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content:physics:cosmology:big_bang

Wikenigma - an Encyclopedia of Unknowns Wikenigma - an Encyclopedia of the Unknown

Big Bang theory

There is now a large body of evidence (from different sources) to support the Big Bang Theory for the origin of the universe, but the problem remains as to the origin of the material or energy which initialised it.

As the UK’s Astronomer Royal Martin Rees has put it :

“We don’t know what banged, or why.”

And although much (but not all) of the theory behind Big Bang concept is backed up by observations, there remains a central and fundamental conflict with the modern physics that is used to explain it. Thus, either modern physics theory has errors or omissions - or Big Bang theory does.

The Big Bang theory, built upon the equations of classical general relativity, indicates a singularity at the origin of cosmic time; this infinite energy density is regarded as impossible in physics.“

Source : Wikipedia

The inflation problem

The basic idea of the big bang is that the universe has been slowly expanding and cooling ever since it began some 13.7 billion years ago. This process of expansion and cooling explains many of the detailed features of the universe seen today, but with a catch: the universe had to start off with certain properties. For instance, it had to be extremely uniform, with only extremely tiny variations in the distribution of matter and energy. Also, the universe had to be geometrically flat, meaning that curves and warps in the fabric of space did not bend the paths of light rays and moving objects.”

This problem was countered with the 'Inflation'plugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigCosmological inflation

Using calculations constrained by the ‘Standard Model’ (the laws of particle and fundamenta-force physics as currently understood) it’s not possible to create coherent mathematical solutions which account for the evolution of the universe – from the
theory developed in the late 1970s - however :

Highly improbable conditions are required to start inflation. Worse, inflation goes on eternally, producing infinitely many outcomes, so the theory makes no firm observational predictions.“

Source : Professor Paul Steinhardt, director of the Princeton Center for Theoretical Science at Princeton University, writing in Scientific American, April 2011

Accuracy of predictions

There are (at least) two major uncertainties which make calculations about exactly what happened (and when) very problematic, if not impossible. They are : the strength of the gravitational constantplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigThe Gravitational constant

The gravitational attraction between two objects is dependent on the mass of the objects, the distance between them, and the gravitational constant (G).

The masses and distance can vary, but the constant, as the name implies, is always a fixed number.
and the time it takes for free neutronsplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigNeutron decay

When part of an atomic nucleus, neutrons are extremely stable, but 'free' neutrons (i.e. those outside of a nucleus) decay into a proton, an electron and an electron-antineutrino in about 15 minutes.

Two different methods have been used to measure the neutron's 'lifespan'.
to decay.


Also see : Conformal cyclic cosmologyplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigConformal cyclic cosmology

unknowable

Conformal Cyclic Cosmology (CCC) is a concept proposed in 2006 by the Nobel Prize winning cosmologist Professor Roger Penrose. It attempts to resolve a paradox associated with (standard) Big Bang theory.

"The issue arises from one of the most fundamental principles of physics: the


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