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Move over Big Bang Theory, there's a new kid in town

I shall simply have to plead ignorance on this one, but I was surprised nevertheless that I hadn't seen a competing explanation of the universe quite like this before. "How can it be that I've not heard a peep about something so ostensibly groundbreaking?" I wondered. Well, I haven't yet busied myself with reading any sort of refutation of this theory, and it's even harder yet to find follow up on the massive potential of such a description of the universe as this. As it stands, however, I can't help but predict that it was unable catch a lot of traction with cosmologists, but I'm wondering if anyone out there is/was familiar with this and can provide further information?

As an aside, what do we think about this idea, metaphorical plot holes and all? Clearly it doesn't address some of the protracted and lingering complexities that the BBT does, and yet it explains other core issues that the BBT does not. My interest has been piqued, but as much as I'd love to see big bang cosmology fall to the superfluous wayside - thus silencing men like William Lane Craig momentarily - I don't think I'll get too excited just yet.

Tags: Bang, Big, Cosmology, Theory

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I have to wonder if the objections of some atheists to the big bang theory, are also ideologically motivated, because some people think of the big bang as a Creation event. 

I'm interested in alternatives to the big bang - but Shu's very speculative idea shouldn't be given more credibility than it deserves for ideological reasons.  The big bang is a physics theory, not theology. 

The big bang is a physics theory, ....

I understand gravity to have long been a theory.

The BB is a physics hypothesis, and it echoes Genesis.

The singularity once contained only the universe' mass.

Then came the add-ons: inflation, black energy, black mass, the CBR, ....

The CBR? Echoes begin and echoes end. If the CBR goes on forever, so does the BB.

The BB hypothesis has evolved; it now says the singularity contained mass AND space AND time.

Accepting the BB hypothesis as theory requires faith.

Having given it a few cuts with Occam's Razor, I tell people the BB could have been one of many gamma ray bursts in a universe far larger than anything Hubble has reported.

That far larger universe's origin?

I don't need to know. If you want to hypothesize, do it.

Accepting the BB hypothesis as theory requires faith.

No it doesn't, it's a theory and much, much better developed than Shu's idea. 

Actually I think it has a lot more support than just the CMB.  Things like relative abundances of species - I remember reading that some ratio or other is well explained by the Big Bang theory. 

Speculative physics ideas abound.  Shu's idea is an interesting one, but at present just a speculative physics idea. 

it's the hydrogen/helium ratio that is predicted by the big bang theory.'s a theory and....

Luara, you've probably heard it advised that what is asserted without evidence may be denied without evidence.

The definitions for hypothesis and theory even in New Oxford American, a dictionary not intended for use in the sciences, provide the evidence for denial. What provides the evidence for assertion?

The BB is a physics hypothesis, and it echoes Genesis.

Only to some, but even so that in itself is not a valid objection to it.

The BB hypothesis has evolved; it now says the singularity contained mass AND space AND time.

Not accurate.

Accepting the BB hypothesis as theory requires faith.

What it means to accept a hypothesis as theory is unclear. However, no faith is required in entertaining  any hypothesis that fits observation as long as you remain willing to abandon it when a better hypothesis is devised.

It would be strange to make the assumption that nowhere in spacetime do conditions become so extreme that our known physics doesn't apply. 

This is true of the early Big Bang - but saying there's something wrong about that, is making that strange assumption. 

Steven Weinberg's book The First Three Minutes is online.  The site has a discussion of why the Big Bang theory is so widely accepted.  That site also mentions deuterium abundance as evidence for the Big Bang.  

It would be strange to make the assumption that nowhere in spacetime do conditions become so extreme that our known physics doesn't apply.

You are right. Doesn't it seem that one way to read the prediction of a singularity using General Relativity is to conclude that GR fails to be a complete description in the neighborhood that point? Isn't that the primary motivation to develop a theory of quantum gravity?

Quantum field theory and general relativity aren't integrated with each other, so it isn't known what happens when the mass of a star, say, is concentrated in a volume the size of an atom.  I don't know much about the attempts at a theory of quantum gravity. Part of it involves trying to quantize spacetime.

Physicists generally seem to view infinities in physics as unphysical, as signifying that the theory has broken down. There's a concept of renormalization in quantum field theory which involves throwing out infinities that appear in calculations, in a systematic way! - a "dippy process" according to Feynman. I wonder if the need for renormalization is because QFT doesn't incorporate general relativity - it's not the final, complete theory. 

There's an article Back to the beginning of quantum spacetime in the March '13 issue of Physics Today which gives a good introduction to loop quantum gravity and how it might explain the Big Bang.  

The author Martin Bojowald gives a kind of commutator of two time deformations of a constant-time hypersurface in spacetime.  The difference between doing first deformation #1 then deformation #2, vs. in the opposite order, gives a commutator which is a displacement in space. 

It's reminiscent of commutators in quantum mechanics, and he says "The key question for quantum gravity is how quantized energies fit into a quantum version of [the commutator of two time deformations]".  Whatever that means. 

This commutator would also give information about the spacetime curvature.  I vaguely remember something similar from Penrose's Road to Reality, I think he expressed the Riemann curvature tensor as a commutator for two infinitesimal spacetime displacements. 

Anyway, he says in the quantization of spacetime there are "ladder operators" similar to the ladder operators that give solutions for the quantum harmonic oscillator.  The basic unexcited state, he says, resembles a matter state in which any energy excitation can be reached - thus a state of infinite temperature!  This is called the State of Hell, and it looks like the Big Bang state!  There is no spatial extension in the State of Hell.

A kind of bounce may happen at the Big Bang but it wouldn't be a bounce in time.  Rather, around the Big Bang state, time effectively disappears and you're left with 4 space dimensions. The collapse and expansion would not be causally connected, and information transfer from collapse to expansion would be limited, which could solve the problem of how the Big Bang had such low entropy. The wavefunction of the universe can be extended "before" the Big Bang, but this isn't temporally before. 

Physics Today is a nice magazine because it has articles explaining physics topics written for physics-literate people, but not research-level.  Usually if I'm puzzled by something in it, I can find an explanation online. 

I think he expressed the Riemann curvature tensor as a commutator for two infinitesimal spacetime displacements.

Actually the Riemann tensor tells you what the commutator of two infinitesimal spacetime displacements does to a parallel-transported vector

i.e. if vector V is parallel transported along vector A then along vector B, or parallel transported along B then along A, the Riemann tensor tells you how the result will differ. 

To Tom Sarbeck: There's no reply button on your post.

>>Who says [the expansion wasn't omni-directional?

You said it wasn't with the pic you provided.

As propaganda it has some appeal.

No, that's not what the picture shows. To show expansion of the universe in time, it shows only two dimensions of space. Surely you didn't think space was two dimensional. As I pointed out, it's a schematic diagram.

My income doesn't depend on my agreeing with the BB hypothesis, so I have a freedom that many BB supporters don't have.

If yours does, I understand.

Your intended insult missed the mark. On the other hand your recourse to self-congratulatory innuendo signals you've exhausted your capacity for civil and rational discussion.


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