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Physicists assure us that we're not living in an alternate reality where Trump is president

There's a theory going around online that CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) experiments have caused the world to shift into an alternate reality where Donald Trump has become president.

As most people would agree, this clearly can be labeled fake news.

"CERN's research captures the imagination of lots of people, which is why CERN has been featured in a lot of science fiction books, even movies, around the world," a spokesperson for CERN told CNBC when asked about the Trump theory.

"These imaginative works, inspired by our scientific research, are works of fiction generated to capture the reader or viewer's sense of wonder and should not be confused with the actual scientific research."

Trump theorists cite "the Mandela effect," a phenomenon that occurs when large groups of people believe something happened even though evidence shows it isn't true. Some think more of these incidents have occurred since CERN was established, and suggest that its particle physics experiments are causing the world to shift into parallel universes. People are recalling the original reality, which is why there is divergent thought according to the believers.

"Mandela effect" examples include thinking Nelson Mandela died in jail in the 1980s, mistaking "Berenstein Bears" for its actual name "Berenstain Bears," and believing in a 1990s movie where comedian Sinbad played a genie. (All of which are false.)

In Trump's case, conspiracy theorists have cited "evidence" like his quote on terrorist attacks on Sweden and assertions that Muslims were cheering in the streets after 9/11, both events which they believe stem from memories of a parallel universe Trump used to reside in. A shift could also explain a rash of unprecedented outcomes in sports, like the Chicago Cubs winning their first World Series since 1908, and Donald Trump's election to the presidency, despite most polls predicting Hillary Clinton was going to win. The idea has generated several joke threads (and perhaps serious threads) on internet message board Reddit.

What's probably really happening is that people have lapses in memory, especially when they aren't paying close attention to details.

One of the first heavy-ion collisions with stable beams recorded by CMS.
Source: CERN
One of the first heavy-ion collisions with stable beams recorded by CMS.

In any case, CERN's research isn't focused on finding a way to travel to different dimensions. The facility brings together physicists from more than 60 countries and 600 institutions to explore the structure of the universe, using the smallest particles and making them collide at almost the speed of light.

"When giving metaphors to explain CERN's research, I often compare it to geology," a CERN spokesperson explained by email.

"Geologists study the patterns and structures of rocks to learn about the origin and formation of the earth. Particle physicists study the properties and behavior of subatomic particles to learn about the formation and evolution of matter in the universe. Everyone (from young children to particles physicists) learn about the world by gathering data, making observations, and experimentally testing ideas. The researchers at CERN are applying this same methodology to learn more about the smallest components of matter."