Researchers have long theorised that our universe may be one of many. It has always been their aim to prove their existence through observing high energy collisions. Now they hope to prove their existence by watching neutrons jumping from one universe to another.
Michael Sarrazin and colleagues at the University of Namur in Belgium, however, say they will need about a year to get the results. What they will do is bottle some neutrons and bring their temperature right down. With the help of magnetic fields they will then move slowly enough to be observed. The neutrons will strike the walls of the bottle but do so less and less as they decay.
The thing is, the neutrons always decay faster than expected – possibly, the researchers say, because they aren’t decaying at all – but leaping into other universes. Using decay rate data, Sarrazin has worked out the maximum number of times a neutron might leap to another universe – and it’s less than one in a million, but that doesn't make it any less mind-boggling. The experiment will run for a year to see if the rate of decay has cycles depending on the position of the Earth to the Sun, which changes gravitational potential and in turn the rate of matter swapping.