Image of the Day: NASA's 1st Major 'Curiosity' Discovery?
Odd Crystal Found From Outer Space --With a Structure Long Thought Impossible in Nature

"Our Universe a Result of a Collision of Two 3-D Worlds"




Paul Steinhardt of Princeton University has proposed a "Ekpyrotic Model" of the Universe that describes our current universe as arising from a collision of two three-dimensional worlds (branes) in a space with an extra (fourth) spatial dimension. The proposal is interesting in and of itself, but also because it is the precursor to a more powerful and explanatory theory, the Cyclic Model.

The term ekpyrotic derives from``ekpyrosis" meaning ``conflagration" in Greek, and refers to an ancient Stoic cosmological model. According to the model, the universe is created in a sudden burst of fire, not unlike the collision between three-dimensional worlds in our model. The current universe evolves from the initial fire.* In the public mind, the Big Bang model means that the universe began from a single point, underwent an explosion, and has been flying apart ever since. However, the big bang is not an explosion at all, rather the big bang is the expansion or stretching of space with all things are moving away from each other.The beginning of the big bang picture was the cosmic singularity, when the universe has nearly infinite density and temperature.

There are some skeptics, Steinhardt notes, who have written "the Big Bang never happened", by which they mean that the universe is not expanding today and it never has been. They say this despite overwhelming evidence in favor of expansion and cooling today and for the last 15 billion years.

The Ekpyrotic model does amends the earliest moments of the Big Bang story. "Instead of beginning with nearly infinite temperature and density," Steinhardt writes, "the universe began in a very different state - cold and nearly vacuous. The hot expanding universe we know came as a result of collision that brought the universe up to a large but finite temperature and density. The rest of the story is as the Big Bang model would have it, but the beginning is different."

The Big bang model, with no amendments, he emphazies, "would tend to produce a universe that is highly inhomogeneous, with a warped and curved space, and no natural mechanism for making stars, galaxies and larger scale structures in the universe. Cosmologists have been trying to correct these deficiencies by amending the early history of the universe - within the first billionth billionth billionths of s second or less. One proposal is the "inflationary theory" of the universe, which proposes that the universe began hot and dense, and underwent a period of hyperexpansion. The ekpyrotic model is a new alternative, which is, in many ways, a more radical departure from the Big Bang concept."

Steinhardt's model is based on the idea that "our hot big bang universe was created from the collision of two three-dimensianal worlds moving along a hidden, extra dimension. The two three-dimensional worlds collide and ``stick," the kinetic energy in the collision is converted the quarks, electrons, photons, etc., that are confined to move along three dimensions. The resulting temperature is finite, so the hot big bang phase begins without a singularity. The universe is homogeneous because the collision and initiation of the big bang phase occurs nearly simultaneously everywhere. The energetically preferred geometry for the two worlds is flat, so their collision produces a flat big bang universe.

According to Einstein's equations, this means that the total energy density of the Universe is equal to the critical density. Massive magnetic monopoles, which are overabundantly produced in the standard big bang theory, are not produced at all in this scenario because the temperature after collision is far too small to produce any of these massive particles.

"Quantum effects cause the incoming three-dimensional world to ripple along the extra-dimension prior to collision so that the collision occurs in some places at slightly different times than others. By the time the collision is complete, the rippling leads to small variations in temperature, which seed temperature fluctuations in the microwave background and the formation of galaxies. We have shown that the spectrum of energy density fluctuations is scale-invariant (the same amplitude on all scales). The production of a scale-invariant spectrum from hyperexpansion was one of the great triumphs of inflationary theory, and here we have repeated the feat using completely different physics."

But Steinhardt cautions that it is important to realize that inflationary theory is based on quantum field theory, a well-established theoretical framework, and the model has been carefully studied and vetted for twenty years,while his proposal is based on new, unproven ideas in string theory.

The Daily Galaxy via


This is just science fiction. Is that what scientists really do nowadays?

This theory is remarkably old, and in some ways outdated.

For example, I was under the impression that the most recent theories (m-theory) gave the number of dimensions in the superspatial cosmos as eleven. (Personally, I think that a twelfth dimension is also required, but that's a separate discussion.)

I've been hearing and reading about the "Big Crash Theory" for a few years now. The only thing new here is the idea that the crash happened in multiple places along our brane at different times, creating matter across a variety of locations. I'm not sure I quite understand how that works, as my understanding of the theory is that the initial crash started the expansion of the three-dimensional space that makes up our universe.

Roman, yep those darn scientists, attempting to figure out how the world works, what a cheek! It's called a hypothesis which is what you get before a theory. It's now up to scientists to prove or disprove this hypothesis by finding supporting evidence. It's how science works.

So... If someone would just go and provide some proof of string theory, this Ekpyrotic theory will be easier to accept as well?

Because of the ripple effect at the "moment" of multi-versal collision, may I propose the name "Big Splash"? ;-)

This is an exciting hypothesis, because, i have struggled with the idea that space and the universe itself are finite, expanding from a point to a limit. If rationality is ever empirical it seems to me that space itself and the universe are boundless, marginless and infinite. In this hypothesis "the Splash" we have two bodies or "entities" colliding to form a brane and the energy of the collision becomes the universe. I don't like polydimensional models if they're considered to be actual physical dimensions. In the abstract however they can be useful.


I'm really beginning to like the two space brane theory. I have to account for 'spooky action" specifically entanglement and it's manifestations. this requires a zero innerspace for particles and bodies, so as we are all entangles there is no distance from center-to-center of any. So the Mutual Center it manifests is the collision brane. And the instantaneous effects Be. How could spatial polarity account for such a brane. I don't know.

Interesting, only three articles in today's e-mail, and two of them feature Paul Steinhardt in markedly different topics.

Chris, no, it's not a hypothesis. Hypothesis is something you have after you made an observation or performed a test. But this is just pure speculation and mental masturbation (like string theory, by the way). You simply cannot take a mathematical model and freely apply it to the real world.

Roman, Chris is absolutely correct. A hypothesis can be based on anything, even a 'thought experiment.' (The classic example was Einstein's thought experiment of what physics he would observe, if he could ride along with a light beam. Logically it required events that had not been observed anywhere, suggesting among other things, that motion *at* the speed of light was itself was an unattainable condition.)

You test it with experiment and/or observation ("If my hypothesis is correct, it predicts specific phenomena I can look for, and/or it explains an existing observation that current theory does not."), then the results, whether positive or negative, support or refute theories.

The Ekpyrotic Model is not science fiction when offered this way- and it is an offer and not a demand for immediate acceptance. Besides, I do not think "science fiction" is a proper name for such often highly enjoyable and inventive literature. I think it should be called "Fiction In Science" because that is just what it is. this is, if anything, a hypothesis and one can do with it anything one wants including ignoring it. Feynman has it right: "See something, take a guess, test it and see what happens." And Einstein said that proof of madness is testing the same thing under same conditions and using exactly the same methods and expecting a different outcome. Check out the history of government science grants and you'll notice what I mean.

See Brian Greene's PBS NOVA "The Elegant Universe" and there is an illustration of the Ekpyrotic Theory. I call this The Big Bump. I, for one, do not hold with something happening without causation. And it is no great crime to not know right now.

interesting theory - I mostly agree with it - except the fact that could NOT have been "two 3D universes" [probably the expert has some problems figuring out the notion of Multiverse];
-> those intersecting / colliding membranes SHOULD have had MORE than our 3+1 D [x, y, z and t] ...
Lets start from simple to complex :

0) A “0 D” [zero dimensions] universe – a point universe – appears at the intersection of two membranes “1 D” [mono-dimensional] - lines, when these have an equal (e) extra-dimension [in this case “e” = “x” = x(1) = x(2) – otherwise they (the membranes) shall be non-coplanar (or parallel)] ;
1) A “1 D” [mono-dimensional] universe - a straight line universe – appears at the intersection of two membranes “2 D” [bi-dimensional] - planes, when these have an equal (e) extra-dimension [in this case “e” = “y” = y(1) = y(2), they (the membranes) shall be parallel].
2) A “2 D” [bi-dimensional] universe – a plane universe – appears at the intersection of two membranes “3 D” [tri-dimensional], when these have an equal (e) extra-dimension [in this case “e” = “z” = z(1) = z(2)].
3) Extending the concept, a “3 D” [tri-dimensional] universe – a space universe – appears at the intersection of two membranes “4 D” [quadri-dimensional] - space-times, when these have an equal (e) extra-dimension [in this case, I speculate “e” = “t” = t(1) = t(2)].
4) Extending the concept, a “4 D” universe [a quadri-dimensional universe with x, y, z, and t (existential time – meaning evolves in time) – much like the one within which we exist] – appears at the intersection of two membranes “5 D” [penta-dimensional], when these membranes have an equal (e) extra-dimension [please, feel free to name it ;) ].
here's the explaining with simple drowings - to make it easier to "digest" ;)

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)