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  •  But what was before the Big Bang? (8+ / 0-)

    What did the Big Bang blow up into?

    Boehner Just Wants Wife To Listen, Not Come Up With Alternative Debt-Reduction Ideas

    by dov12348 on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 12:24:14 AM PST

    •  Well...(from another section of my book) (16+ / 0-)

      The Universe, in some pictures of its creation, is said to have simply bubbled out of the fabric of reality itself. Perhaps it was here that pure mathematical randomness asserted itself. The Universe was possible; therefore, in an expression of probability, it became. Maybe it was just as likely as it was not that all the features out of which physical reality is composed came into being through what Peter Atkins calls a fluctuation. This was caused, in his view, by an extreme simplicity that gave rise to a set of points, a geometry, a pattern brought forth by sheer chance, in our case a pattern that contained both time and three spatial dimensions, an arrangement which was conducive to expansion and an increasing elaboration.3

      Atkins is describing being emerging from non-being—something emerging from nothing. But how can this occur? It seems impossible, and yet physicist Paul Davies has answered in this way:

      The lesson of quantum physics is this: Something that "just happens" need not actually violate the laws of physics. The abrupt and uncaused appearance of something can occur within the scope of scientific law, once quantum laws have been taken into account. Nature apparently has the capacity for genuine spontaneity.
      It is, of course, a big step from the spontaneous and uncaused appearance of a subatomic particle-something that is routinely observed in particle accelerators-to the spontaneous and uncaused appearance of the universe. But the loophole is there. If, as astronomers believe, the primeval universe was compressed to a very small size, then quantum effects must have once been important on a cosmic scale. Even if we don't have a precise idea of exactly what took place at the beginning, we can at least see that the origin of the universe from nothing need not be unlawful or unnatural or unscientific. In short, it need not have been a supernatural event.4

      As Davies notes, particles (and, we should add, antiparticles) spontaneously pop into existence all the time, even in a perfect vacuum. It is the nature of the vacuum, many scientists believe, that gave rise to the current Universe. This is related to the phenomenon known as Zero Point Energy. In order to grasp Zero Point Energy, we need to remember Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, wherein we cannot simultaneously know the exact location and momentum of a particle. A particle has both motion energy and positional energy. ZPE is the smallest amount of energy that motion and positional energy can add up to according to quantum principles. Since it is impossible for a particle to be completely motionless (for in that case both its location and momentum would be known at the same time), we must assume that it retains a minimal but still real ZPE. The fluctuations that cause particles to spontaneously (if only briefly) emerge will therefore, by necessity, imply the creation of energy. In other words, if the Universe began as an example of Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, the creation of energy in this instance would have been unavoidable.5

      Matter is created out of energy, since they are aspects of the same thing. In 1988, Hawking maintained that the energy to create matter has been “borrowed” from the Universe’s gravitational energy, a process which was particularly intense during the rapid inflationary period of space-time. Hawking said this debt will not have to be “paid back” until the very end of the Universe itself. This would imply, mind-bogglingly enough, that the net energy of the entire Universe is zero.

      Cosmologist John Barrow challenges all notions of creation out of nothing. Barrow argues that since the concept of an infinitely dense, infinitely hot point from which the Universe sprang is no longer tenable, that it is completely possible that our Universe is part of an eternal sequence of Universes. He points out that a number of scenarios are possible in this regard, from a Universe that was static (before the time we perceive as the Big Bang) and which began the expansion we now observe to a Universe in eternal expansion, to a Universe that “bounced” into being from the decay of another Universe.  Moreover, Barrow contends that gravitation does not behave as we once thought it did. A Universe in which gravitation is always universally attractive does not square with our observations of the Universe’s expansion. Something is overcoming the force of gravitation, and driving the Universe to entropy. (As we saw earlier in this book, that something may be dark energy.) 6

      The consensus that seems to be emerging, therefore, is that we do not yet know what happened at the very moment of the Universe’s origin (or the origin of its most recent incarnation). There appears to be no inherent contradiction or logical fallacy in asserting that the Universe we inhabit is part of a larger, perhaps eternal space-time reality, but as yet nothing along this line can be demonstrated. There also appears to be no inherent contradiction or logical fallacy in asserting that the Universe is the result of random quantum fluctuation in the vacuum of nothingness. German theoretical physicist Henning Genz puts it this way:

      If there was time before the Big Bang, time in which the world originated, we will never know within our model [the standard model of the hot Big Bang]; the first frame of our motion picture is independent of anything that might have preceded it. Increase of temperature eliminates information…no information whatever can be passed on at infinite temperature. To repeat: We have no way of telling whether anything preceded the Big Bang, whether time had its origin together with our universe. 7
      If there was indeed an “explosion” (so to speak) of energy-matter at the beginning of the Universe, there should be detectable traces of it today, and indeed there are. The traces are in the form of what is known as the cosmic microwave background radiation. This remnant of the Big Bang was first detected in 1965 by two American radio astronomers, and it was measured and “seen” in effect by the COBE satellite in 1992, a monumental discovery. The density and distribution of this radiation confirms many of our conjectures about the Big Bang and the early Universe. The Universe in which we live is both largely  homogenous and isotropic—in other words, one which appears to be structurally uniform throughout and one in which all directions seem to yield a similar view. The irregularities within the cosmic microwave background radiation, the level of its anisotropy, constitute about one one-hundredth thousandth of its content, or one one-thousandth of one percent.8

      In 1983 Stephen Hawking and fellow physicist Jim Hartle proposed what they believe to be a plausible picture of physical reality, one known as the No Boundary Universe. In its original form, it defined a Universe that was both finite and unbounded (in the same sense that the surface of a sphere is unbounded, although Hawking and Hartle do not see the Universe as a spherical object). Such a Universe would not have begun with a singularity. In a 1988 public lecture, Hawking explained his view in this manner:

      The proposal that Hartle and I made, can be paraphrased as: The boundary condition of the universe is, that it has no boundary. It is only if the universe is in this ``no boundary'' state, that the laws of science, on their own, determine the probabilities of each possible history. Thus, it is only in this case that the known laws would determine how the universe should behave. If the universe is in any other state, the class of curved spaces, in the ``Sum over Histories'', will include spaces with singularities. In order to determine the probabilities of such singular histories, one would have to invoke some principle other than the known laws of science. This principle would be something external to our universe. We could not deduce it from within the universe. On the other hand, if the universe is in the ``no boundary'' state, we could, in principle, determine completely how the universe should behave, up to the limits set by the Uncertainty Principle.9
      The term “Sum over Histories” was taken from the work of Richard Feynman. You may recall that Feynman demonstrated, through quantum electrodynamics, that a beam of light explores every possible path between Point A and Point B, and the sum of the probabilities it explores appears to be a straight line. Hawking is arguing that the Universe itself represents the sum of all possible Universes, and that its appearance was basically an act of quantum spontaneity. Hawking spoke again about this theme in a 2007 lecture that recapitulated many of his earlier points. But he elaborated on his previous remarks by saying that the picture he and Hartle had developed of the spontaneous quantum creation of the Universe could be likened to the bubbles that form in heated water. The various bubbles that appear and then disappear again would represent microscopic Universes that spontaneously appear and disappear again after undergoing a very limited expansion. Hawking then added that a few of these bubble-like Universes would attain sufficient size to escape the possibility of collapse, and would continue to expand at increasing rates. It was these Universes, Hawking said, that had the potential to last long enough to produce stars, galaxies, and life.10

      In 2008, New Scientist reported that Hawking, Hartle, and physicist Thomas Hertog proposed that the early Universe was describable as a wave function, meaning that all possible Universes initially came into being but the one that prevailed was the most probable one, the one that we inhabit, the Universe that now appears to act in accordance with the rules of classical physics. Moreover, according to their calculations, this most probable Universe allows for a rapid inflation, inflation consistent with the evidence we have gathered from measuring the cosmic microwave background radiation. In short, according to this view, there was no singularity. Rather, from a dense thicket of possibilities, the most probable one grew into the Universe we inhabit. Hawking also pointed out that in this model there would be small fluctuations in the expansion of the Universe, and it was these localized fluctuations that permitted the emergence of stars, galaxies, and all the other structures of which we know in the Universe. 11

      Read a preview of Volume One of my book here.

      by Yosef 52 on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 01:02:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  There was no before, and no"into" (6+ / 0-)

      There was no before the big bang. Nor was there anything that it blew up into. The big bang formed space and time. Mater and energy form one half of the equation, space and time the other, and they exactly cancel out, leaving nothing. This, all of it, adds up to nothing. It doesn't need a cause, a location, or any external scale of time.

      Asking what was before the big bang, or what it blew up into, is like asking what flavor green is.

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