They are the biggest questions that science can possibly ask: where did everything in our universe come from? How did it all begin? For nearly a hundred years, we thought we had the answer: a big bang some 14 billion years ago.
But now some scientists believe that was not really the beginning. Our universe may have had a life before this violent moment of creation.
Horizon takes the ultimate trip into the unknown, to explore a dizzying world of cosmic bounces, rips and multiple universes, and finds out what happened before the big bang.
How are you my Sweet? I just saw your post and thought I would say hi to you. No theatre for us this weekend but we have a performance to go watch next weekend. I quite enjoy the shows we see for the most part. I grew up in such a small town (500 people) so we had no real exposure to live theatre save for the occasional field trip once in a while in Sr. high to watch Shakespear (not the best introduction to live theatre in my not so humble opinion) so it was quite a nice surprise to see different types of shows and really get an appreciation for the art of acting.
IS OUR universe a recycled version of an earlier cosmos? The idea, which replaces the big bang with a "big bounce", has received a boost: this vision of the birth of the universe can explain why a subsequent process, called inflation, occurred.
"The result puts the idea of inflation on firmer ground, and at the same time makes the bounce scenario much more credible," says Carlo Rovelli, who was not involved in the work but studies quantum gravity at the University of Marseille in France.
Inflation is an episode of exponential expansion thought to have occurred fractions of a second after the big bang. It is needed to explain, among other things, why the universe today has the geometry it does, but explaining what triggered inflation is tricky.
According to general relativity, inflation could have occurred if early space-time was suffused by a field called the inflaton. But it would also have required a set of initial conditions - such as particular properties of the vacuum of space-time - that have a probability of occurring by chance of about 6 × 10-92 (Physical Review D, DOI: 10.1103/physrevd.77.063516). "In general relativity, there is no way really of explaining why those initial conditions were what they were," says Gary Gibbons of the University of Cambridge, who did the calculation with Neil Turok of the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. "You have to go to some deeper theory."
Enter loop quantum gravity, devised by Abhay Ashtekar of Pennsylvannia State University (PSU) in University Park and colleagues to reconcile general relativity with quantum mechanics. When Ashtekar's team created cosmological models inspired by LQG in 2006, these suggested the universe emerged from the remnants of an earlier universe that was crunched down to a tiny volume by gravity, not from the big bang (see diagram).
Now, together with David Sloan, also at PSU, Ashtekar has calculated the probability of inflation occurring after this big bounce. "We find that the probability of inflation is incredibly close to 1," he says.
Earlier simulations showed that the big bounce creates a repulsive force and so is always followed by a period of rapid expansion that is even faster than inflation. Dubbed superinflation, this episode doesn't last long enough to replace inflation. But the pair's latest calculations show that it has a profound effect on space-time, such that no matter what the initial properties are in the early universe, superinflation "funnels" all the possible ways in which space-time can evolve towards one in which inflation is a near certainty (Physics Letters B, DOI: 10.1016/j.physletb.2010.09.058).
"Superinflation never occurs in general relativity, whereas it is compulsory in loop quantum cosmology," says Ashtekar.
That offers an explanation for why inflation might have occurred, and strengthens the idea that our origins lie in a big bounce, Ashtekar and Sloan conclude.
This topic is a wee bit like the Emperor's new clothes in that there are few likely to venture a view that is even slightly apart from the established guesswork.
It seems absurd to consider that anything can just suddenly come into being and/ or just similarly appear by superstitious means. The Natural Laws would surely be outraged at both suggestions.
However, an apparently sudden appearance cannot be ruled out, but such would require logical underwritten Laws as a basis. Water can suddenly change forms, given the appropriate conditions of temperature.
I would suggest that until we know the basis of Life - whether it is in fact material, or spiritual, or even having many contributing components - we are guessing based on known observations.
Quantum exploration points to a likely explanation, but when we consider that were the full spectrum of experience said to be 1 mile high, the range of the most aware of humanity would hardly stretch to one quarter of one inch, by comparison. That there is 'things' beyond human perception is undoubted today - dogs, for example can hear and scent what we cannot.
On this basis, isn't it possible that systems and items could exist beyond the known (to human) range?
What would make them detectable, how and when is another set of questions'
Remember that US Navy ship - the Philidelphia, was it?
I have seen it postulated that there is no space - it only appears 'empty' to us, but is teeming with Life in a range of differing vibration beyond our ken.
It would be true to ask - just how little do we really know of these things?
Yet even geniuses are not geniuses in every field, are they?
But don't worry, I am NOT dismissing intellect and thinking!
As you said, standing on the shoulders. A newer perspective when we Arise.
From one of my fave movies of all time:
Dead Poets Society
[Keating stands on his desk]
John Keating: Why do I stand up here? Anybody?
Dalton: To feel taller!
John Keating: No!
[Dings a bell with his foot]
John Keating: Thank you for playing Mr. Dalton. I stand upon my desk to remind myself that we must constantly look at things in a different way.
"When you read, don't just consider what the author thinks, consider what you think."
I know YOU know all this, me dear, but I just feel like sharing with whoever.
Which is the main 'message' so-called ecclesial books convey.
The Jesus myth for instance, is surely not the first, as its proponents seem to believe, merely one of the latest, in a long tradition of myths in the form of personifications, conveying the aspects of the ever ongoing cycle of life - and all those myths tell us the same: the creation of life, its nature, its perpetuality.
Always keep in mind that the human brain can only comprehend 3 categories to put information in.