Multiverse: a hypothesis developed by the Russian physicist Andrej Linde about multiple inflations in various regions of space.
According to Linde's theory, an uneven inflation of space occurring approximately 10-36 seconds after the ►big bang may have caused different spatial regions to expand at different rates, leading to the development of separate universes. Each of these universes may in turn generate further universes due to the inflationary expansion of isolated regions. Thus, the multiverse consists of an infinite foam of inflated cosmic bubbles. Moreover, it is not at all certain that the same physical laws hold within each of these bubbles. Each universe may have slightly different natural constants, which can have drastic effects: even the slightest deviation from the natural constants that hold within our universe would prevent the development of heavy elements and thus of intelligent life. Thus, we are lucky to live in a specially privileged universe. To be sure, if we were not that lucky then no one would be there to complain (see ►Anthropic Principle).