A particularly fascinating idea is the concept of Hubble Bubbles(1). Take a sphere of matter and energy—for argument’s sake, let’s say one the size of a dust mote. Based on research at the intersection of Information Theory and quantum mechanics, it’s generally accepted that the matter and energy comprising this dust mote-sized Hubble Bubble can be organized in a finite number of ways. Like the Rubik’s Cube I was never able to solve, there are lots (and I mean LOTS) of different ways things can be arranged, but there is an upper limit.

When you explain this to most people, they might scratch their heads a bit but they eventually accept this as reasonable. What gets strange is when you extend the logic. If there is a limit to the number of states (“wave functions” in technical jargon) possible for your tiny Hubble Bubble, then there is also a limit to the number of wave functions possible for a sphere of matter and energy the size of a tennis ball. Yes, the number is larger; but, it remains finite.

So, what happens when we expand our Hubble Bubble to planet size? Galaxy size? Known universe size??? If we accept that the rule holds for a dust mote, then (by extension) it must also hold for our universe. Scientists generally accept that there are a finite number of ways the matter and energy in our universe can be organized.

Mull that over. Conceptually, it may not seem like a big deal, but it leads to some really outlandish conceptual models once you take the training wheels off. I’ll come back to this in a future post.

(1) A term applied to a number of different scenarios in astrophysics. The usage described here originated with Charles Seife in his book

*Decoding the Universe*.

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