What Happened Before the Big Bang?


Cool article about all things Big-Bangy:

And this is where scientists start to worry. A prediction of something infinite is often a sign that the theory you are using to make that prediction has reached the limits of its applicability. For example, imagine you are an aerodynamicist wanting to predict the speed of an air flow. If your model is very simple, for example if it ignores the friction of the air, then it might predict that something changes infinitely quickly in a finite time. But no aerodynamicist would believe that this is what really happens. They would take that prediction as an indication that you have to go back to square one and make your model a little bit better, for example by introducing the friction of air. When you then solve the equations you will find that things change very, very quickly, but not infinitely quickly.

So what cosmologists are working very keenly on today is a possible extension of Einstein’s theory of gravity, one which includes quantum theory, which can give a more accurate description of the apparent beginning of the Universe. Nobody agrees on exactly how to do this: it’s right on the edge of current research. Some theories predict that the Universe doesn’t have a beginning at all, but that if you follow it backward in time, it eventually bounces, almost like a ball, into a previous state in which it was contracting. The Universe may behave cyclically — contracting, expanding and contracting again — or it may be that it bounced into expansion only once and will keep on expanding forever. Another possibility is that the Universe began in some rather uninteresting stationary state, and then started to expand due to the effect of quantum fluctuations. In that scenario, the expansion has a beginning, but the Universe itself doesn’t necessarily have one.

Read the rest (and see some pictures as all, also helps me) here.

5 thoughts on “What Happened Before the Big Bang?

  1. Wondering what it would take for Barrow’s Bubbles to dialogue with Sloterdijk”s Spheres? Probably no possibility while Science Wars are still inflating on all sides.. – Mark (wondering, with Toscano, how anyone could imagine that Being equals Thought when so much discrepancy within Thought still IS ?)

    • Toscano’s paper was indeed refreshing, isn’t it? Maybe it’s not directly related to it, but my Marxist side always wondered what sort of ideological move is this interest in speculation, what kind of political stance does it mask and what sort of characters are interested in pursuing “object-oriented” philosophy when people are dying from unnecessary diseases or live in abject poverty?

  2. Is not the “big bang” what used to happen on ones wedding night.

    At least before everyone started living in “sin” before they were married.

  3. Sorry for the lag, but I’m just back from a remote corner of the galaxy (where we’re setting up a new tot-lot for the community😉 YES, Toscano is a gamma-ray burst of fresh radiation (Mothra come to save us from Godzilla !) In this alternative universe there might still be a memory of “The Essential Santayana” where, as editor Martin A Coleman writes: “Since one has no direct access to matter, one cannot compare the material existence to the intuited essence. But this is no difficulty, Santayana wrote: ‘Our worst difficulties arise from the assumption that knowledge of existences ought to be literal’. We make trouble for ourselves when we assume that the essence we intuit should somehow be IDENTICAL with the existing thing … It entails an unrealistic standard of certainty for knowledge, which breeds superstition and belief in immaterial powers”. Perhaps even the immaterial power of ideology..

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