Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending. -Maria Robinson

In parts one and two, we covered the very beginning of the Universe as we know it. Specifically, we talked about inflation, which is the process that sets up the Big Bang. Inflation — to recap — expands the Universe exponentially fast, driving the matter density to zero and stretching the Universe flat like a balloon getting blown up supremely fast.

But inflation ends, and when it does, all of that stored (i.e., potential) energy that was being used to expand the Universe now gets converted into matter and energy.

Image credit: dkimages.

This moment — when the Universe fills with energetic stuff — is the beginning of the hot Big Bang, and the Universe as we recognize it.

Well, almost as we recognize it. At this moment, the Universe has an incredibly hot temperature. Typically, we measure temperatures in Kelvins. Liquid nitrogen boils at 77 Kelvin, room temperature is about 300 Kelvin, and the surface of the Sun is about 5700 Kelvin. By comparison, at the beginning of the Big Bang, the temperature is at least 1015 Kelvin and up to (but not more than) 1029 Kelvin!

For comparison, the hottest part during the hottest time of a Supernova (the hottest explosion in the Universe) is only about 1011 Kelvin, or at least 10,000 times cooler than the Big Bang.

So what does our Universe look like? Imagine taking all of the matter (all 1080 atoms or so) in the Universe, all of the photons (about 1090, more or less), all of the neutrinos (about another 1090), and smashing them into a volume the size of your thumbnail.

That’s right, the Big Bang is a time back when the Universe was squished into a region that made it about 1070 times denser than you are right now. Or rather, the most conservative estimate of the Big Bang involves that. If you want to go to the other extreme, the most fantastic estimate is that all of that matter and energy is concentrated into a volume the size of a single proton.

Only, instead of three quarks in there, there would be something like 1090 of them.

Want to know what’s even crazier? There is just as much antimatter as there is matter right after the big bang! For every electron flying around, there’s an anti-electron flying around; for every quark there’s an anti-quark, and for every subatomic particle you can dream up, there’s it’s anti-particle in equal abundance.

And do you know how much of it there was? About a billion times more matter and antimatter than exists (combined) of both of them today.

A lot of people like to start the clock on the Universe imagining that it started as a singularity. As we’ve discussed before, there’s absolutely no reason to think this must be true. But if you insisted anyway and defined that time as t=0, the conservative (lowest energy) estimate for when this Big Bang occurs would be when the Universe is 10-10 seconds old, and the fantastic (highest energy) estimate would be when the Universe is 10-38 seconds old.

And that’s the beginning of our Universe: tiny, young, hot, and full of everything. The whole point of telling this story — what I call the greatest story ever told — is to understand how we got from this point, the very beginning, to where we are today.

So enjoy this step that takes us into what most of us call “our Universe”, and come back later for part four, where we’ll talk about how to get rid of all that pesky antimatter and leave us with the right amount of matter for you and me!

Comments

  1. #1 Bjoern
    February 4, 2010

    Imagine taking all of the matter (all 1080 atoms or so) in the Universe, all of the photons (about 1090, more or less), all of the neutrinos (about another 1090), and smashing them into a volume the size of your thumbnail.

    So, are you talking about the part of the universe which is observable today? Or are you talking about a closed universe? Because (as you surely know), a flat or a negatively curved universe would be infinitely large, and has always been infinitely large.

  2. #2 bsk
    February 4, 2010

    Wow, I am confused. When you were talking about inflation I was imagining that inflation created a universe that was huge (at least on human scales). I think that’s because you describe it as being infinitely fast and stretching the universe so that it is flat and has 0 matter density. Now I find out that this hugely inflated universe fits somewhere between the size of a proton and the size of my thumbnail and yet has more stuff in it that the universe does today. How can a universe the size of a thumbnail, containing more matter and antimatter than exists today, be considered flat and have zero matter density?

  3. #3 David
    February 4, 2010

    Among my many questions about inflation, here are 2:

    Does the total energy of the inflaton field change during inflation? In other words, is the energy density of the inflaton field per volume constant? If the energy density is constant, is it balanced by changes in gravitational potential? What is the status of conservation laws during inflation?

    and…

    What’s the universe look like out at the edges where inflation stops? Is there some kind of “kink” where it joins up to the non-inflated parts? Or is it a closed space, like a bubble pinching off and then expanding?

    thanks…

  4. #4 Ken
    February 4, 2010

    Can you talk about how it is possible for a billion times all the matter in the universe to exist in a space smaller than my thumbnail? Are matter particles so small that if they were just (a whole lot) closer together, they would occupy a space that small? Were the particles themselves smaller or in some other form at that time? I think this is one of the biggest issues that many people have a problem with “believing” in the Big Bang, and I honestly don’t know how to explain it myself. It seems like you’ve kind of skipped over that part, and it’s the part I was most looking forward to hearing.

    But thanks so far for the excellent posts!

  5. #5 Bjoern
    February 4, 2010

    @Ken:

    Are matter particles so small that if they were just (a whole lot) closer together, they would occupy a space that small?

    I come from the particle physics side, so I can answer this.

    First, physicist so far aren’t sure if elementary particles (like electrons and quarks) even have a size – in all calculations, it is assumed they are point-like, and the experimental data we have so far doesn’t contradict that (the data only gives an upper limit of, IIRC, 10^(-18) m for the radius, but no lower limit).

    Second, you shouldn’t picture elementary particles as hard little balls with a fixed surface – they are nothing like that. In fact, two elementary particles can be at exactly the same place at exactly the same time! (well, more precisely, for fermions that only works if they differ in some other respect, e. g. spin).

  6. #6 Mu
    February 4, 2010

    How did the matter/anti-matter parity get dissolved? I mean, today we seem to have a “matter only” universe, so either there’s another antimatter universe, or they weren’t quite equally around at the beginning. What would leave open the question how the universe developed a handness (if that’s a word).

  7. #7 Sphere Coupler
    February 4, 2010

    Bjoen, It’s good to see you state;

    it is assumed they are point-like,

    Try as I may to get people to understand the nature of mass as we know it, this can be hard for the layman.I have attempted to use as an example the Flicker fusion rate to enable a mind set that is open to the notion of reality and illusion,Once people can “see” that the matter around them is subjective to ones point of view, then the possibilities are easier to accept.

    I too have long studied Particle Physics and would like to pose a question…If a black hole is large enough to form a singularity, and large enough to stop Hawking radiation, which would happen first or would the absence of radiation signify singularity creation.If Hawking radiation has an upper limit Does singularity creation have a lower limit? Do they have a relation? Do you know of any papers?

  8. #8 Paulino
    February 4, 2010

    Guys, I suggest you re-read parts 1 and 2 (via Q&A), it really helps, I just did it it reeeally helps. The transition between inflation and the big bang is unknown.

  9. #9 James Holloway
    February 4, 2010

    In my opinion there never was a “big bang”–its a delusion. The most powerful far infra-red telescopes now coming online are finding possibly mature spiral galaxies only 500 million years out from the supposed birth date of the universe. I think the even more powerful instruments coming soon will find galaxies older than the birth date, which might cause some pause. Fritz Zwicky, the incredibly brilliant astrophysicist who discovered dark matter, also never bought into the big bang–maybe he was right.

  10. #10 BF
    February 5, 2010

    A delusion? Seriously? How about a reasonable interpretation of the available data? If, as you suggest, new data comes to light, then the theory will need to be reevaluated. Science! It works.

  11. #11 Bjoern
    February 5, 2010

    @James Holloway:

    In my opinion there never was a “big bang”–its a delusion.

    You are free to explain the mountains of data confirming the big bang theory with another theory. But I’d suggest that you first learn a bit about what the theory actually says, and what the data supporting it actually is…

    The most powerful far infra-red telescopes now coming online are finding possibly mature spiral galaxies only 500 million years out from the supposed birth date of the universe.

    I haven’t heard of “mature” galaxies this young so far. Source? Anyway, some very few “mature” galaxies were indeed found so far at times when the universe was still quite young – but by far the majority of the galaxies of that time were found to be small and irregular. There is a very clear progression from small, irregular to larger, more mature galaxies when one goes (observationally) from the earliest times of the universe to later times.

    I think the even more powerful instruments coming soon will find galaxies older than the birth date, which might cause some pause. This nicely shows that you don’t know what you are talking about. Galaxy ages are essentially never measured directly – what is measured is the redshift, and from that, one calculates the light travel time and thereby the age. Since by definition a redshift of infinity corresponds to the Big Bang itself, and obviously every measured redshift has to be smaller than infinitiy, it follows logically that every measured (or more accurately, calculated) age will be lower than the age of the universe.

  12. #12 Bjoern
    February 5, 2010

    @Sphere coupler: most of what you write is quite hard to understand; could you try to rephrase what you meant, please?

    If a black hole is large enough to form a singularity,

    Huh? Every black hole has a singularity; there is no size limit for that.

    and large enough to stop Hawking radiation,

    Huh? Every black hole produces Hawking radiation; there is no size limit for that. (AFAIK)

    So, what are you talking about? And why do you imply that this has to do with particle physics? This is more about General Relativity…

  13. #13 hexkid
    February 5, 2010

    @James Holloway

    Fritz Zwicky, the incredibly brilliant astrophysicist who discovered dark matter, also never bought into the big bang–maybe he was right.

    Zwicky was a proponent of the ‘Tired Light’ hypothesis as an explanation of the redshift. Unfortunately this hypothesis does not fit with the observed red-shifts at all wavelengths, the cosmic microwave background, the spectrum of supernovae etc.

    Even if the Big Bang model is proved to be incomplete, it still explains more observations than the model supported by Zwicky.

  14. #14 Tacroy
    February 5, 2010

    By comparison, at the beginning of the Big Bang, the temperature is at least 1015 Kelvin and up to (but not more than) 1029 Kelvin!

    There’s got to be some really interesting science behind that comment.

  15. #15 Sphee Coupler
    February 5, 2010

    Bjoern,

    Every black hole has a singularity; there is no size limit for that.

    I did not know this.

    I thought that micro black holes could not form a singularity and was under the impression that a certain amount of mass had to be available to form a singularity, granted the general relativity theory predicts an eventual and inevitable formation of a singularity.

    So are you saying?;
    (At the “moment” a black hole is formed a singularity is also formed, and every black hole has both a singularity and emits radiation always.)

    What I am saying is if a black hole is too small and it accretes matter slower than it diminishes thru Hawking radiation there is no reason to believe that a singularity could have formed.Is there?

    I know I’ve read that super massive black hole have less gravitational influence on the event horizon than smaller black holes yet I find that to be hard to swallow…given the amount of matter involved.

    Aren’t the event horizon, the black hole and the singularity to be considered three regions.

    As for your last inquiry, does not all science “boil down” to particle physics?

  16. #16 Sphere Coupler
    February 5, 2010

    “Roger Penrose and Stephen Hawking showed thirty years ago that, according to general relativity, any object that collapses to form a black hole will go on to collapse to a singularity inside the black hole.”

    Quote from Here

    I read this as two seperate collapses,the second within the first and at different times (“go on”).Is this Cambridge source written incorrectly or should I read this differently?

  17. #17 Sphere Coupler
    February 5, 2010

    From wiki:”Assumptions of the theorems
    Typically a singularity theorem has three ingredients:[2]

    1 An energy condition on the matter,
    2 A condition on the global structure of spacetime,
    3 Gravity is strong enough (somewhere) to trap a region.
    There are various possibilities for each ingredient, and each leads to different singularity theorems”

    To clarify my position a little better, see page 21

    pdf

  18. #18 greg
    February 5, 2010

    I wasn’t aware that the timing for inflation was so uncertain. could we at least say that it occurred before electroweak symmetry breaking?

  19. #19 Bjoern
    February 6, 2010

    So are you saying?;
    (At the “moment” a black hole is formed a singularity is also formed, and every black hole has both a singularity and emits radiation always.)

    AFAIK, yes. I’m no expert on General Relativity and even less on Quantum Gravity, but according to my knowledge, that should be right.

    What I am saying is if a black hole is too small and it accretes matter slower than it diminishes thru Hawking radiation there is no reason to believe that a singularity could have formed.Is there?

    Since I don’t know how long it takes to form the singularity (it could be that it even makes no sense to talk about the necessary time – time flow is quite different inside a BH than outside), I can’t answer that. As I said, I come from the particle physics side, I’m no expert on General Relativity.

    I know I’ve read that super massive black hole have less gravitational influence on the event horizon than smaller black holes yet I find that to be hard to swallow…given the amount of matter involved.

    The size of the black hole is proportional to its mass, the gravitational force inversely proportional to this size squared. Do the math.

    As for your last inquiry, does not all science “boil down” to particle physics?

    Depends on what exactly you mean with “boil down”. As far as we know, essentially everything should be determined by the interactions of elementary particles and fields – but obviously that doesn’t imply that someone who knows a lot about particle physics automatically also knows a lot about other areas of physics!

  20. #20 Sphere Coupler
    February 6, 2010

    Since I don’t know how long it takes to form the singularity (it could be that it even makes no sense to talk about the necessary time – time flow is quite different inside a BH than outside), I can’t answer that. As I said, I come from the particle physics side, I’m no expert on General Relativity.

    Space-time depends on the density of matter, the more dense a space is, the less effective is time.
    That’s not to say it runs slower or faster, it is just less of an effective parameter.That’s the view from the outside, However, as you know if you view a more dense space-time from a lesser dense space-time the more dense region is slower.

    As Einstein implied with his work GR, it’s all a matter of view.Tho I don’t believe he came right out and said it.
    The most superior view one can have is standing outside the universe looking in, but of course it is the most difficult view also.

    Depends on what exactly you mean with “boil down”. As far as we know, essentially everything should be determined by the interactions of elementary particles and fields – but obviously that doesn’t imply that someone who knows a lot about particle physics automatically also knows a lot about other areas of physics!

    Boil down…to reduce to it’s elemental properties.

    When solving problems in any aspect of nature I have found that the more viewpoints you obtain and incorporate into the solution, the closer the solution will be to reality.
    The answer to the questions of nature will not come from one aspect of science, but from many,thus interdisciplinary results will be more fruitful in the future of this understanding.What is needed in science is more people like you who know an area of focus and also have an interest outside of your focused area of study.Susskind and others have said that usually innovation comes from outside academia and it is for this reason that science belongs to all of us, we are indeed all a piece of the puzzle.

    As a Particle Physicist you are in a position for a unique viewpoint, in no other field can one deeply understand parametrization, renormalization,running couplings.(these are only some tools of the PP)

    Cosmology is the frame,General Relativity is the canvas,Particle Physics is the paint.
    Get the picture?

  21. #21 Bjoern
    February 6, 2010

    Space-time depends on the density of matter, the more dense a space is, the less effective is time. That’s not to say it runs slower or faster, it is just less of an effective parameter.

    What on earth is this supposed to mean? Did you get this from a popular science book on General Relativity, or did you make up this terminology on your own?

    The most superior view one can have is standing outside the universe looking in, but of course it is the most difficult view also.

    Since in general the term “universe” means “all that exists”, it is not possible to stand “outside” it. What meaning does the word have for you?

  22. #22 Sphere Coupler
    February 6, 2010

    What is a popular science book?
    Space time does not exist in a singularity.
    Matter must have a seperation component to have spacetime.
    Distance between particles is needed to produce the geodesics.
    Time is an artifact of seperation.
    A singularity is the densest form of matter.
    All matter is gravitationally bound,even a singularity is bound by incoming matter, tho a singularity does not produce gravity and without incoming mass would inflate.

    Outside has the same meaning for me as it does you, yes to physically stand outside the known universe and look in is not possible, However if enough viewpoints are obtained from within an object your “picture becomes clearer”.
    Have we obtained all the available viewpoints from within the universe…no,A complete set of viewpoints from within will give us the most complete and closest picture to viewing from the outside.It will be difficult to obtain all the possible viewpoints.

  23. #23 Bjoern
    February 6, 2010

    Matter must have a seperation component to have spacetime.
    Distance between particles is needed to produce the geodesics.
    Time is an artifact of seperation.

    And again you use quite strange wording. Could you please tell me where you got your knowledge of General Relativity from? Perhaps that will help me understand what you write…

  24. #24 Sphere Coupler
    February 6, 2010

    Bjoern,
    It seems these days I am relearning as much as I am learning.
    I guess you could say that my copy of Wheelers’ Gravitation that I received hot off the press (literally)was most influential, tho to list all the influences of those who contributed to science would be quite extensive and to tell you the truth I don’t remember them all.
    Sir R.Penrose was a good study and I do remember enjoying his works,for many hours.I can’t give any one specific author or even any specific scientist that gave me an over all influence and incite into GR,well of course A. Einstein yet R. Feynman is relevant also.
    I try to word in the simplest of terms.
    I apoligise if it seems weird to you.

  25. #25 Sphere Coupler
    February 6, 2010

    Let me give you an analogy of GR and sub atomic PP.Please remember that an analogy is not an exact definition of the object, to describe the object in it’s completeness all analogies fail.

    In that spirit:

    Consider GR to be from point A to B and point A and B are connected by a copper wire.A and B are Source and Ground (it matters not for this analogy which is source or ground)This electron flow thru the wire depicts the relativity.Place an incandescent light bulb between points A and B, now most layman would say that the filament is energised and heated to glow and light is produced.
    You as a Particle physisist know a deeper understanding, the filament is engineered to enable parameter breaking, decoupling, renormalisation and coupling of the atomic particles and emit photons in a vacuum.
    Lepton creation.
    All very dependant on the Relativity of A and B.

  26. #26 Sphere Coupler
    February 7, 2010

    The Royal Society has opened their library free to the public till February 28th…enjoy.

    Here is a sample

  27. #27 Alan Kellogg
    February 7, 2010

    Sphere Coupler,

    Everything is space-time, and there is nothing that is not space-time. Further more, were we able to perceive things at a greater or lesser scale the universe would be a very different place.

    Just remember, we are not big fish in a small pond, we are viruses in a dinky puddle.

  28. #28 Sphere Coupler
    February 7, 2010

    Go ahead Mythusmage…elaborate.

  29. #29 Bjoern
    February 7, 2010

    @Sphere Coupler: Sorry, I don’t get the point of your analogy. To me, it looks like if you simply throw around some technical terms you’ve once heard, without actually knowing what they mean. Perhaps you really know what they mean – but that isn’t visible at all in what you wrote above!

  30. #30 lurker
    February 8, 2010

    Great article, Ethan! I can’t wait to see what happens next.

    (Typo Alert: it’s -> its
    Last sentence before /antimatter-1.jpg)

  31. #31 Thomas Neil Neubert
    February 8, 2010

    I look SKEPTICALLY forward to Ethan’s explanation on how to get rid of the anti-matter.

    I’m glad to see James Holloway declare that the big bang is a delusion. THANK YOU FOR TAKING THOSE ARROWS.

    And of course all of the reasons for the big bang, such as Bjoern mentions are all in the realm of well reasoned science. However, what most reasonable scientist don’t want to admit is that there are other reasonable scientists who do not believe in the big bang.

    For example, New York Times, Feb 7, 2010, page 26.
    “Geofrey Burbidge, 84, dies. … a towering figure in astronomy… director of Kitt Peak National Observatory… 1957 groundbreaking b paper with…laid out the way thermonuclear reactions in stars could slowly seed the universe… with heavier elements… Dr. Butbidge.. parted company with his colleagues on quasars and indeed on the Big Bang… Dr. Burbridge’s skepticism extended to cosmology. In 1990, he and four other astronomers… published a broadside in the journal Nature listing arguments against the Big Bang… In a memoir in 2007, Dr. Burbidge wrote that this quasi-steady state theory was probably closer to the truth than the Big Bang. But he added that “there is such a heavy bias against any minority point of view in cosmology that it may take a very long time for this to occur.” Despite his contrarian ways, Dr. Brubidge maintained his credibility in the astronomical establihsment… He was “a very clear thinking heretic,” Dr. Strittmatter said… Dr.(Alan) Sandage said Dr. Burbidge had called him three times a week for 40 years to argue about the Big Bang… (Sandage) added, as the evidence for the Big Bang mounted, Dr. Burbidge held his ground.

    So, I agree the Big Bang is the best theory in town (today) explaining how the universe got to be the way it is. But I do not agree that it is very close to the truth. The Ptolemaic theory was the best story in town for more than a thousand years and when it fell all of its data and observations stood. Kepler, Copernicus, Galileo and friends overturned the idea that the Earth was the “spatial center” of our visible universe. In my opinion, the Big Bang theory DEFINES a new “spatial-temporal center” of our visible universe that will one day fall (much to the Pope’s distress).

    Feb 2004 Discover magazine, “Pope Pius XII declared his approval in 1951 of a brand new cosmological theory—the Big Bang. What entranced the pope was the very thing that initially made scientists wary: The theory says the universe had a beginning, and that both time and space leaped out of nothingness. It seemed to confirm the first few sentences of Genesis.”

    Roger Penrose, 2004, “I believe that there are powerful reasons for doubting the very basis of inflationary cosmology.”

    Albert Einstein, 1934, “We thus freed ourselves from the distasteful conception that the material universe ought to possess something of the nature of a centre.. We know from experience that, for a suitably chosen co-ordinate system, the velocities of the stars are small compared with the velocities of transmission of light.”

    Edwin Hubble 1936, “Meanwhile, red-shifts may be expressed on a scale of velocities as a matter of convenience… The term “apparent velocity” may be used in carefully considered statements, and the adjective always implied where it is omitted in general usage.”

    Brian Greene, 1999, “We are familiar with the ability to return, should we so choose, to the same location in space as often as we like.” NO! I AM NOT FAMILIAR WITH THAT ABILITY; UNLESS YOU CHOOSE TO IGNORE RELATIVITY AND CHOOSE SOME ARBITRARY SPATIAL COORDINATE SYSTEM AS ABSOLUTE.

    P.A.M. Dirac 1996, “I want to have G varying, and I also want to have continuous creation.” OF COURSE WE ALL KNOW THAT WE CAN’T ALWAYS GET WHAT WE WANT.

    HENCE AS ROGER PENROSE SAYS
    Roger Penrose, 1991 “Nevertheless we are still stuck with the big bang and that also seems untidy. But there appears to be no way out.” YET.

  32. #32 Bjoern
    February 8, 2010

    @Thomas: For Burbidge (et al.), see here:
    http://www.astro.ucla.edu/~wright/stdystat.htm#QSSC

    The Ptolemaic theory was the best story in town for more than a thousand years and when it fell all of its data and observations stood.

    Actually, Ptolemaus didn’t really have a theory in the scientific sense – he merely tried to “rescue the phenomena” (as he himself said, IIRC). He didn’t have fixed values for astronomical distances etc., but used different values for describing different problems!

    In my opinion, the Big Bang theory DEFINES a new “spatial-temporal center” of our visible universe…

    I don’t see how you arrive at that conclusion.

    The Penrose quote talks only about inflation, not about the (whole) Big Bang theory. I think you’ll find many cosmologists who don’t like the idea of inflation, but almost no cosmologists who dispute the basic Big Bang theory.

    I don’t see the point of the Einstein, Hubble and Dirac quotes. What do you want to imply? What has this to do with the validity of the Big Bang theory?

    I also don’t get why you disagree with the quote by Greene. In order to talk about “the same location in space”, you can choose any coordinate system you like, you don’t have to use a specific one.

    When judging the quote by Penrose, you have to consider the time – today, we know a *lot* more than in 1991, and I don’t think you’ll find any prominent cosmologists today calling the Big Bang theory “untidy” anymore.

  33. #33 Sweetwater Tom
    February 9, 2010

    It seems to me (a layman) that there is a major problem in discussing topics like GR and the BB in a language like English. The concepts were developed mathematically, and the math assumes that we are part of the system. We cannot observe without affecting that which we observe. Our language assumes that we are outside the system, observing without affecting (See above.) Many people have been misled by trying to apply quantum concepts (and GR), expressed in English, to everyday life.

    There are many parts that I do not *get* or do not *like*. I must be patient (or learn the math.)

    Tom

  34. #34 Sweetwater Tom
    February 9, 2010

    IIRC, a black hole need not have a singularity. The singularity is a point where space has infinite curvature. The defining quality of a BH is the event horizon. One could have sufficient mass to form an event horizon but not enough to form a singularity (I think.)

    The formation of the singularity could be a problem with our math, and not a problem with space-time. There is so much we don’t know. Exciting times.

    Tom

  35. #35 Thomas Neil Neubert
    February 11, 2010

    The scientific historian, Thomas S. Kuhn, author of The Copernican Revolution, says in Chapter 1, page 7, “To understand (The Copernican Revolution) we must… get to know the principal observations, all of them accessible to the naked eye, upon which depend the two main scientific cosmologies of the West, the Ptolemaic and the Copernican.” I accept his description of the Ptolemaic system as a scientific cosmology.

    Lee Smolin 2001 asserts, “There are unfortunately not a few good professional physicists who still think about the world as if space and time had an absolute meaning.”

    Yes, yes, Penrose does seems to believes in one of the various big bang theories. His mostly accessible and interesting lecture, about the pre-big bang is worthy listening.
    http://www.newton.cam.ac.uk/webseminars/pg+ws/2005/gmr/gmrw04/1107/penrose/
    I particularly notice Penrose’s chart 11 when he discusses 10^10^123 odds necessary for a big bang moment and chart 22 when he says that “inflation” means that our universe needed “even more special” conditions for a big bang moment. I also, note chart 30, regarding Penrose’s particular pre-big bang theory; he modestly leaves us with the words, “Maybe somebody will come up with something that completely demolishes the whole idea. That’s what science is about after all.” But listen and interpret Penrose’s for yourself.

    Today we know and have a lot more data and observations than in 1991 or 1927; as Burbidge surely also agreed. But my point (and I think Burbidge’s)is that the majority point of view, (i.e. any of the various big bang theories), is probably far from truth.

  36. #36 Bjoern
    February 12, 2010

    @Thomas:

    But my point (and I think Burbidge’s)is that the majority point of view, (i.e. any of the various big bang theories), is probably far from truth.

    Well, every scientific “revolution” (“paradigm change”) so far has left the previous ideas as still valid in certain limiting cases. So why should it be different this time? I think the Big Bang theory is probably not the whole truth, but nevertheless a good approximation to it – not “far from truth”.

  37. #37 Sphere Coupler
    February 12, 2010

    The model for the universe that makes the most sense to me tho I don’t believe I have ever read or heard about the following to any great Wholeness.(and would appreciate any info)Maybe I have read something similar, if I did I don’t remember.

    Lets assume that it all started in a single singularity and due to the lack of space-time/gravity or incoming matter,the singularity inflates to the big bang, The big bang expands, cools, and the coalesces,or condenses back to (not one) but many black-holes…millions, perhaps billions of black-holes.

    When enough black-hole singularities have formed, thus creating a predominant amount of black-hole mass versus mass in space-time between black-holes, then the black Holes with their singularities begin to become closer due to a diminishing and weakened space-time, eventually black-holes condense into singularities, merging into ONE awesome Singularity, only to inflate all over again.(There is more to this but I choose to wait and see the direction of Ethan’s matter/antimatter treatment)

    In this scenario the universe expands forever, speeds up, and is contracting forever simultaneously.

    Merging singularities is a dynamic process which would occur in a very short time frame, this stage of deflation would compare in time to inflation.

    There are a few bumps in the road and I will address one such bump.

    Sir R Penrose said and I quote “If the temperature of the cosmological background goes down to below that of the black hole, the black-hole will evaporate thru Hawking Radiation”end quote.

    Therefore I conjecture that Hawking Radiation is a component of inflation, an indicator if you like, it is a substructure of a larger process of Singularity formation and Inflation creation.

    If you have Hawking radiation greater than the surrounding gravo/metric condensation, then the larger process of inflation will not occur. it is only when Hawking Radiation is overcome by the Space/time Gravity metric a singularity can form and only after many times of creation,dissipation and expansion (of black-holes)can the proper distance/density relationship between Black holes singularities be achieved.Then and only then can all black hole singularities merge into one.It is the absence of temperature in a singularity that allows the longevity of the singularity to succeed.

    Any slight deviation from complete matter recreation would affect the recreation outcome.

    Non-observable Hawking Radiation would thus be the tipping point to this process.

    And thus you have a forever expanding universe and a forever contracting universe.

    Of course there is much more work to be done.

    And I strongly believe that Hawking Radiation is KEY.

    It is my hope that Stephen Hawking will be the one to turn that key.

    (After writing this I read the wiki page on Stephen Hawking and found that he has written a children’s book with his daughter Lucy entitled “George’s Secret Key to the Universe” This strikes me as fascinating…….I must now read a children’s book?)

    Hmmm.

  38. #38 Enrique
    March 15, 2010

    why isnt the sun any hotter than 10 to the 29 power? whats stopping the gasses from burning even hotter than that?

  39. #39 Daniel
    March 23, 2010

    Okay, now I am lost. I went back and re-read parts 1 and 2 and remain confused.

    In part 1, we have inflation driving the universe to a huge size (bigger than the observable universe) with close to zero density.

    In part 2, we have the unknown mechanism that caused the inflation to start (and stop) providing the potential energy to bring about all the mass.

    In part 3, we have the mass appearing… in a volume somewhere between the size of a proton and a thumbnail.

    What happened to the huge inflated universe in part 1? Now it is no bigger than a thumbnail?

  40. #40 Daniel
    March 23, 2010

    I should have just gone ahead and read part iv before posting my question!

  41. #41 ash urns
    September 26, 2010

    Well, almost as we recognize it. At this moment, the Universe has an incredibly hot temperature.

  42. #42 Chick meets Chap
    October 15, 2010

    Lobbyists would still be able to give campaign donations under the bill, but the donation would be capped at $100 unless the lobbyist lived in the candidate’s state.

  43. #43 fha loan requirements
    October 19, 2010

    Previously, when there were flights from Cardiff, what was the arrangement then?

  44. #44 Prank Calls
    October 21, 2010

    Now there are those amongst conservatives who scoff at the notion that Palin is a Reagan in the making.

  45. #45 news cars 2011
    December 14, 2010

    I saw some comments reffering the term of inflation. Well, if imflation expanded the univers, why we are still in this form if the universe is still expanding ?

  46. #46 YouTube to MP3 converter
    January 7, 2011

    Right you are, Stagekiss, and btw, where’s Part 5 of your time on Mad Men (you know the part where you get to kiss Jon Hamm…oh wait, that’s my fantasy….oops….anyway, where is it? We’re getting anxious!)

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