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tgan3
12-05-2006, 08:05 PM
I know about the big bang which gives birth to the universe, but what causes it?And i heard that before the big bang there is gravitational singularity which causes matter to have infinite density and zero volume.In other words, a black hole.If there is so, who or what created that black hole when you need a star to have a black hole isn't it?Keep in mind that the universe was not even borned, so how did you have a star?To cut it short, you will need a something to create that gravitational singularity and there will be SOMETHING which creates the something to create the gravitational singularity...You'll get the drift... so how do you do it when space time does not exists?Therefore i think that the world we live in is a paradox and i always use this example when people talks about ghosts,aliens and any paranormal activities to be illogical.The world we live in is already ILLOGICAL....

Shagnasty
12-05-2006, 08:18 PM
No one knows and by that I mean absolutely no one. In fact, most theoretical physicists say we can't ever know since our everything we can know is locked inside this universe and the process that created it would not be a part of that. There is some conjecture but it is just that at the moment. You might want to pick up A Brief History of Time by Steven Hawking even though it is getting older. It is a good read on this type of thing although it won't give you the final answers.

The fact that physics and existence itself is extremely strange always reassures me that there are very fundamental things man does not know about the universe and may never know and that keeps things interesting. However, it isn't logical to use that to support "ghosts, aliens and any paranormal activities". One does not follow the other. Theoretical physics is plenty weird and cool enough if you read about it from some of the rare geniuses that can make it accessible to curious people like Steven Hawking and Carl Sagan can.

robardin
12-05-2006, 08:23 PM
Nitpick: the Universe was not "borned", it was "bornded".

And what happens before anything gets bornded, is that something first gets f*cked. Which when it comes to the nature of the Universe, should explain rather a lot.

Kimstu
12-05-2006, 08:30 PM
To cut it short, you will need a something to create that gravitational singularity and there will be SOMETHING which creates the something to create the gravitational singularity...You'll get the drift... so how do you do it when space time does not exists?Therefore i think that the world we live in is a paradox and i always use this example when people talks about ghosts,aliens and any paranormal activities to be illogical.The world we live in is already ILLOGICAL....

It's certainly true that the concept of a gravitational singularity existing outside of spacetime as we know it is paradoxical or illogical by the standards of that spacetime itself. In other words, it is indeed illogical to talk about something existing "before" the beginning of time itself, when there is no "before", and no "when" either.

But all that means is that our understanding of temporal causality, spacetime, and so forth only applies to the post-Big-Bang universe. There may be a logical way to conceptualize the event(s) that caused the Big Bang, but as Shagnasty says, we don't have access to it yet, if we ever will.

So the "pre-Big-Bang paradox" isn't adequate as an explanation or defense of unproven phenomena like ghosts and aliens, which allegedly exist within our own post-Big-Bang universe where standard, consistent, "logical" models of spacetime do apply. (Mostly.)

Smitty
12-05-2006, 08:33 PM
There is no "before". All dimensions, including time, came into existence when the Big Bang occurred. Without time itself, there can be no "before" or "after", and no "cause" and "effect". The question itself is meaningless.

Shagnasty
12-05-2006, 08:38 PM
There is no "before". All dimensions, including time, came into existence when the Big Bang occurred. Without time itself, there can be no "before" or "after", and no "cause" and "effect". The question itself is meaningless.

It may be "meaningless" if you focus on the word "before" but of course the spirit of the question is endlessly fascinating and one that theoretical physicists like to ponder and butt their heads against. "Why does the universe exist?" or some variation of the question may be more correct but lots of people make wording mistakes when they ask about this stuff.

CookingWithGas
12-05-2006, 09:32 PM
. . .gravitational singularity which causes matter to have infinite density and zero volume.In other words, a black hole.I just clocked it to say that a black hole is not a true singularity, not infinitely dense nor zero volume. Just really dense and really small. It is distinctly different than what the universe was at t0.

Khampelf
12-05-2006, 09:38 PM
I just clocked it to say that a black hole is not a true singularity, not infinitely dense nor zero volume. Just really dense and really small. It is distinctly different than what the universe was at t0.

Aw, C'mon, I wanna get bornded from a black hole!

cmyk
12-05-2006, 09:39 PM
There is no "before". All dimensions, including time, came into existence when the Big Bang occurred. Without time itself, there can be no "before" or "after", and no "cause" and "effect". The question itself is meaningless.

I've always found this view overly dismissive and boring. As Shagnasty pointed out, it may be meaningless within our concept of the universe as we understand it, but to ponder what brought the universe into existence is, I feel, the penultimate mystery to ponder. It's a singularity where science, philosophy, and "faith" meet. The only thing that keeps me awake at night is: Why does ANYTHING have to exist at all? The one question I don't believe science, philosophy or "faith" will ever be able to answer.

Exapno Mapcase
12-05-2006, 09:46 PM
Here's a page with some simple descriptions of the current candidates for theories of universe creation. They'll give you some terms to search on.

http://web.uvic.ca/~jtwong/newtheories.htm

There are many others. It's common to say that nobody knows, and technically speaking it may be true, but many scientists have developed hypotheses with sound theoretical backing for creating a universe. We may not yet know which, if any, apply to us, but it's no longer mere metaphysics to talk about universe creation.

Chez Guevara
12-05-2006, 10:03 PM
The Bouncing Universe theory on the linked page argues that the universe came into being with a bug bang.

While it is easy to jest about a spelling mistake, there is something resonant about the Bug Bang idea. It would explain a lot to me if someone could prove that the universe was formed as a result of a software malfunction in somebody's computer system.

I wonder if the error has been fixed yet.

Chronos
12-05-2006, 10:50 PM
I just clocked it to say that a black hole is not a true singularity, not infinitely dense nor zero volume. Just really dense and really small. It is distinctly different than what the universe was at t0.A black hole is more than just a singularity, but (according to all present theories of physics) it does contain a true singularity at its heart. Now, we don't yet have a theory of quantum gravity, and it's widely suspected that once we do, it'll tell us that that isn't a true singularity after all. But it might well also tell us that the Big Bang wasn't a true singularity, either.
There are many others. It's common to say that nobody knows, and technically speaking it may be true, but many scientists have developed hypotheses with sound theoretical backing for creating a universe. We may not yet know which, if any, apply to us, but it's no longer mere metaphysics to talk about universe creation."Ideas", perhaps, but I don't think you can even say they're hypotheses. A hypothesis needs to be, at least in principle, testable, and ideas about the causes of universes inherently are not.

Princhester
12-05-2006, 11:25 PM
The Bouncing Universe theory on the linked page argues that the universe came into being with a bug bang.

While it is easy to jest about a spelling mistake, there is something resonant about the Bug Bang idea. It would explain a lot to me if someone could prove that the universe was formed as a result of a software malfunction in somebody's computer system.

I wonder if the error has been fixed yet.

No frickin' way. Look around you. Does it seem fixed to you?

DrCube
12-05-2006, 11:50 PM
... to ponder what brought the universe into existence is, I feel, the penultimate mystery to ponder.
I hate myself for picking apart other people's posts, but this just wasn't what I was expecting, and it threw me for a loop. What, I wonder, do you feel is the ultimate mystery to ponder?

Chez Guevara
12-06-2006, 02:02 AM
No frickin' way. Look around you. Does it seem fixed to you?Did you really think I would expect a computer problem to be fixed in only 14 billion years?

cmyk
12-06-2006, 07:49 AM
I hate myself for picking apart other people's posts, but this just wasn't what I was expecting, and it threw me for a loop. What, I wonder, do you feel is the ultimate mystery to ponder?

The meaning of life, of course ;)

Unless you're happy with 42.

Lissa
12-06-2006, 09:44 AM
There is no "before". All dimensions, including time, came into existence when the Big Bang occurred. Without time itself, there can be no "before" or "after", and no "cause" and "effect". The question itself is meaningless.


I don't understand this, just like I don't understand the concept that the universe might be finite. As matter is neither created nor destroyed, everything had to be somewhere before the Big Bang. I know that time is a man-made construct, but I can't understand the concept of there being nothing before the BB.

Exapno Mapcase
12-06-2006, 10:14 AM
It's not that matter is neither created nor destroyed but mass-energy that can neither be created nor destroyed. And even that law is qualified by the unspoken phrase "within our universe."

The various universe theories either postulate the energy for the creation of our universe coming from another universe or from a potential energy source. The latter is usually referred as "zero-point energy" and comes from the quantum residual that always exists because true quantum nothingness is not possible. A random fluctuation in this energy could have created our universe out of "nothingness." Is this the same as philosophical "nothingness?" That's a matter of definition. Me, I don't believe in philosophical "nothingness." :)

cmyk
12-06-2006, 10:33 AM
All the hypotheses' aside as to the origin of our universe, the thing that really grabs my nads is these might explain where our universe came from, but it doesn't (nor do I think we can ever) answer why something exists, instead of always nothing. To take it one step further, outside of the context of a universe, can even nothing truly be said to exist? Nothing is only nothing in context of the absence of something (yikes*)... so if the universe never existed. Well. That's not even nothing... it's DEEPER than that. Something I can't even find word for.

*I realize I'm treading into some dangerous semmantic water here, and I might even be setting myself up for some scrutiny that I can't defend myself. But it's still fascinating to think about.

cmyk
12-06-2006, 10:39 AM
**I also realize my last post was riddled full of typos and grammatical errors. ;)

chowder
12-06-2006, 10:42 AM
The Bouncing Universe theory on the linked page argues that the universe came into being with a bug bang.

While it is easy to jest about a spelling mistake, there is something resonant about the Bug Bang idea. It would explain a lot to me if someone could prove that the universe was formed as a result of a software malfunction in somebody's computer system.

I wonder if the error has been fixed yet.

Nope, not fixed as yet.

When it is there'll be another bloody big bang

CurtC
12-06-2006, 10:55 AM
I don't understand this, just like I don't understand the concept that the universe might be finite. As matter is neither created nor destroyed, everything had to be somewhere before the Big Bang. I know that time is a man-made construct, but I can't understand the concept of there being nothing before the BB.A couple of comments here. First, time is not a man-made construct. It seems to be an inherent property of the universe. Very closely tied to the idea of space...

Second, space itself was created at the BB, according to the prominent idea. Your comments make it sound like you envision a pre-existing space that the BB happened within, but that's not it.

Roboto
12-06-2006, 12:02 PM
Before the big bang, it was just god hanging around in his bedroom, bored off his ass. Then he got a really cool idea . . .

CurtC
12-06-2006, 12:16 PM
Before the big bang, it was just god hanging around in his bedroom, bored off his ass. Then he got a really cool idea . . .What took him so long? Presumably, he waited an infinite amount of time before starting.

Señor Piña
12-06-2006, 12:54 PM
A couple of comments here. First, time is not a man-made construct. It seems to be an inherent property of the universe. Very closely tied to the idea of space...

Second, space itself was created at the BB, according to the prominent idea. Your comments make it sound like you envision a pre-existing space that the BB happened within, but that's not it.Time isn't a man made construct but our perception of it is... that's not to say that we get to choose how we perceive linear time for the most part, but it's part of our physiology.

It's thought that prior to the Big Bang all that existed was a single point within which there was no time, and there will again be no time after our universe ends.

Anne Neville
12-06-2006, 01:08 PM
I don't understand this, just like I don't understand the concept that the universe might be finite. As matter is neither created nor destroyed, everything had to be somewhere before the Big Bang.

But the Big Bang was a singularity. The thing about singularities is that the laws of physics as we understand them, including the one that says "matter is neither created nor destroyed", break down at them. It's weird and philosophically unappealing to a lot of physicists and cosmologists, but we seem to be stuck with a universe that has singularities in it.

Q.E.D.
12-06-2006, 01:34 PM
The meaning of life, of course ;)
Oh, that's an easy one: There isn't any.

Off-topic, but am I the only one who thought the OP meant "What happens before the universe is boned?" (which is a much more interesting question, I think :D)

dropzone
12-06-2006, 01:42 PM
The meaning of life, of course ;)

Unless you're happy with 42.I am not. I refer you to that other Great Philosopher of the 20th Century, Mr Natural (http://philebus.tamu.edu/pipermail/scl/attachments/20030116/d2f87a6b/natural.jpg), who, when asked what it all means, replied, "Don't mean shit."

Words to live by.

Chronos
12-06-2006, 02:15 PM
What took him so long? Presumably, he waited an infinite amount of time before starting.This question is an old one, and so far as I know, it was St. Augustine who first came up with the answer (held to by physicists today) that time is a part of the Universe, and therefore did not precede the Universe.

This can be a difficult concept for people to grasp. We're so used to time, that many people, when they encounter the idea that time had a beginning, immediately postulate some sort of "meta-time", which retains all of the same problems as time. Nope, 'twasn't that, neither.

BrainGlutton
12-06-2006, 02:21 PM
It's turtles, turtles, turtles -- all the way down!

KlondikeGeoff
12-06-2006, 02:22 PM
Before the big bang, it was just god hanging around in his bedroom, bored off his ass. Then he got a really cool idea . . .

It wasn't even that structured...God was cleaning the gunk out of his trouser cuffs, and one little pebble struck the ground, and viola...

Some years ago Sky & Telescope Magazine ran a contest to come up with a more apt name for the Big Bang. After receiving hundreds of suggestions, they finally concluded there was no better name. They listed a few of the entries, and my favorite was:

Bertha D. Universe.

Lemur866
12-06-2006, 02:24 PM
This can be a difficult concept for people to grasp. We're so used to time, that many people, when they encounter the idea that time had a beginning, immediately postulate some sort of "meta-time", which retains all of the same problems as time. Nope, 'twasn't that, neither.
I guess this means my "meta-meta-time" postulate still stands then. After all it's one meta louder.

Corner Case
12-06-2006, 02:49 PM
Off-topic, but am I the only one who thought the OP meant "What happens before the universe is boned?" (which is a much more interesting question, I think )I thought it was "What happens before the universe is bored?" which leads to "boned" which leads to "born".

Aw, C'mon, I wanna get bornded from a black hole!If you were of African-American woman non-cesarian born then...

But more seriously... Before the Big Bang it seems that "nothing" couldn't exist. If nothing existed then there would be nothing out of which to create something. Something needed to exist because nothing couldn't.

Considering the creation of particles at the quantum level from 'nothing', I vaguely remember Chronos or Q.E.D. reminding posters in another thread that a zero-potential energy field is still a field (I hope I stated that correctly). This suggests that something can form from nothing because the field changes. What changes the field? I don't know.

It strikes me that at the lowest level that perhaps the universe is made up of fields of energy interacting. Some are non-zero, other fields are zero and appear to be "empty" space. There could be truly no "empty" space because - with no fields acting in an area then that area is effectively not part of the universe. Are there theories that point to this idea or discredit it?

Lissa
12-06-2006, 04:04 PM
A couple of comments here. First, time is not a man-made construct. It seems to be an inherent property of the universe. Very closely tied to the idea of space...

Please explain further. Of course things age-- a star has a "lifespan" which ends when its fuel is exhausted-- but is that what you meant?

Second, space itself was created at the BB, according to the prominent idea. Your comments make it sound like you envision a pre-existing space that the BB happened within, but that's not it.

See-- that's the part I can't understand. I can't wrap my mind around nothingness. It's easy for me to invision that all of the stars, planets and other celestrial bodies were created during the Big Bang, but space itself? My puny mind insists that space had to be there.

Balthisar
12-06-2006, 04:13 PM
At that point, you've got to be religious or philosophical because according to current science there was no before. Just wasn't, plain and simple. No meta-time. Nothing like that. And that's as far back as our science in this universe can go.

But... what's to say our universe is the only universe? If you were inside of a black hole (well, not in the singularity), I imagine that'd be your entire universe as far as any science could ever detect. Obviously your universe started in ours, but you'll never know that, and can't. Well, unless your soul is evaporated from that black hole and ends up born again in our universe. But then you've got to start all over.

Every once in a while I come across fairly decent articles about our universe just being a simulation, which is also something you'd never notice. So maybe before the universe existed, our processing bandwidth was reserved for looking at porn on a higher plane.

cmyk
12-06-2006, 05:29 PM
Oh, that's an easy one: There isn't any.

Yeh. I realize that.

Even though I was half-joking... if you really give it some thought, the fact that the universe exists at all is one thing. The fact that it just so happened to be configured in such a way that it made it possible for life to arise AND that it is able to form an appreciation of itself and it's insignificant place within the very universe that spawned it is another thing entirely. It will never cease to blow me away. Even more so than the fact the universe exists at all.

Princhester
12-06-2006, 05:50 PM
Before the big bang, it was just god hanging around in his bedroom, bored off his ass. Then he got a really cool idea . . .

Where was his bedroom?

cmyk
12-06-2006, 06:00 PM
Where was his bedroom?

Upstairs. He was still living with his parents at the time.

Princhester
12-06-2006, 06:54 PM
Where was the house?

Princhester
12-06-2006, 06:55 PM
Look, sorry, this is GQ, I shouldn't be playing this game here. I'll stop.

robardin
12-06-2006, 07:41 PM
if you really give it some thought, the fact that the universe exists at all is one thing. The fact that it just so happened to be configured in such a way that it made it possible for life to arise AND that it is able to form an appreciation of itself and it's insignificant place within the very universe that spawned it is another thing entirely. It will never cease to blow me away. Even more so than the fact the universe exists at all.
But if the history of the Universe hadn't happened in pretty much just that way, you wouldn't be around to be blown away by the fact that it is possible for you to exist in this form... So that's really a circular tautology, isn't it?

Or as Terry Pratchett summarizes in a lengthy footnote in his book Hogfather:

Many people are aware of the Weak and Strong Anthropic Principles. The Weak One says, basically, that it was jolly amazing of the universe to be constructed in such a way that humans could evolve to a point where they make a living in, for example, universities, while the Strong One says that, on the contrary, the whole point of the universe was that humans should not only work in universities but also write for huge sums books with words like "Cosmic" and "Chaos" in the titles.

The UU Professor of Anthropics had developed the Special and Inevitable Anthropic Principle, which was that the entire reason for the existence of the universe was the eventual evolution of the UU Professor of Anthropics. But this was only a formal statement of the theory which absolutely everyone, with only some minor details of a "Fill in name here" nature, secretly believes to be true.


And think about this: all those Universes where no sentient life capable of pondering existential matters ever evolves, never get wondered about. And you know what some people say about trees that fall in unpopulated woods...

cmyk
12-06-2006, 07:59 PM
But if the history of the Universe hadn't happened in pretty much just that way, you wouldn't be around to be blown away by the fact that it is possible for you to exist in this form... So that's really a circular tautology, isn't it?

Or as Terry Pratchett summarizes in a lengthy footnote in his book Hogfather:


And think about this: all those Universes where no sentient life capable of pondering existential matters ever evolves, never get wondered about. And you know what some people say about trees that fall in unpopulated woods...

That's assuming there were infinite universes (or thereabouts) with different laws, matter and energy that evolved and somehow ended before arriving at this one, which so happened to have the right "mix". Who's to say this wasn't the first universe?

marshmallow
12-06-2006, 08:07 PM
These kinds of questions could go forever. "Well, y'see, these two branes collided in such a way that the resulting space is our universe..."

"Well, what happened before that? Where did these branes come from? Why are they moving around all crazy like?"

Etc.

cmyk
12-06-2006, 08:13 PM
These kinds of questions could go forever. "Well, y'see, these two branes collided in such a way that the resulting space is our universe..."

"Well, what happened before that? Where did these branes come from? Why are they moving around all crazy like?"

Etc.

That's exactly my point. And just how, exactly, is anyone supposed to get to the bottom of such a mystery?

It's most likely outside the realm of science.

Faith will just say "God made it". But then, whence God?

Philosophy will come up with a million different possibilities.

robardin
12-06-2006, 08:13 PM
That's assuming there were infinite universes (or thereabouts) with different laws, matter and energy that evolved and somehow ended before arriving at this one, which so happened to have the right "mix". Who's to say this wasn't the first universe?
And who says only one universe exists at a time?

cmyk
12-06-2006, 08:26 PM
And who says only one universe exists at a time?

I couldn't agree more. Who's to say we are but a bubble universe in a vast froth of universes. Perhaps all the universes allow for sentient life. Doesn't make it any less spectacular that we're here to witness it. Or, we could be the first and last universe, ever. No way to know really. Although deep down, we pine for that knowledge. We want answers dammit!

robardin
12-06-2006, 08:49 PM
Although deep down, we pine for that knowledge. We want answers dammit!
To paraphrase a Taoist maxim: You can't always get what you want. But if you try, sometimes you just might find you get what you need.

cmyk
12-06-2006, 10:24 PM
To paraphrase a Taoist maxim: You can't always get what you want. But if you try, sometimes you just might find you get what you need.

I kinda like that. Someone should set that to a catchy tune. :D

Slypork
12-07-2006, 10:38 AM
OK, let me see if I understand this. Please help me if I am way oversimplifying things or if I am totally off my rocker.

The “known universe” came into existence as a result of the Big Bang ™. Prior to BB everything is compressed into a single point of energy that had a potentiality to develop into everything: stars, planets, slugs and used car salesmen.
We have one theory that our BB starting point (BBprime) had always been there because time as we understand it cannot exist outside of it. Another theory says that BBprime resulted after a prior “universe” (BBprime-1) underwent a Big Crunch ™ that made our singularity and so on in and endless cycle. Still another says that BBprime came from another “universe” pinching off a portion of itself (Big Dump ™) which eventually yada, yada, yada…And, of course, there is the whole, “God said, ‘Let there be light!’” routine.

That still doesn’t explain a few things:
1. No matter where the singularity came from, it still had to come from somewhere, right? I mean, it can’t just suddenly pop into existence out of nowhere with the built in coding that would allow it to follow a program that flows from ultimate chaos to Scarlett Johansson, can it? That would be like a bunch of building material just dropping from the sky and then forming into a mansion. This includes the “god” theories, too. God/Yahweh/Allah/FSM had to come from somewhere.
2. When BBprime happened, everything went flying out helter-skelter. There were items (quarks, muons, etc.) on the leading edge, accelerating outward. What was in front of them?
3. The idea that all these things exist within our known universe means that there is a boundary point, albeit an expanding one, and the universe is closed. If it is closed, then what is beyond the boundary?
4. How can chaotic expansion lead to ordered cohesion? If everything is zipping out from BBprime in countless random directions, what brought them back together in such a structured manner? Sure, we have gravity, electromagnetism, strong and weak nuclear forces. But everything is moving away from each other. What made them clump together to eventually make kiwis?
I know. These are cosmological/philosophical/theological/illogical questions. Nobody has all the answers and the answers we have lead to more questions. But can anybody help me understand this?

cmyk
12-07-2006, 11:08 AM
OK, let me see if I understand this. Please help me if I am way oversimplifying things or if I am totally off my rocker.

The “known universe” came into existence as a result of the Big Bang ™. Prior to BB everything is compressed into a single point of energy that had a potentiality to develop into everything: stars, planets, slugs and used car salesmen.
We have one theory that our BB starting point (BBprime) had always been there because time as we understand it cannot exist outside of it. Another theory says that BBprime resulted after a prior “universe” (BBprime-1) underwent a Big Crunch ™ that made our singularity and so on in and endless cycle. Still another says that BBprime came from another “universe” pinching off a portion of itself (Big Dump ™) which eventually yada, yada, yada…And, of course, there is the whole, “God said, ‘Let there be light!’” routine.

That still doesn’t explain a few things:
1. No matter where the singularity came from, it still had to come from somewhere, right? I mean, it can’t just suddenly pop into existence out of nowhere with the built in coding that would allow it to follow a program that flows from ultimate chaos to Scarlett Johansson, can it? That would be like a bunch of building material just dropping from the sky and then forming into a mansion. This includes the “god” theories, too. God/Yahweh/Allah/FSM had to come from somewhere.
2. When BBprime happened, everything went flying out helter-skelter. There were items (quarks, muons, etc.) on the leading edge, accelerating outward. What was in front of them?
3. The idea that all these things exist within our known universe means that there is a boundary point, albeit an expanding one, and the universe is closed. If it is closed, then what is beyond the boundary?
4. How can chaotic expansion lead to ordered cohesion? If everything is zipping out from BBprime in countless random directions, what brought them back together in such a structured manner? Sure, we have gravity, electromagnetism, strong and weak nuclear forces. But everything is moving away from each other. What made them clump together to eventually make kiwis?
I know. These are cosmological/philosophical/theological/illogical questions. Nobody has all the answers and the answers we have lead to more questions. But can anybody help me understand this?

I think you have a pretty decent grip on it actually. Points 1-3 are what I would consider metaphysical. Probably outside the reach of science, which is a bummer. So your guess is as good as mine. ;)

Point 4 however, can probably be better answered by someone here like Chronos or Stranger on a Train. Guys?

Jake
12-07-2006, 11:45 AM
HEE! "The Big Dump". I like it. Hope it catches on with the astronomical folks. :D

Exapno Mapcase
12-07-2006, 11:48 AM
1. No matter where the singularity came from, it still had to come from somewhere, right?
Wrong.
I mean, it can’t just suddenly pop into existence out of nowhere with the built in coding that would allow it to follow a program that flows from ultimate chaos to Scarlett Johansson, can it?
Yes, it can. That's what a quantum fluctuation of zero-point energy is.

2. When BBprime happened, everything went flying out helter-skelter. There were items (quarks, muons, etc.) on the leading edge, accelerating outward. What was in front of them?
Nothing. Space formed as space expanded. Yes, this is probably the single hardest concept to grasp.

3. The idea that all these things exist within our known universe means that there is a boundary point, albeit an expanding one, and the universe is closed. If it is closed, then what is beyond the boundary?

Nothing. See #2.

4. How can chaotic expansion lead to ordered cohesion? If everything is zipping out from BBprime in countless random directions, what brought them back together in such a structured manner? Sure, we have gravity, electromagnetism, strong and weak nuclear forces. But everything is moving away from each other. What made them clump together to eventually make kiwis?

Gravity can explain all of this, and does so extremely well in computer models. Not every detail is understood, of course, and many questions remain. But nothing more than the simple application of gravity to moving mass is required to build galaxies.

For an excellent resource on the last point, and one that also touches on the earlier questions, try Atom: A Single Oxygen Atom's Journey from the Big Bang to Life on Earth...and Beyond, by Lawrence M. Krauss (http://www.amazon.com/Atom-Single-Oxygen-Journey-Earth/dp/0316183091/sr=8-1/qid=1165513547/ref=sr_1_1/102-0008264-1810515?ie=UTF8&s=books). It's very straightforward and explanatory.

Slypork
12-07-2006, 11:56 AM
HEE! "The Big Dump". I like it. Hope it catches on with the astronomical folks. :D
Thanks. :o
I remember reading an article (it was either in Discover or Scientific American) about the concept of a multiverse. A parent universe has a region of space that, for some reason, gets separated from the remainder of it’s cosmos (I think they described a massive gravitational collapse) and it would drop out of its known universe, budding outward and eventually separating completely. The graphics accompanying the article made it look like a great big bubble was pinching a loaf, thus shitting a new universe.
Considering the kind of crap we see every day, I think it is the most reasonable explanation.

Slypork
12-07-2006, 01:03 PM
Exapno Mapcase your answers to 2 and 3 seem circular. Space formed as space expanded might as well be “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” What is the space forming from? What is it expanding into? Expanding into nothing is meaningless. A zero is a placeholder denoting the lack of a certain quantifiable item (zero apples, zero airplanes, zero stars) but nothing doesn’t make sense in a cosmic situation. I can understand if it was expanding to fill a vacuum, which would be a region lacking in substance, including energy. But that presupposes that the region existed.

Your statement that That's what a quantum fluctuation of zero-point energy is. makes it sound like this is a fact. I’ve read articles about ZPE and, although they are fascinating and thought-provoking, they are theories and usually devolve into discussion about energy “free lunches” like perpetual motion devices. A “quantum fluctuation of zero-point energy” is theoretical, along with dark energy, dark matter, quantum strings and invisible pink unicorns.

Look, I don’t mean to sound snarky here but all we have are theories and questions. Every discovery, every high energy experiment gets us a step closer to understanding T0. But even if we get to the point that we know the exact structure of that primal point and know just what happened when it popped like a vast Cosmic pimple, spewing its primitive pus everywhere, we will never know what created the Zero Point Zit. Many people have said that our current physics falls apart at certain events, including the BB. How can we possibly guess as to what happened before there was a universe?

cmyk
12-07-2006, 01:15 PM
For an excellent resource on the last point, and one that also touches on the earlier questions, try Atom: A Single Oxygen Atom's Journey from the Big Bang to Life on Earth...and Beyond, by Lawrence M. Krauss (http://www.amazon.com/Atom-Single-Oxygen-Journey-Earth/dp/0316183091/sr=8-1/qid=1165513547/ref=sr_1_1/102-0008264-1810515?ie=UTF8&s=books). It's very straightforward and explanatory.

Hey, that sounds like an awesome book. Thanks for the heads up.

gonzomax
12-07-2006, 01:16 PM
Before the big bang time didn't exist. Time is woven into the space time continuum. If you go fast enough,theoretically time slows and will reverse. With no veolcity there was no time.

Balance
12-07-2006, 03:25 PM
That would be like a bunch of building material just dropping from the sky and then forming into a mansion.
As I understand it, this is not impossible, just indescribably unlikely. It would involve huge numbers of quarks suddenly haring off in opposite directions, and the resulting new hadrons assembling purely by chance into cement, lumber, sheetrock, and so forth. It doesn't really speak to your point, however, because the vast amounts of energy required to form that mass would have to come from somewhere. (Bear in mind that my grasp of particle physics is somewhat shaky, and I may have misinterpreted what I've read about confinement.)
2. When BBprime happened, everything went flying out helter-skelter. There were items (quarks, muons, etc.) on the leading edge, accelerating outward. What was in front of them?
It might help to think of this in a slightly different way. Rather than thinking of all those particles flying outward, try to think of the place where they were continuously becoming someplace new. Or that might just be more confusing....

bonzer
12-07-2006, 03:28 PM
I’ve read articles about ZPE and, although they are fascinating and thought-provoking, they are theories and usually devolve into discussion about energy “free lunches” like perpetual motion devices. A “quantum fluctuation of zero-point energy” is theoretical, along with dark energy, dark matter, quantum strings and invisible pink unicorns.

While it's undoubtedly true that the popular profile of zero-point fluctuations is overwhelmingly tied up with free energy hucksterism, that shouldn't obscure the fact that quantum fluctuations of the vacuum are a fundamental and entirely standard aspect of mainstream quantum field theory. Their incorporation in theories like chaotic inflation to explain how our universe could arise from "nothing" is entirely uncontroversial amongst the professionals, regardless of whether those same cosmologists individually do or do not find these theories convincing as an explanation for the origin of the universe.

They are no more or less theoretical than, say, quarks or gluons.

Exapno Mapcase
12-07-2006, 05:07 PM
Exapno Mapcase your answers to 2 and 3 seem circular. might as well be “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” What is the space forming from? What is it expanding into? Expanding into nothing is meaningless.
It may be meaningless to you, and probably is. That's probably true for most people. As I said it's a difficult concept to grasp.

However, just because it's a difficult concept does not make it untrue. You cannot dismiss everything that you don't understand. People who have studied the subject in enormous depth and detail have modeled this mathematically in a way that is agreed upon by practically everybody. The math does not translate well into ordinary English everyday "common sense" language, true. That's not the physicists' faults. If you or I don't get it without a complete understanding of the math, it's our problem to overcome. Saying that it's meaningless is a confession of failure on our parts, and not a, ahem, meaningful critique of physics.

bonzer has already responded to your other objection. Again, it's a matter of your not understanding the physics rather than a fault in the physics itself.

I recommend books in these threads because understanding in English of what these concepts mean is essentially impossible to come by in these paragraph-long posts. Even the first steps toward comprehension require entire books to build the edifice brick by brick, so to speak, to lift oneself from the basic elements of the theories to their deepest implications. (Can one lift oneself to the depths? We're already in trouble with the English. :) ) I'm partial to Brian Greene's excellent books, but other physicists including Michio Kaku, Kip Thorne and Lawrence Krauss have also written fine popular science for the layman. You need an actual working physicist to write the book. I haven't found any popular science writers who are capable of translating the math into English.

And that's the be-all and end-all of the problem. We're talking about the implications, effects, and manifestations of mathematical concepts that do not exist in our lives, have no physical analogs we can relate to, and make little sense without an extensive background in more basic, classical, physics just to begin to grasp. For the vast majority of people this will not look at all meaningful, because there is no good way to look at it with familiar eyes. Only with the help of a good guide can you glimpse what the current thinking suggests. Read a good book; in fact, read several to get a variety of perspectives, a variety of analogies, a variety of backgrounds, and a variety of emphases. It is work, to be sure. I find it rewarding but it's not to everybody's tastes.

But not meaningful? I don't think so.

Chronos
12-07-2006, 06:21 PM
Expanding into nothing is meaningless.Agreed. But the problem isn't with the "nothing", it's with the "into". Space isn't expanding into, it's just expanding.

One quickly reaches a point in these discussions where, if one isn't careful, one is asking meaningless questions. "What is space expanding into?" is no more meaningful a question than "popular And no people thinking work, But?". All of the words individually make sense, but when you put them together in that particular way, they don't.

Full Metal Lotus
12-07-2006, 07:18 PM
No one here seems to have mentione S Hawking's pithy remark "Asking what happened before the big bang is like asking what is north of the north pole."

Regards

FML

Larry Borgia
12-07-2006, 07:30 PM
Whatever happened to those theories Brian Greene used to discuss where the big bang was a collision between two branes drfting "apart" and banging into each other over trillion year intervals? It was in The Fabric of the Cosmos around page 410. Anything to that or was it just wild speculation?

Exapno Mapcase
12-07-2006, 10:36 PM
From what I've read, it was speculation. Wild or not, I don't know, but it isn't supported anymore.

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