New York University physicist Matthew Kleban has won a $175,000 grant in the “New Frontiers in Astronomy and Cosmology” competition to explore cosmic bubble collisions, whose existence would reveal that our universe is part of a smaller whole.
The international competition, supported by a grant from the Templeton Foundation, seeks to encourage scientists and students to explore fundamental questions in astronomy and cosmology that engage ground-breaking ideas on the nature of the universe.
“Through these awards, the program aims to support bold, innovative research with the potential to expand boundaries and catalyze breakthrough discoveries, as well as inspire students to pursue scientific knowledge and become original, forward-looking big question thinkers of tomorrow,” said Donald York, the Horace B. Horton Professor in Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago, who led the competition.
Current theories of the origin of our universe posit the existence of a huge multiverse containing many bubble universes. These bubbles collide, and collisions with our own bubble produce “cosmic wakes” that travel across our universe, affecting the structure of matter. The detection of such a collision would be a transformative discovery, revolutionizing our understanding of the universe by revealing that it is only a tiny part of a vastly larger multiverse populated by bubbles.
Under the grant, Kleban and his research team will extend and sharpen our knowledge of the effects of bubble collisions in the universe and seek answers to fundamental physical questions, such as the existence of a multiverse and the nature of the Big Bang.
Kleban is an associate professor in NYU’s Department of Physics and part of the university’s Center for Cosmology and Particle Physics. His research focuses on the intersection of string theory, cosmology, and particle physics. He is a previous winner of a National Science Foundation CAREER Award and has recently received a three-year, $240,000 NSF grant to continue his study of the physics of black holes and cosmological horizons.
For more information about the grant competition, go to www.newfrontiersinastronomy.org.