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Space & Astronomy

Big Bang may have actually been a Big Bounce

July 10, 2016 | Comment icon 28 comments



Does the universe both expand and contract ? Image Credit: NASA
A new study has added weight to the idea that the universe may cycle between expansion and contraction.
Most scientists subscribe to the idea that the universe came in to being some 13.8 billion years ago when everything in existence, which at that time occupied a single point of infinite density, began to expand at an exponential rate in an event that is commonly referred to as the Big Bang.

One alternative theory however suggests that, rather than springing in to existence and expanding indefinitely, the universe instead undergoes alternating periods of expansion and contraction - a concept typically referred to as the Big Bounce.
One of the main problems with this idea has been explaining how the universe cycles from one state to another, but now two scientists have put forward the results of a new study which may finally explain how this is possible and could serve to revolutionize our understanding of the universe.

The research, which has been published by Dr Steffen Gielen from Imperial College London and Dr Neil Turok, Director of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Canada, puts forward the notion that when the universe is very small at the end of its contraction cycle, the principles of quantum mechanics could prevent it from collapsing entirely.

"Quantum mechanics saves us when things break down," said Dr Gielen. "It saves electrons from falling in and destroying atoms, so maybe it could also save the early universe from such violent beginnings and endings as the Big Bang and Big Crunch."

Source: Imperial College London | Comments (28)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #19 Posted by switchopens 6 years ago
And that just might be right answer.  Probability when analyzing quantum states can create events that seem improbable when contrasting the outcomes to our limited scale of time and space, but given that time and space are a construct of the universe itself, there is no seeming end to the chances that an event in quantum foam will line up perfectly for such a shift to happen (as in a moment of structure in a chaotic system).  A simple example might be freak waves in the ocean or lake; although few and far between, sometimes the random conditions are right to create a tsunami when random waves ... [More]
Comment icon #20 Posted by FlyingAngel 6 years ago
To change from one state to another, it requires times. But for most people, time didn't exist before Big Bang, so there couldn't be any change of state.
Comment icon #21 Posted by StarMountainKid 6 years ago
Yes. If it's a big bounce though there's no singularity, so time would still exist because there's no "before the big bang". The universe always exists, so a change of state is not necessary. Just my thinking. Another interesting idea is information panspermia. Life genome could be digitized, compressed and transmitted as an information package and broadcast throughout the universe. It could even be preserved through a cycling universe vial the cosmic background radiation. The decoding mechanism would also be included in the algorithm. So, some advance intelligent form of life could survive th... [More]
Comment icon #22 Posted by Frank Merton 6 years ago
In a situation like that where the stuff has nowhere to go but outward, the probability is overwhelming that that is what it will do.  The cartoon we see so often of the Big Bang as an explosion is not true.  It was just an expansion and the only cause needed is probability.
Comment icon #23 Posted by Varelse 6 years ago
Ever since I took in the full meaning of infinite space and time I've been interested in this and think most scientists -at least up until now have been thinking on too small of a scale. Forget colliding galaxies, think colliding universes. Fusion of massive intergalactic black holes. Time that always was and always will be. Always. Distances never ending in any direction. Ever. F-in facinating!!
Comment icon #24 Posted by Frank Merton 6 years ago
As may be apparent, I tend to think causality is an illusion (a very un-Buddhist idea since cause and effect is identified in its system as the foundation of karma).  When you open the stopper to a jar of perfume, the odor soon permeates the room.  What causes this?  It is the random motion of the particles of the perfume, mixing with the random motions of the particles of air in the room.  There is no force causing the perfume to spread -- it is just that it is more likely to go outward than to go inward since there are more places outward for it to go.  In short, I see causality as something... [More]
Comment icon #25 Posted by Frank Merton 6 years ago
There is a problem with the idea that time was and always will be.  Infinity is not a number but an abstract concept. When we say "to infinity" what we really are saying is "and so on without end," and when we say "from infinity," what we are really saying is something meaningless -- from without a beginning.   Both in fact are meaningless -- even if you are immortal, you will never live "forever." No matter how long you live it will always have been a finite time.  So also something cannot be from forever -- it can only be from a finite time in the past.
Comment icon #26 Posted by Varelse 6 years ago
I can't debate on this subject, only hypothesize and fantasize. When the brain tries to combine a relationship between the birth of mass and energy considering infinity and time it tends to  overheat.
Comment icon #27 Posted by woopypooky 6 years ago
why have to know? nobody lives long to see big bang or big bounce. not even God.
Comment icon #28 Posted by third_eye 6 years ago
I like 'Bounce' better ... anyway a bounce is more fun than a bang ... ~


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