Laura Mersini-Houghton

Laura Mersini-Houghton (née Mersini) is an Albanian-American cosmologist and theoretical physicist, and professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a proponent of the multiverse hypothesis and the author of a theory for the origin of the universe that holds that our universe is one of many selected by quantum gravitational dynamics of matter and energy. Predictions of her theory have been successfully tested by astrophysical data.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8] She argues that anomalies in the current structure of the universe are best explained as the gravitational tug exerted by other universes.[9][10]

Laura Mersini-Houghton
Alma materTirana University
University of Maryland
University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee
Known forMultiverse, Origin of the Universe theory, Hawking radiation theory
Spouse(s)Jeff Houghton
ChildrenGrace Houghton
Scientific career
Fieldscosmology and theoretical physicist
InstitutionsUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Doctoral advisorLeonard Parker


Laura Mersini was born in Tirana, Albania, as a daughter of the mathematician and eminent economist Nexhat Mersini.[11][12]

Mersini-Houghton received[when?] her B.S. degree from the University of Tirana, Albania.[citation needed]

In 1994, Mersini-Houghton was a super Fulbright scholar at University of Maryland-College Park, MD for 8 months.[13][14]

In 1997, Mersini-Houghton was awarded her M.Sc. by the University of Maryland.[13]

In 2000, Mersini-Houghton completed her Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee.[13]

From 2000 to 2002, after earning her doctorate, Mersini-Houghton was a postdoctoral fellow at the Italian Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa.[13]

From 2002 to 2003, Mersini-Houghton had a postdoctoral fellowship at Syracuse University.[13]

In January 2004, Mersini-Houghton accepted a position as assistant professor of theoretical physics and cosmology at University of North Carolina.In. 2004-2006 in a series of papers she presented the theory of the origin of the universe from the multiverse, and made a series of predictions, including The Giant Void, that is able to test the theory. She was granted tenure in 2008 and promotion to associate professor in 2009 and full professor later.[13]

On 11 October 2010, Mersini-Houghton appeared in a BBC programme entitled What Happened Before the Big Bang (along with Michio Kaku, Neil Turok, Andrei Linde, Roger Penrose, Lee Smolin, and other physicists), where she propounded her theory of the universe as a wave function on the landscape multiverse.[15] Mersini-Houghton's work on multiverse theory is discussed in the epilogue of a recently published biography of Hugh Everett III.[16] Her predictions were successfully tested recently by Planck satellite experiment. See also a discussion of her ideas in the context of the history and philosophical implications of the idea of a multiverse here.[17]

In September 2014, Mersini-Houghton claimed to demonstrate mathematically that, given certain assumptions about black hole firewalls, current theories of black hole formation are flawed.[18] She claimed that Hawking radiation causes the star to shed mass at a rate such that it no longer has the density sufficient to create a black hole. She organized with Stephen Hawking an historic conference in 2015 in Stockholm to discuss these fundamental topics.[19][20] Her paper on the subject was applauded by Cuban Revolutionary Fidel Castro in an article to Granma Newspaper.[21]


Mersini-Houghton teaches graduate and undergraduate classes in Quantum Mechanics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


  • Laura Mersini-Houghton; Rudy Vaas (eds.) (2012) The Arrows of Time. A Debate in Cosmology. Springer. 2012-06-22. ISBN 978-3642232589.


  1. ^ Catchpole, Heather (November 24, 2009). "Weird data suggests something big beyond the edge of the universe". Cosmos. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-27.
  2. ^ Moon, Timur (May 19, 2013). "Planck Space Data Yields Evidence of Universes Beyond Our Own". International Business Times. Retrieved 2014-07-27.
  3. ^ MacIsaac, Tara (January 23, 2014). "Colossal 'Hole' in Space Could Be Link to Universe Beyond Our Own". The Epoch Times. Retrieved 2014-07-27.
  4. ^ Chown, Marcus (November 24, 2007). "The void: Imprint of another universe?". New Scientist. Retrieved 2014-07-27.
  5. ^ Maynard, James (May 28, 2013). "Other universes detected in oldest light in the Cosmos?". iTech Post. Retrieved 2014-07-27.
  6. ^ Taylor, Rosie (May 19, 2013). "Is our universe merely one of billions? Evidence of the existence of 'multiverse' revealed for the first time by cosmic map". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2014-07-27.
  7. ^ Cauchi, Stephen (December 9, 2007). "Into the void: a glimpse of our tiny place in the scheme of things". The Age. Retrieved 2014-07-27.
  8. ^ Segal, Michael (October 3, 2013). "Ingenious: Laura Mersini-Houghton: The Universe Chaser". Nautilus. Retrieved 2014-07-27.
  9. ^ Leake, Jonathan (May 19, 2013). "Cosmic map reveals first evidence of other universes". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2014-07-27.
  10. ^ The News (March 19, 2014). "Could Big Bang ripples prove the existence of a PARALLEL universe? Gravitational wave discovery paves the way for the 'multiverse'". National Headlines. Archived from the original on August 16, 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-27.
  11. ^ Dedaj, Valeria (2015-09-16). Big Bang-u dhe sfidat e shkencetares shqiptare. Retrieved from
  12. ^ Peshku pa ujë (2012-07-19). Laura Nexhat Mersini, vlonjatja shkencetare. Retrieved from
  13. ^ a b c d e f University of North Carolina, Department of Physics and Astronomy
  14. ^ Balkanweb, Shkencëtarja shqiptare pas aprovimit të teorisë për universin, pretendente për"Nobel"
  15. ^ "Two Programmes - Horizon, 2010-2011, What Happened Before the Big Bang?". BBC. Retrieved 2011-01-02.
  16. ^ Byrne, Peter (2010). The many worlds of Hugh Everett III : multiple universes, mutual assured destruction, and the meltdown of a nuclear family (1st ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-955227-6.
  17. ^ Rubenstein, Mary-Jane (2014). Worlds Without End: The Many Lives of the Multiverse (1st ed.). New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-231-15662-2.
  18. ^ Brian Koberlein (2014-09-25). "Yes, Virginia, There Are Black Holes". One Universe at a Time. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
  19. ^ "Carolina's Laura Mersini-Houghton shows that black holes do not exist". University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 23 September 2014. Retrieved 2014-09-24.
  20. ^ "UNC professor says black holes can't exist". WNCN. 23 September 2014. Archived from the original on 21 October 2014. Retrieved 2014-09-24.
  21. ^ Castro, Fidel (7 October 2014). "An Uncertain Future". Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee. Retrieved 13 April 2017.


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