings consolidating into larger rings and continuing to expand. Each had started in something as mundane as a coffee pot, a microwave oven, in one case, in a hair dryer…in each case the appliance was on and operating. My mind always works over time and while I talked to him was no exception. “Have you watched the news broadcasts?” I asked.
“No,” he replied.
“Let’s turn them on,” I said thumbing the remote control for my television. Immediately the screen was filled with a newsman’s anxious face.
“…and according to NASA the Moon has suddenly moved almost twenty-five thousand miles further from the Earth. According to a NASA spokesman nothing like this has happened before in the geologic record of Earth. Furthermore, while the Moon is moving away from Earth at an accelerated pace, the Ear itself is moving away from the Sun also at an accelerating pace. Ecologists and meteorologists are predicting impending disaster from weather extremes. The President is scheduled to speak to the nation at noon.”
“Dark energy,” I said.
“What? You’re nuts! A theoretical physicist, should, of all people be able to analyze phenomena objectively!”
“I am, “I said. “Dark energy is postulated to be driving the universe in its ever increasing expansion, but there has never been a satisfactory theory as to where the dark energy comes from, or flows to, or whether there is a ever increasing amount of it in our universe or not. IT has been suggested that there is a “valley” or “fold” in our universe where it is stored…or more plausibly, a parallel universe where dark energy is the normal energy. In that hypothesis, energy as we know it can flow in limited amounts to the parallel university while dark energy flows in reverse into ours.”
“I’ve heard the hypothesis…so?”
“I think we have a dam break between the universes. The small points with concentric circles of impact were cracks between universes…my coffee pot was a crack…a leak, if you will.”
“Nonsense! The Moon and the Earth would have never been influenced by a mere crack between universes!”
“Perhaps not. But, I think they were influenced by the dam break. They’re now flowing downstream on the flood of dark energy. Somewhere, there is a flood of energy as we know it into the other universe. Eventually, both valleys will be full and maximum entropy will, for want of a better term, be satisfied.”
“And, that will mean the end of both universes?”
“Maybe…probably…we will probably never know. I think Earth will get very cold, very soon.
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