Stephen Hawking’s “Final Theory” is not groundbreaking

Sabine Hossenfelder in Back Reaction:

ScreenHunter_3017 Mar. 25 22.00Yesterday, the media buzzed with the revelation that Stephen Hawking had completed a paper two weeks before his death. This paper supposedly contains some breathtaking insight.

The headlines refer to a paper titled “A Smooth Exit from Eternal Inflation” in collaboration with Thomas Hertog. The paper was originally uploaded to the arXiv in July last year, but it was updated two weeks ago. It is under review with “a leading journal” which I suspect but do not know is Physical Review D. Thomas Hertog gave a talk about this at the conference which I attended last summer. You can watch the video of Hertog’s talk here.

According to The Independent the paper contains “a theory explaining how we might detect parallel universes and a prediction for the end of the world.” Furthermore, we learn, “Hawking also theorised in his final work that scientists could find alternate universes using probes on space ships, allowing humans to form an even better understanding of our own universe, what else is out there and our place in the cosmos.”

In the Sunday Times you can read that the paper “shows how we might find other universes” and in The Telegraph you find a quote by Carlos Frenk, professor of cosmology at Durham University who said: “The intriguing idea in Hawking’s paper is that [the multiverse] left its imprint on the background radiation permeating our universe and we could measure it with a detector on a spaceship.”

Since the paper doesn’t say anything about detecting parallel universes, I was originally confused whether the headlines were referring to another paper. But no, Thomas Hertog confirmed to me that the paper in question is indeed the paper that is on the arXiv. There is no other paper.

So what does the paper say?

More here.