The Universe 25 Experiment is a scientific experiment performed by American top scientist, John Calhoun. In the experiment, the scientist used an artificially created mice colony to perform an experiment to help further understand the dynamics of the human society.
John Calhoun built a colony of mice for the experiment and brought in hundreds of mice to fill it in. The colony itself was built as a paradise, containing surplus food and water with all good housing conditions that you will expect in a typical paradise. He called it “Paradise of Mice”. The plan was to watch the hundreds of mice live in this ideal world of surplusage, multiply and seemingly enjoy themselves forever.
HOW BIG WAS UNIVERSE 25 IN CALHOUN’S EXPERIMENT?
The Universe 25 was the biggest of John Calhoun’s compartmentalized rat utopia experiments. Although he started the scientific inquiry in a rural place, he later got his own lab where he reportedly built the observation inside a barn.
He figured the barn would provide him with the space and facilities he needed to continue his work. He constructed a large room measuring about 9-square feet and divided them into four  interconnected chambers. He also designed about 16 pathways inside the space which led to drinkable water, food and other tunnels. In total, he built at least 256 apartments in the place with a capacity to accommodate 15 mice. So, it was definitely a spacious enclosure.
At first, Calhoun placed four (4) sets of mice into his newly built mice paradise. They reproduced in no time and their population quickly increased in the paradise. But, after 315 days, he noticed that the mice were no longer reproducing, causing their number to decrease. When the total number of rodents inside the mice paradise got to 600, the rodents noticeably formed hierarchies inside the paradise. He noticed that “wretches” of the mice society surfaced.
Once the wretch group was formed, other assumed privileged mice groups decided to start attacking them, killing them and creating a weakened morale and psychological breakdown among the males from this “wretched” group of mice. The breakdown was mostly as a result of their inability to protect their group. As a result, the female rodents in this group started losing it and transferred their aggression to their children.
The continued aggressive behaviour towards the young mice resulted in high mortality rate among them, while also making the female rodents not reproductively available for reproduction anymore. The male ones isolated themselves from the group.
As this was happening, a new breed of male mice emerged. They were tagged the “beautiful males”. This set of mice that emerged only cared about eating food, drinking water and enjoying themselves. They didn’t care about reproduction or fighting for space like the previous rodents did before them.
This eventually led to zero birth rate in the mice paradise. According to Calhoun, homosexuality and cannibalism increased in this period. The last mice in the paradise was born 2yrs later and by 1973, it killed the last mouse still in the experiment. This became startling to the scientist because the colony was self-sufficient and had more than enough food for all rodents at any given time during the experiment.
This experiment by John Calhoun was performed 25 times by him. At the end of each experiment, the results were the same and ended in the same way. The results were never different from the last one, which is how the name of the experiment came to be popularly known as ‘Universe 25″ experiment.
IMPORTANCE OF THE WORK AND WHY IT IS TERRIFYING.
The experiment is a highly recommended and renowned model for analysing and interpreting the collapse of social structure among human populations and civilizations. The research and experiment is one of the key focal points in studying and understanding urban sociology.
The experiment is terrifying because the same exact thing is what is actually playing out in most human societies today. Almost every country has abundance of natural and human resources but for some reason, instead of this resources being equitably and judiciously applied to serve the people, some privileged group still decided to play catch with them. The result is a society in constant flux and destruction at any given time. The massive stockpile of weapons of mass destruction again lends credence to this experiment.
It’s terrifying though to know that abundance of everything isn’t going to make anyone satisfied with it.