The word “universe” comes from the Latin unus, meaning “one,” combined with versus, which is the past particle of vertere, meaning “to turn.” Thus the original and literal meaning of “universe” was “everything turned into one.” In the last couple centuries, the word has been taken to mean the totality of physical reality. There is a possibility that there may exist multiple universes, multiple space-time continuums. But even if there is only a single “universe,” there are many universes within our one universe, some visible, some not. Certainly there are many different vantage points.
The Accidental Universe
In The Accidental Universe, theoretical physicist Alan Lightman presents seven intriguing essays exploring possibilities of the universe we live in. The essays are clearly written and engaging, presenting technical subject matter in an accessible way for a general audience.
Here’s a list of the possibilities of the universe set forth in The Accidental Universe:
- The Accidental Universe
- The Temporary Universe
- The Spiritual Universe
- The Symmetrical Universe
- The Gargantuan Universe
- The Lawful Universe
- The Disembodied Universe
Alan Lightman is an American physicist, writer, and social entrepreneur (draws upon business techniques to find solutions to social problems). He is a professor of humanities at MIT Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and author of the international bestseller Einstein ‘s Dreams. He was the first professor at MIT to receive a joint appointment in the sciences and the humanities.