The Big B-?

Big Bang or Big Bounce?

Image Courtesy NASA
Most of us don't worry about things that occurred billions if years before we were a twinkle in our sun's eye, but for cosmologists this has been a hotly contested debate for years. Its answer will affect our understanding of how the universe works, and ultimately how we go about interacting with it.

According to a daily galaxy article I read, Loop Quantum Gravity (LQG) seems to offer the greatest promise for solving the mathematical issues involved in having the entire universe crunched up into a single point. (Classical physics breaks down under such extreme conditions).

LQG is the theory that gravity is made of interacting fields forming something called the quantum foam (read that as the turbulent interactions forming the underlying fabric of space-time). LQG indicates that the universe is locked into a never ending cycle of expansions and crunches.  There is a growing support for this theory because it can explain the mathematics of the moment before the big bang.

But wait! This is not the end of the story. There were a few things I felt were missing from my other reading.

The article failed to address the phenomena of Dark Energy, the mysterious force that physicists believe started pushing the universe apart at a rate faster than what could be accounted for by the Big Bang alone. In fact, universe expansion is accelerating even today. This has been observed and confirmed many times over, and is not consistent with a big crunch theory.

Although the Big Bang's existence has been supported by multiple observed phenomena, the moments preceding and just after the event are so strange that they represent a vast frontier in the field of cosmology. We live in a time now where our technology is just starting to be able to investigate these questions. The recent discovery of a Higgs-boson like particle has opened a whole new vector from which we can attack these problems.

Whichever theory ultimately triumphs will be a question of time and technology.

Photo Courtesy NASA


  1. I'd never heard of Loop Quantum Gravity before - I find it strange how discoveries these days sound/are so beyond our range of experience that they seem to be taken from episodes of Star Trek.
    I think the number of different theories out there proves only one thing: we don't really have a clue!
    Still, it's fun (and mind-blowing) trying to work it out.

    1. I suppose it depends on one's point of view. I've read about LQG years ago, but then I read string theory books for fun. I hold a lot of hope with the recent discovery of the Higgs-Boson like particle at CERN.

      I feel like we live in a very exciting time, where our technological abilities are finally catching up to our mathematical predictions! I have great confidence that within the next decade or two, we will know the answer (maybe sooner).


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