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Did the Universe Begin with a Big Bang or Big Chill? "It Was More Like Water Freezing into Ice" Says New Theory

 

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The start of the Universe should be modeled not as a Big Bang but more like water freezing into ice, according to a team of theoretical physicists at the University of Melbourne and RMIT University that could our revolutionized our understanding of the nature of the Universe. The key, they propose, is to be found in the cracks and crevices common to all crystals.

"Albert Einstein assumed that space and time were continuous and flowed smoothly, but we now believe that this assumption may not be valid at very small scales," said Project lead researcher James Q. Quach, of the University of Melbourne school of physics. “A new theory, known as quantum graphity, suggests that space may be made up of indivisible building blocks, like tiny atoms. These indivisible blocks can be thought about as similar to pixels that make up an image on a screen. The challenge has been that these building blocks of space are very small, and so impossible to see directly.”

“Think of the early universe as being like a liquid,” Quach added. “Then as the universe cools, it ‘crystallizes’ into the three spatial and one time dimension that we see today. Theorized this way, as the Universe cools, we would expect that cracks should form, similar to the way cracks are formed when water freezes into ice.”

RMIT University research team member Associate Professor Andrew Greentree said some of these defects might be visible. “Light and other particles would bend or reflect off such defects, and therefore in theory we should be able to detect these effects."

These structures should have observable background-independent consequences, including scattering, double imaging, and gravitational lensing-like effects, the scientists wrote in their paper. The team has calculated some of these effects and if their predictions are experimentally verified, the question as to whether space is smooth or constructed out of tiny indivisible parts will be solved once and for all.

The Daily Galaxy via http://www.kurzweilai.net, and Physical Review

James Quach, Chun-Hsu Su, Andrew Martin, Andrew Greentree, Domain structures in quantum graphity, Physical Review D, 2012, DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevD.86.044001 James Quach, Chun-Hsu Su, Andrew Martin, Andrew Greentree, Domain structures in quantum graphity, arxiv.org/abs/1203.5367

Comments

I always enjoy reading about new theories that force us into different thought patterns, and challenge what we think we know. It's ironic that the author thinks this experiment will solve a mystery "once and for all".

The article is really very good for all the people who we like the themes of the universe's great that so exstan spaces on the web, where you can read interesting things from outer space.
I always struggled to understand the Big Bang theory, seemed so distant in time, it is obvious, because it was a lot for a very very long time. But what I can not get into your head is that someone may have much certainty. I'm a big fan of the books of Isaac Asimov universe, really recommend them to everyone.
Regards.

I don't think any self-respecting science fiction writer would dare to come up with a concept like this ....

Is this supposed to be "quantum graphity," or "quantum gravity"? (Probably the former, since the phrase appears twice including the citation at the end, though some clarification would have been good.)

Either way, I don't really see this hypothesis as necessarily being mutually exclusive to the Big Bang, or really any other given theory of the universe's origin. It looks to me more like just a theory of how the universe is structured at scales at and near the Planck length.

If the team's experiments show this model to be accurate, it will be interesting to see what applications come out of it.

@ bob i think the term "quantum graphity" is in reference to the recent discovery of natural forming graphene in space. Here is the article on daily galaxy.

http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2012/06/the-discovery-of-graphene-in-space-will-it-unlock-secrets-of-the-big-bang-black-holes.html


If this theory was right, could we move? Basing the idea on crystals would make the shapes flatter to cube shaped, stacked uncountably deep. Sort of like being buried in sand. With every micro micron of existence made like this it seems like they would lock any movement tight. And is there space between each "indivisible building blocks"? Maybe if their shapes were flexible, shape shifting so to say, movement could be possible. Or I am misunderstand and human bodies dont react to them?
And would light react to going through infinite "pixels". If they were flat and the stars light was coming from an odd angle would it "scatter" the light? Or if the pixels were not square would the light going through infinite pixels just scatter faster? Or could the light pass through with no effect on it?
I guess both of these questions would go away if the building blocks were borderless. AAAAND if they were borderless, then they could be right and the pixels would be non-existent too!

But they talk about defects showing up as "structures should have observable background-independent consequences, including scattering, double imaging, and gravitational lensing-like effects,". I take it the defects would involve light years worth of pixels? Surely 1 pixel wouldnt be able to show any of this to the extent we could see, no matter how close or far. Lots more questions, guess time might get more answers.

This 'theory' is not very useful. If something froze into the universe, what was it before it froze? As for space being continuous, that's a crock, it has to be quantized and the current thinking has the granularity at the Planck Length. And, by the way, assuming this granularity gets rid of these messy singularities. Oh my, do I get a Nobel Prize for this?

What if the Universe started by someone falling asleep somewhere, maybe this reality is someone else's dream. Or maybe it is your dream. Wake up! :)

Are they talking about something like buckminsterfullerene, buckyballs balls, which have now been found to be much more prevalent in the cosmos than once thought, and probably throughout? Or could their tiniest indivisible particles be the geometric form that Nassim Haramein says makes up all the vaccum of space? Either sound possible to me. Someone ( a german physicist, I think) recently that a cubic cm of space contains all the volume of the universe, something that Haramein said ages ago. I wish all these scientists would really talk to each other when they're coming up with their theories, instead of everyone knowing about only their tiny bit. It makes it so hard for non-scientists like me to try to make sense of all these little threads.

This theory, while it seems to conflict with the other new theory that time is not the 4th dimension, immediately reminded me of Joe Rosen's fundamental theorizing of symmetry in physics.

"Super symmetry" seems to be flawed from the start, and equally seems to have managed to make wrong predictions. But maybe understanding the relationship between symmetry and asymmetry would help to explain this stuff.

The relevance being that one of Rosen's points is that crystals are an example of symmetry-breaking, and physical matter itself seems to go along with this understanding. Quantum fluctuations and photon behavior, on the other hand, seem to operate on as much of a theoretical level of unpredictability as they are symmetrical in probabilities. This would be another way of saying that photons and quarks might function like water as far as how physics applies to them in different dimensional terms, and matter similarly forms as an asymmetrical crystallization of energy. How it makes that breakage into physical existence may get into whatever the Higgs field is.

...just ideas, I got my degree in religious studies! But sometimes dots get connected by the most naive person in the audience

If the universe was once a liquid and not a solid, where did it come from? If the liquid theory based on quantum graphity, and its ability to create little nooks and crannies, which froze into solid crystals. Is space a solid, liquid or little invisible building blocks of something or other? Which is to say? The universe did not begin as a Big Bang but began as a gel cap with a liquid center. How did the universe form? Someone stepped on it?Is space made of tiny building blocks of something? Yes. The space between one ears is made up of tiny building blocks; with it nooks and crannies. Is outer space the same type of space that exist between my fingers and my toes, and are they made up of the same tiny invisible building blocks that make up space of the universe? Are the tiny building blocks of space, time like that of Lego building blocks?

Well look, Have you taken a look at the atom? Electrons are particles in "orbit" around an atom. However it jumps from shell to shell. It doesn't move or flow from point A to point B. One moment it's at A, then it's at B. You can have electrons move through barriers. Why? We're not sure. However, what if space is in chunks instead of smooth?

Well, then you'd start to see this jumping about on a quantum level. The solution to Zeno's paradox is eventually space cannot be halved any further. Personally, I do not believe in quantized space. I believe that matter causes space-time to fracture in a Fresnal Lens-like fashion. It would certainly explain why the universe is flat, but then again, so would this theory.

Sufism in Islam talked about it, and said that God created the universe from the jewel of water which condensed and spread to form the vast worlds and stars plants and moons. the lights of Allah that manifested in the jewel of water made the inner reflection inside it,such reflection is compared to the reflections in the diamond and the projection of lights that spread and shadow of that reflections made the whole heavens and worlds.such interpretations reflects the theory of multidimensional universe and string theory and hologram. you cant know the secrets of the universe without knowing the creator.

Some of you folks are taking the "water into ice" metaphor a bit too literally.

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