A Harvard scientist believes that our universe was created in a laboratory by aliens.

Civilizations of the Future

A Harvard scientist has developed an intriguing theory on how our Universe came to be: it was made in a laboratory by a higher "class" of lifeform.

Avi Loeb, bestselling author and former chair of Harvard's astronomy department, argued in a Scientific American op-ed this week that the Universe could have been produced in a laboratory by a "advanced technological civilisation." If genuine, the origin tale would combine the religious concept of a creator with the secular understanding of quantum gravity, according to him.

"Because our Universe has a flat geometry with zero net energy," Loeb wrote, "an intelligent civilisation could have invented a technology that created a newborn universe out of nothing by quantum tunnelling."

Civilization of Level A

One of the more intriguing concepts given in an essay packed with them is the civilization categorization system. Loeb classifies humanity as a low-level technological civilisation (or a civilization dependent on its host star).

We will be categorised as class B if and when our technology advances to the point where we can become independent of the Sun. If we could build our own baby universes in a laboratory, we'd be class A. (like our theoretical creators).

Of course, we face a number of challenges, the most notable of which being our inability to generate a "big enough density of dark energy within a limited region," as Loeb puts it. If and when we arrive, however, we will be allowed to join our putative creators in class A!

In any event, the theory is intriguing, sobering, and a little frightening. If Loeb's previous theories are to be believed, we're likely not the only ones vying for class A classification.