It began with a flash.

In a 1959 issue of The Flash, the iconic DC superhero met his match, quite literally, in the form of a parallel universe version of The Flash from “Earth-2.” This marked the introduction of the multiverse (the scientific theory that there are multiple, parallel universes), and it had a ripple effect throughout popular culture. From the novels of Stephen King to modern TV shows like Stranger Things and Rick and Morty, multiverse theory is everywhere.

But what exactly is the multiverse, and how accurate are the presentations we see in popular fiction? At SXSW 2019, Inverse wants to explore the multiverse as a storytelling tool, the history and ideas that drive the hypothesis behind the many worlds, and what sort of possibilities exist when you accept that infinite versions of the universe exist.

Join Inverse staff writer and resident superhero nerd Eric Francisco as he enters the multiverse with Yasunori Nomura, Ph.D., director of the Berkeley Center for theoretical physics and professor of physics at University of California, Berkeley, and Autumn Noel Kelly, Newsweek writer and pop culture expert, as they unpack the multiverse theory and how The Flash is at the center of it all.

If you’re interested in learning more about multiverse theory, The Flash, or both, please upvote our panel in the SXSW Panel Picker and leave a comment explaining why the panel should be selected. Check out Inverse‘s other SXSW panels here.

Photos via DC Comics