The Big Bang and Faith

The universe and its contents are objects, and can be thought of in terms of instantiation, inheritance, and polymorphism.

I’m amazed no one is picking up on what Tretiak mentioned. One possibility I have heard bandied about for “What was ‘before’ the Big Bang” deals with multiple dimensions.

The math is FAR beyond me but it seems as if postulating our universe as working in 10 or 26 dimensions allows for some neat wrapping up of the unification of forces (i.e. a GUT). Trying to cram gravity in with the nuclear forces and what not in 4 dimensions just isn’t working but when done in 10 dimensions there is enough ‘room’ for everything to fit neatly (i.e. with one field equation you can derive Yang-Mills field equations and Einstein field equations and so on till you have everything…you can derive the physical universe from first principles).

So, what was ‘before’ the Big Bang? Clearly this is nowhere near proven but one theory holds that multi-dimensional space was unified. For some reason the three dimensions we live in with the fourth time-like dimension split off or cleaved away from the ‘higher’ dimensions which wrapped themselves into a Planck-length point (this ‘point’, while incredibly tiny, also manages to touch on every point in our universe…how’s that for a brain bender?). This shearing off from the other dimensions produced a staggering amount of energy and since energy is mass is energy you eventually get our present universe.

It is possible to conceive that the higher dimensions might unravel and ‘re-merge’ with our universe effectively destroying it (at least as we know it) and then at some point shear apart and start the whole crazy thing over again. While I remember reading about this particular possibility somewhere I think that this form of ‘destruction’ of the universe is a 100% WAG even on the physicist’s part as well…whoever mentioned it was merely speculating on possibilities.

For what it’s worth it is theoretically possible to test or probe for the higher dimensions but the energy required to do so is stupendous. IIRC it’d require a particle accelerator the size of the earth’s orbit around the sun.

I’m not saying that this is the definitive answer but it is a possible answer. Superstring theory seems to have a great deal of promise. Someone said (I don’t recall who) that Superstring Theory came about 50 years too soon. We have a theory but not the math to fully explore that theory. Usually it works the other way around.

Of course, that leaves the question of where the higher dimensions all came from (ad nauseum) but one thing at a time for now.

From watching “Buffy,” I would say that Faith has never had any trouble in achieving the ‘Big Bang.’
duck

OK, regarding the “Big Crunch” and whether this could produce a “Big Bang”…

I am neither a cosmologist nor a physicist, but like alot of other here, am at least vaguely familiar with the literature on the subject…

If I’m not mistaken, quantum theory allows for this to happen. Black holes actually emanate small amounts of energy (due to particular annilhation at the event horizon). Therefore, “big crunch” singularity could produce a “Big Bang”, although the possiblity of this occuring is almost infinitely small…

Also, I’d like to ask anyone who has knowledge about this… if the universe is, in fact, open and accelerating (as confirmed recently by numerous observations), then isn’t there a cap on the size of the universe because of Special Relativity? Nothing can go faster than light, so here must be a limit to the velocity of expansion relative to those outer reaches that are moving away from us approaching the speed of light. Do they continue to accelerate APPROACHING but never REACHING the speed of light? How long can this continue?

Dr. W

I agree, right now the evidence points to an open, ever expanding Universe, but that leads (IMHO) to a major paradox, which was the OP’s question, where did the matter/energy come from?

By saying it sprang into being with the Big Bang, you’ve just contradicted the 1st Law of thermodynamics. I’m not trying to put theory before facts, but this “law” has helped explain a LOT about how the Universe works and I’d not like to see it cast aside so easily.

Simply saying “God created it” doesn’t answer the question, it merely moves the answer away one degree. Who created God? Btw, when refering to God, take your pick, I don’t necessarily mean the J/X/I god. Even assuming that this god is eternal, that still leaves us with a being that has no physical proof of existence as creator of the Universe. I feel this involves too many paradoxes and leaves too many questions unanswered.

So, even tho it doesn’t fit all of the presently known facts, I think the arguement for a cyclical Universe is the better one.

Btw, I LOVE the discussion on black holes so far, it’s fascinating. One question, has anyone done research on super massive black holes? The type where their mass is a significant fraction of the total matter of the Universe. To quote my mother, you’re putting 5lbs of sausage in a 1lbs skin. At some point can matter simply not be compacted any farther. Or do I have the wrong idea about black holes.

Black holes are in a state of singularity. They do not occupy any space at all… therefore, regardless of how much mass they accumulate, they don’t “grow” or occupy more space. However, they’re gravity does increase… in fact a black hole’s gravitational attraction to other objects outside its event horizon follows the same classical Newtonian laws as govern the Sun and planets. So when a Red Giant over the Chandrasakar [sic] limit collapses on itself, it retains the same graviational “pull” (or exchanges the same number of gravitrons with the other objects in the universe for you quantum junkies) as it had before, although over a smaller distance. So if our universe does, in fact, continue with its present rate of expansion, don’t look to black holes to “bail us out” and close it with gravity. Gravity reaches out farther than all the other forces, but is far too weak to rectify an ever-accelerating universe, at least as far as we can tell.

Once again, I would like to direct everyone to my earlier post about expansion, and the limits posed by Special Relativity. How do you reconcile this with the open universe theory?

Dr. Watson wrote:

It’s elementary, Dr. Watson. [sorry, couldn’t help myself ;-)] The speed-of-light limit does not apply to the expansion of the universe.

I don’t have a deep scientific understanding of the subject, but I can quote from the sci.physics.relativity FAQ (available at http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/physics/relativity.html ):

Hope this helps resolve the issue!

AFAIK, even the supermassive black holes are not anywhere near a significant fraction of the total mass of the universe…
The supermassive black holes are found in the centers of large galaxies.

I agree with JasonFin, the speed-of-light limit applies to things moving THROUGH space, not to the expansion of space itself. Right after the Big Bang, it is thought that there was a rapid inflationary period where space expanded faster than the speed of light.

You may be right. But overall, I think Physics has not yet understood Quantum Gravity in order to understand singularities.

Infinity is only an idea. It should not be real. The singularity has always bothered me. How can infinite density exist? If the singularity was 1 mm in diameter, then maybe it would be believable, because then the density would be incredibly high, but at least finite.

Everything physical has bounds. There is no evidence to the contrary.

Look at the dumbass theory of gravity. The force is supposed to be infinite. Since the universe is bounded, and gravity pervades only in the universe, gravity must also be bounded, and not infinite.

Perhaps infinity is just another conception of “God”?

Granted, singularities are not well understood by physics, but the current mathematics points to the density approaching infinity. Perhaps you could limit your attention to the Plank Length, for which anything smaller loses meaning.

There is no evidence that the universe has bounds in space, only in time (a starting point).

Phobos wrote:

AFAIK, even the supermassive black holes are not anywhere near a significant fraction of the total mass of the
universe…