by Flemming Funch
New scientific data is apparently indicating that the universe might finite and shaped like a doughnut, says a New York Times article. If you remember old computer games like Spacewar or Asteroids where, if one moves off the screen in one side, you come back from the other side. That's what would happen if the universe is finite and curved in one or more dimensions. And topologists would argue that finite spaces are more simple and easy to create than infinite spaces, so they're more likely shapes for the universe.The simplest of these compact universes is something called a 3torus, a doughnut wrapped in three different dimensions. This object is essentially impossible to visualize: it is the equivalent, in a way, of a cube whose opposite sides are somehow glued together. In two dimensions it works just like the Spacewar screen.
Living in such a universe would be like being inside a hall of mirrors, Dr. Tegmark said. Instead of seeing new stars deeper and deeper in space, you see the same things over and over again as light travels out one side of your cube and back in the other. The finite universe model would do away with some of the troublesome and depressing aspects of the prevalent Big Bang inflation theory, which seemed to expect that everything would end up being terribly far from everything. Which just doesn't seem right.

