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A new study of the early universe reveals how it could have been formed from an older collapsing universe, rather than being brand new. The universe is currently expanding and it is a common theory that this is the result of the ‘Big Bang’ – the universe bursting into existence from a point of infinitely dense and hot material.

"Our model’s ability to give a possible solution to the problem of the Big Bang opens the way to new explanations for the formation of the universe," said Steffen Gielen, a theorectical physicist with the Imperial College of London.


However, physicists have long debated this idea as it means the universe began in a state of complete breakdown of physics as we know it. Instead, some have suggested that the universe has alternated between periods of expansion and contraction, and the current expansion is just one phase of this.

This so-called ‘Big Bounce’ idea has been around since 1922, but has been held back by an inability to explain how the universe transitions from a contracting to an expanding state, and vice versa, without leading to an infinite point.

Now, in a new study published today in Physical Review Letters, Dr Steffen Gielen from Imperial College London and Dr Neil Turok, Director of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Canada, have shown how the Big Bounce might be possible.

Cosmological observations suggest that during its very early life, the universe may have looked the same at all scales – meaning that the physical laws that that worked for the whole structure of the universe also worked at the scale of the very small, smaller than individual atoms. This phenomenon is known as conformal symmetry.





In today’s universe, this is not the case – particles smaller than atoms behave very differently to larger matter and the symmetry is broken. Subatomic particle behaviour is governed by what is called quantum mechanics, which produces different rules of physics for the very small.

For example, without quantum mechanics, atoms would not exist. The electrons, as they whizz around the nucleus, would lose energy and collapse into the centre, destroying the atom. However, quantum mechanics prevents this from happening.

In the early universe, as everything was incredibly small, it may have been governed solely by the principles of quantum mechanics, rather than the large-scale physics we also see today.

In the new study, the researchers suggest that the effects of quantum mechanics could prevent the universe from collapsing and destroying itself at end of a period of contraction, known as the Big Crunch. Instead, the universe would transition from a contracting state to an expanding one without collapsing completely.

Dr Gielen said: “Quantum mechanics saves us when things break down. 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.”

Using the idea that the universe had conformal symmetry at its beginning, and that this was governed by the rules of quantum mechanics, Dr Gielen and Dr Turok built a mathematical model of how the universe might evolve.

The model contains a few simple ingredients that are most likely to have formed the early universe, such as the fact that it was filled with radiation, with almost no normal matter. With these, the model predicts that the effect of quantum mechanics would allow the universe to spring from a previous universe that was contracting, rather than from a single point of broken physics.

Dr Turok said: “The big surprise in our work is that we could describe the earliest moments of the hot Big Bang quantum mechanically, under very reasonable and minimal assumptions about the matter present in the universe. Under these assumptions, the Big Bang was a ‘bounce’, in which contraction reversed to expansion.”

The researchers are now investigating how this simple model can be extended to explain the origin of perturbations to the simple structure of the universe, such as galaxies. “Our model’s ability to give a possible solution to the problem of the Big Bang opens the way to new explanations for the formation of the universe,” said Dr Gielen.

'Perfect Quantum Cosmologial Bounce' by S Gielen and N Turok is published in Physical Review Letters.

The Daily Galaxy via Imperial College London


With nothing more than the principle of Occam's Razor to support
my claim, it is my opinion that the universe is infinite. And that given
our present primitive state we have a limited ability to differentiate
between what is real and what is perceived.

When scientists currently refer to the “big bang”, and the beginning
of the existence of “everything” they should explain that they are
talking about just the limited universe that we see around us; our little
bubble. It is most likely that the TOTAL universe has always existed
and will continue to exist for an infinity of time. And that there are an
unending number of “universes”, all of which have had, and continue
to have their “big bang” moment too.

Our solar system, our Milky Way, our galaxy, our “universe” all exist
in an infinite soup of “universes”, just a mote, in time without end.

So, let’s stop talking about “the universe” and substitute “our local

How about it?

Charles Slavens, You write: "with nothing more than..." But remember: astronomy is a science. Ideas without science are more something like religion.

A couple of days ago I was reading either here, or on phys.org an article on some new paper that explains away all the questions of the universe by saying black holes, as in Einstein's theories, were invalid and that the universe existed before the big bang because singularities did not exist. They were a misinterpretation since laws break down at the event horizon. That is a huge claim and it didn't seem to be backed by the weight it needed.

But then the article about dark energy might be a swarm of black holes formed right after the big bang, now this one. Can someone tell me what's supported by evidence and what isn't? (im not a maths expert). People seem to be making a lot of claims without backing them. As a huge note though, even if it was the "Big bounce" instead of the "Big bang", it would answer some questions but - we already knew the universe existed outside the big bang yes? as energy? I have always accepted that time came after the universe - it isn't required per se (especially with multiverse theory). So I never really thought the universe (the Hubble Sphere) was "finite" in the first place which this study seems to imply that I thought.

I completely agree, Charles Slavens.

P.S. By the conformal symmetry, they are saying gravity is applied on the quantum scale since the forces haven't separated? Ugh such a watered down translation of whatever they were trying to say.

Charles Slavens, I completely agree.

The human condition dictates the requirement for finite definitions in all we encounter. We are limited to comprehension of a beginning, middle and end, not continuing cycles of transformation.

I have always felt that we humans are flawed by our mortal experience. It stands to reason that Quantum Theorum incorporates the human limitations on what is possible. Math is certainly a universal language, but what if we got it wrong?

Thinking outside the box is good.

The infinite amount of matter in an infinite universe would be a lot of stuff.

Too much, really.

Personally, I like the idea of "broken physics". The laws of physics as we know them in this little corner of the universe - or universe soup - are so limiting! We will never, ever, ever know what's going on across the proverbial street if these laws are immutable. (Old scofflaw from way back.)

Charles Slavens, thank you for your comment, I fully agree. Long time ago, I wrote similar things on my Facebook account.
Some elements I treated there :
- Mathematics of infinity don't need to be proven, they are real, so let's apply them
- Darwin's science of evolution can be reduced to some system mathematics, which are universally applicable, so also at cosmological scale
- Let's not forget information as basic building block, next to mass and energy, as is DNA in biology
- There is no God

An infinite universe has several uncomfortable outcomes, the primary one being that anything that is possible will definitely happen...an infinite number of times. I think saying that humans struggle with the concept of infinity is correct and therefore coming to the conclusion that the universe is infinite is premature considering that almost all (if not all of us) will have no concept of what that means.

I believe that really it is just a matter of scale. We view stars and galaxy's and galaxy clusters as extremely large objects in the same way that a bacterium would view grapes and fruit salads as extremely large scales. The earth to a bacterium is practically infinite and I think the universe appears that way to us.

In general though I think the idea that our universe is all there is and space and time all started at the big bang has now been largely discarded.

If you take time out of the equation then physics has no problem indeed us without thinking in terms of beginning middle and end.
In the idea of the multiverse instead of our lives branching off at every event perhaps it is ine at a time in every cycle of the big crunch!



If you take time out of the equation then physics has no problem, indeed us, without having to think
in terms of beginning middle and end.
In the idea of the multiverse instead of our lives branching off at every event, perhaps it is one event at a time in every cycle of the big crunch!

Folks, remarkably Buddha explains this phenomena very clearly long time ago, he talks about about a universe which expands and contracts without a beginning.

‘There comes a time, Vasetha, when, sooner or later after a long period this world contracts. At a time of contraction, beings are mostly born in the Abhasara Brahma world. And there they dwell, mind-made, feeding on delight, self luminous, moving through the air, glorious—and they stay like that for a very long time. But sooner or later, after a very long period, this world begins to expand again. At a time of expansion, the beings from the Abhasara Brahma world, having passed away from there, are mostly reborn in this world. Here they dwell, mind-made, feeding on delight, self-luminous, moving through the air, glorious— and they stay like that for a very long time.

At that period, Vasetha, there was just one mass of water, and all was darkness, blinding darkness. Neither moon nor sun appeared, no constellations or stars appeared, night and day were not yet distinguished, nor months and fortnights, nor years and seasons; there was no male and female, beings being reckoned just as beings. And sooner or later, after a very long period of time, savory earth spread itself over the waters where those beings were. It looked just like the skin that forms itself over hot milk as it cools. It was endowed with color, smell, and taste. It was the color of fine ghee or butter and it was very sweet, like pure wild honey.[10]

Because the Buddha seems to present a model of cosmology wherein the universe expands and contracts over extremely long periods of time, this description has been found by some to be consistent with the expanding universe model and Big Bang

This is the source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhism_and_evolution

Might be interested to know this as well


@Charles Slavens We already know that relativity breaks down at the "big bang", and it's been acknowledged that GR/SR is incomplete, just like any theory - and even GR and QM still yet can't explain "everything", even dispite what this paper would have you believe. I thought it was a common belief that there was something that existed without time. So now instead of an infinite multiverse "foam", that holds multiple bubbles of universes, our own bubble is actually a never ending timeline. Everyone is acting surprised? Multiverses already had us covered on the infinite big inflation / contraction (big bounce) that never ends. This version of infinite energy is more exciting?

@Dale Clark True it's been suggested that our own universe may not represent the laws of another universe, or outside when time existed, etc. But we will never be able to know anything other than our own little corner.

During the time without the time constraint you have no limits on anything else... perhaps even our own universe is infinite in mass and distance outside the hubble sphere?

@Eddy Michiels Tell me how a hypercube can exist then using "Mathematics of infinity" since they can't exist in Minkowski spacetime, you know gravity takes place since "they are real". Unless you have a complementing theory to bring forward, the kind of math you describe isn't always "real".

And can you show me how Darwin's theories apply on the cosmological scale? Mathematically as you say? you're being very cryptic. But then again most of the folks on here seem to like to believe every simulation or math proof as valid even though they can't understand any of it, and then be cryptic and create further confusion in the comments. I want to see the math professors here post their math.

Let's see if this new direction holds out in a few years as we gather more evidence. It takes more than one mathematical model by one person to back this kind of stuff up.

**EDIT: you know where gravity takes place IN

The point for many "scientists" is to claim something, to exist in the community for 5 minutes, till next claim. What we for sure know, we know nothing about practically everything we see and experience. We have a super limited knowledge, based on our point in space and time.
Such big claims are a nonsense, not science. I want people to present ideas, but don't claim
that something happened, when there is no way to figure out if it is true or false.

If there are infinite outcomes of infinite universes then there must be one in which something was made which destroyed all universes and thus we wouldnt be here to describe it.

Turok, eh? Sounds Vulcan.

How much matter would be created by an infinitely large black hole that successfully tears apart an infinitesimally small energy, like say f'rinstance....oh I don't know maybe say, consciousness?

The Universe is extremely large but not infinite. The maximum size would be the speed of light multiplied by age of the universe, and it grows. What is behind the edge one can just speculate

HAris, you are right about the universe not being infinite, but wrong about the maximum size.

The speed of light governs the rate at which light can propagate through space, it does not limit the rate at which space itself can grow. Space is thought to have grown far faster than the speed of light shortly after the big bang, so the universe now is several times large than the speed of light multiplied by its age.

One thing that has always puzzled me - as I understand it, the net energy of the universe is zero, since it is a closed system. But if that is the case, surely the universe should disappear to nothing following a big crunch, not end up as a large black hole, which would seem to contain the energy of several billion suns.

Recycled news.

Well if the universe is a hologram all of this is null and void anyway. We might be existing in a dimension to which laws of physics as we know them apply, but outside of that dimension there are different or no laws, because matter as we know it does not exist or exists in a different state.

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