Science Series: The Different Parallel Worlds of Fringe

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Fringe S2 Over There part 2 alternative reflections

Hello science fiction fans and “Fringe” fans!

Click to visit Fringe on 20th Century Fox Studios!Season 3 of “Fringe” has depicted the series characters in two slightly different universes.  In this analysis I will address what a parallel universe is, how do the characters get to this alternate reality, and the differences in the two worlds within the television series Fringe.

The focus of this analysis is what is a parallel universe and doFringe Over There Red they actually exist in the real world as well as in the fictional world of Fringe?

The theory of parallel universes states that every outcome that can take place does take place, and that each different outcome occurs in a different parallel universe.  Think of yourself at an intersection in the road.  If you turn right and go in that direction, you meet your future husband and you have a family together.  If you turn left, you never meet your future husband but instead go on to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

When we apply the parallel universe theory that every outcome that can happen does happen, then you not only turned right and met your future husband but you also turned left and won the Nobel Peace Prize.  Therefore, for every decision you make in the course of the day several scenarios are happening in parallel universes.

Below is a video in which Dr. Michio Kaku, Dr. Alex Filippenko, Dr. Clifford Johnson, and Dr. Max Tegmark explain to us the different types of parallel universes.

In the season three episode ‘6995 kHz’ we observe that BOlivia (Anna Torv) has infiltrated ‘our side’ and has seduced Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) much to the protest of ‘our’ Olivia Fringe fans. Peter does not seem to know the difference (yet). How can that be?

Fringe S3x06 - BOlivia and Peter
Let us now take a retrospective look at the Fringe television for reference on how the series writers have implemented the science and some of our favorite characters, “The Observers” who are no doubt mixed up in these parallel universe’s somehow!

Fringe S2 Observers meet in Boston

At the end of Fringe season one in the episode “The Road Not Taken” we began to realize where the writers were taking us.  They were taking us to a parallel universe.  In this episode Olivia began seeing things and Walter offered the explanation that she may be seeing an alternate reality.

Fringe S1 - Dreamscape seeing the other side?

In the final episode of season 1 “There’s More Than One of Everything” Walter is seen standing at a grave.  Next, Walter and the Observer are standing on a beach.  The Observer is holding a coin and asked Walter if he recognized it.  The Observer goes on to explain that it’s from a different place and said “There is more than one of everything”.

Fringe - The Observer

When Walter finds the beach house and inside finds the same coin in a box, he is then seen placing the coin on the tombstone that he was at earlier in the episode.  On the tombstone is the name Peter Bishop 1978-1985.  It was at this point that everyone realized Peter Bishop was not of this universe but another universe.

Fringe S1 - The coin in Walter's hand

Fringe S1 Peter Bishops grave

At the end of the final episode of season one Olivia receives a call from Nina Sharp after confronting her about the details.  She is asked to meet Nina at a hotel restaurant in Manhattan.  However, Nina does not show.

Fringe S1 - Olivia confronts Nina Sharp

Fringe S1 - Blair Brown as Nina Sharp

As Olivia gets on the elevator to leave, the elevator stops at a floor she is met at the door by a woman and is then escorted to a room where she sees a newspaper about the Obama family that does not reconcile with her universe. William Bell then introduces himself.  Olivia walks over to the window and looked out. She realizes she was looking out from one of the twin towers of the World Trade Center!

Fringe S1 Obamas White House

Fringe S1 William Bell introduction

Fringe S1 Olivia looks out Twin Towers

This was the pivotal moment in the series showing us that the writers not only intended to talk about parallel universes, but they intended to take us to the parallel universe that has intersected with our own.  This intersection was caused by Walter’s obsession with the loss of Peter in ‘our universe’. Eventually, this leads to a conflict in Walternate’s universe, and the conflict continues in the Fringe television series.

Fringe S3 The Plateau - Walternate in action

Let’s now examine the science and research to date by some research leaders in this area. In 2003 Dr. Max Tegmark published a paper titled “Parallel Universes”.  He described the 4 types of parallel universes.  A level 1 parallel universe assumes that space is infinite and goes on forever.  This universe exists in the same space as our universe, but we can not observe it because the light from it has not reached us yet.

Our universe is estimated to be between 12 and 15 billion years old.  If you can, imagine traveling the speed of light at 186,000 miles per second or 700 million miles per hour. The level 1 parallel universe is an unfathomable distance away if we have been here 12 to 15 billion years and light traveling at 186,000 miles per second has not yet reached us.

The level 2 parallel universe assumes that chaotic inflation occurred. Chaotic inflation is part of the inflationary model.  It simply means all the matter we see in the universe today inflated within a fraction of a second from a single point.   The basic properties of space may be different in a level 2 parallel universe, but it is still part of our space.  Our universe is in a bubble that is part of a sea of bubbles (universes).

The level 3 parallel universe is the most controversial of the different worlds.  This universe lies within the quantum world and according to Dr. Max Tegmark is mathematically the simplest model.  Mathematicians have named it the “Hilbert space”.  This space is not millions of light years away.  It is right in front of us and there are an infinite number of them. The “many worlds” idea was founded by Hugh Everett in 1957.  It states that there are an infinite number of universes, and everything that could have happened in our past did happen in our past in another universe. The level 3 parallel universe is the model that Fringe has leveraged in the series.

Quantum mechanics is the theory that explains how particles at the sub-atomic level behave and interact with one another.  A prediction of quantum theory is quantum superposition.  Superposition states that simultaneously particles can be in multiple places or states at once. We are all made of tiny particles. Therefore, we should also be able to be in multiple places or states at once.   Proof of superposition is the “double-slit” experiment.  In this experiment, shown in the video below, electrons produce an interference pattern by becoming a wave of potential.  When observed the electron behaved as matter instead of a wave.

The level 4 parallel universe is one in which each mathematical structure describes a physical reality.  Dr. Max Tegmark, in the video below, said that “the reason that nature is so well described by math is because in a very deep sense it is math.”  I have listened to Max’s interviews and read his paper on parallel universes. I have to say that now, as I look at the tree outside my window, I see a tree with algebraic equations for branches.  Below is a video interview in which Dr. Tegmark explains the 4 types of parallel universes.  He does a wonderful job at putting all of this information in layman’s terms.

After reading and listening to all the information I could find on parallel universes, my next question is can we travel to a parallel universe? As sci-fi fans we have to say yes we can as observed in Fringe, Star Trek and Stargate!

In the Fringe series, we observe that Olivia is able to travel between the two universes because as a child she underwent Cortexiphan trials. Cortexiphan was invented by Dr. William Bell in 1981.  He believed that when children are born their minds are “infinitely capable”.  He developed the drug to prevent this capability from diminishing over time.  According to Walter, the drug enhances people’s abilities of perception.

In season 3 episode 5 “Amber 31422” we see Olivia travel back and forth between the 2 universes.  She is put in a sensory deprivation tank and given a set of “psychotropic drugs”.  It is the combination of the cortexiphan, psychotropic drugs, and the sensory deprivation tank that allows Olivia to cross over. They have to use the psychotropic drugs on Olivia because she has been made to believe that she is of that universe, and that Olivia never underwent Cortexiphan trials.

However, we have also witnessed that Olivia has been able to cross over without the deprivation tank as used by Walternate in “Amber 31422”. How does she actually accomplish this task? Is it simply a matter of willing herself to do so? Or is there a another factor such as an emotional reaction that releases the Cortexiphan as when Olivia could see the shimmer of Peter being from the alternate universe?

Fringe S2 - Olivia knows about the shimmer

In Fringe we have also observed that the William Bell (Leonard Nimoy) Walter, Walternate (John Noble) have some sort of equipment that allows certain characters like Newton to cross over and stay over on spying missions (that is until his demise). The equipment has never been fully explained and perhaps that is best given the realities of the postulated parallel universes and that after all Fringe is a science fiction series.

Fringe S2 William Bell and Walter at machine

Fringe S2 Over There - Walternate explains ZFT

Now lets examine what some of the differences that we have observed in the two universes of Fringe? There have been several notable differences. In the final episode of season 1 we saw the Twin Towers still standing.

Alternate Reality Twin Towers - Click to visit Fringe on FOX

Fringe S2 Over There - Reality differences

The New York Post had a story that read JFK was alive with a picture of him in the office, the $20 bill has a picture of Martin Luther King, Jr., dirigibles are still a means of transportation, public flights to the moon, and smallpox vaccine has not been invented or that the FBI headquarters was never built but instead has a place honoring Martin Luther King?

Fringe S3x01 - 'Olivia' - MLK Center sign

My favorite difference in the alternate universe is Eric Stoltz as the lead actor in “Back to the Future”!  What would that part have done for Stoltz’s career?

Alternate Marty McFly and Doc Brown

Moreover, could a young Marty McFly grow up to be a ruthless Daniel Graystone?  It is all about choices, and I believe the writers are focusing on how choices have affected the characters.  The writers have done a great job in developing the characters and showing us what a choice in this universe does to a character in the next.

Fringe - Our Peter and Walter

If you apply the parallel universe theory to the story, then you would get an infinite number of Olivias and they would all be slightly different.  However, the writers have chosen to deal with the paradox by only showing us the two universes we have in the series. Which raise the question; are there two Gene the cows?

Comic Con 2010 Gene the Cow at Warner Bros. booth SDCC, CA

The discussion of whether or not parallel universes exist is superfluous to the enjoyment of Fringe. The questions about parallel universes will continue to be explored by scientists in “our universe” much to my and hopefully your enjoyment.

Fringe returns every Thursday evening on FOX at 9 PM east and west. If you enjoy the series as much as we at WHR and I do, may I suggest that you tune in to help boost the ratings? Fringe ratings seem to have flagged with the interruption of the World Series. Worse we have observed a disturbing trend for fans of various series including Fringe to illegally download or stream the programs. Please do not do this people because what you are doing is damaging the ability of your favorite shows to survive by promoting revenue generation for the illegal streaming sites at the expense of the producers who work very hard to bring you top quality entertainment.

Failure to support Fringe and other programs by illegally downloading them in our universe’s reality could lead to its demise. This is not to mention that the producers keep an eye on such things and you are damaging your own reputations. I will end with a touch of humor, but illegal downloading is no joke, its a crime and is ethically wrong: In our universe loss of a show because you failed to legally support it could end up forcing us all to cross over to “The Other Side”. Even if Fringe is already in its eleventh season there you should not support or tweet illegal downloading. Thank you!

Click to visit and learn more about Fringe on FOX!

Click to visit and follow WormholeRiders News Agency on Twitter!As always thank you for reading and visiting WormholeRiders News Agency. I will be back with more on the science of Fringe and other series in the future for your enjoyment.

Please feel free to leave a comment or question here or click one of the social media icons below to share this article. Or if you prefer (as so many of our visitors do) you may also visit and follow me or WHR on Twitter by clicking the image avatars with your comments or questions. Thanks!

Warm Regards,Click to visit Redone68 (Sandra) on Twitter!

Redone68 (Sandra)

Redone68

Hey Wormholeriders! I like to think of myself as a career student because i've been attending university since I graduated high school many many years ago. I have enough hours to have received a degree, but because I had changed my major 3 times I still lacked enough for a bachelors degree. Medicine was finally where I settled and was attending school to become a nurse when I had to return to work. So, I have an associates in behavioral science and that's all I can say towards an education. I like to think i'm educated on life. I work in the administrative side of healthcare and I enjoy doing that. I have one child and he is the love of my life. Children are truly one of our greatest treasures. I am a twin and my sister doesn't live close enough to me for my liking, but she is not too far away. I am a science fiction junkie!! Ever since I got my first Star Wars x-wing fighter as a child I have been hooked. I was somewhat of a nerd in school and science was always my favorite subject. I dreamed of being an astronaut or a astronomer because I loved looking at the stars and planets. It wasn't long after I started university that I found out I could not do the math that was required to get a degree in astronomy. So, I settled for something more realistic and just decided to watch and learn about the heavens on television. Bio Questions and Answers 1. Handle/Screenname: Redone68 for Wormholdriders and Twitter. Most peoople call me Red and that also works. 2. Education/Awards/Etc: Associates in behavioral science. Let's see awards, does band nerd count?! Lots of awards in music which is my first love. 3. Favorite Stargate characters: My favorite Stargate Universe characters would have to be Dr. Rush and Eli. I like brains what can I say! A close runner up would have to be Chloe. My favorite SGA characters would have to be Dr. Rodney McKay and Lt. Colonel John Sheppard. 4. Favorite Actresses: #1 is Evangeline Lilly. I also like Anna Torv, Ming-Na, Emily Deschanel, Michelle Pfeiffer, Kathy Bates, Meryl Streep, and Meg Ryan. I'm sure the list could be a lot longer, but these are the actresses I watch regardless of the role they are playing. 5. Favorite Actors: Josh Holloway...yes ladies...Josh Holloway!! The rest are Joe Flannigan, David Hewlett, John Noble, Robert Carlyle, David Blue, and Harrison Ford. There are lots more but I could spend all day listing them. 6. Favorite Band/Performers: I am a classic rock junkie! Anything classic is good and my favorite is Led Zeppelin. New stuff is good too. I like Stone Sour, Black Label Society, Disturbed, and even Metallica. With me louder and faster is better! 7. Hobbies: I love outdoors so one of my favorites is camping. It's been a family vacation for 35yrs. I also love to fish but never get to go. Hiking is another thing I like to do when I get to. I do some painting but nothing you would pay money for. 8. Pets: I have a cat named Chloe, yes that Chloe. 9. What's your theme song?: I've never really given this much thought. I can relate to many songs during the course of one week. Today I could say "Another One Bites the Dust". Tommorow maybe a little different. 10. If you could have a sidekick, who would it be?: I'll go off into fantasy land and say Sawyer from "Lost" just because he is so tough and sexy. In real life my everyday sidekick is my son. He's my buddy. 11. Favorite Food: Junk food 12. What would you keep in a utility belt?: Tools of course! 13. Favorite Stargate Episode: I can't really say. I enjoyed the movie but didn't start watching the show until Atlantis. 14. Favorite Stargate Atlantis Episode: All of them. There isn't one that I don't love. This comes from the heart. I have watched the reruns over and over and never skip one! 15. Favorite Stargate Universe Episode: Again, I love all the episodes for this show as well. If I had to pick one this season that I would watch an infinite number of times it would be "Human". 16. Favorite Fringe Episode: All of them! 17. Favorite Caprica Episodes: The first episode was the one that i've enjoyed the most. I watch all of them and enjoy them all, but the pilot was great! 18. What was your sci-fi gateway?: I watched the original "Star Trek" with my mother when I was young, but I didn't get into it until "Star Wars". Yeah, I was a huge fan. I was even in the "Star Wars" fan club. That made me an official nerd! 19. What's under my bed?: A monster i'm sure of it! 20. Favorite TV shows (not Stargate): Lost, Fringe, Caprica, Deadliest Catch, Paranormal State, and Bones. Must see all of them! 21. What is your dream job?: Oncologist because I would love to join the fight against cancer. If I could go back 20yrs and start my education over, I would definately be a healer. 22. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?: On a beach somewhere. I'm not picky. I just need sun and fun! 23. If your life could be written by any author who would it be and what genre?: Easy Stephen King because 1. I love him and 2. my life seems pretty scary at times. I believe King gave away the genre. If not, horror would definately be the genre. I am exaggerating a little of course, but some days seem kinda mad. 24. Favorite movies: "Star Wars", "Empire Strikes Back", the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, "Gone with the Wind", "Hellraiser", and all the Indiana Jones movies. 25. What are your goals/dreams/aspirations for WormholeRiders.com?: This is going to be something I enjoy and I hope that the readers get some enjoyment out of what I write as well.

5 thoughts on “Science Series: The Different Parallel Worlds of Fringe

  1. Hey Sandra,

    A truly inspired news article about Fringe and parallel universe. The selection of the videos and the hyper-linked research papers is brilliant. *Claps loudly*

    I look forward to your next science project supporting the series we report on here at WHR.

    Thank you for the outstanding contribution by your hard work!

    Best Regards

  2. Finally I am able to get into the blog area and read your article! Great job as always and I enjoyed the information about the parallel universe.

    “If you apply the parallel universe theory to the story, then you would get an infinite number of Olivias and they would all be slightly different.” Indeed true.

  3. Very interesting that we are all made of the same tiny particles that can exist in different states at once, or be in multiple places at once. Are there literally billions of other realities that we just can’t see ?

  4. Kenn, thanks for all your support.

    Ray, I’m glad you enjoyed it. I remember you saying Fringe was one of your favorites!

    Jena, Thanks for giving it time to load lol. Sorry it takes so long. We need to have some conversations about the topic. I love it.

    John, I appreciate you taking time to read this. It means a lot that the rogue astronomer I mean the brightest star in the sky read it. xox

Comments are closed.

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