Before the Big Bang?

by Fraser Cain on July 2, 2007

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Illustration of an oscillating and then inflating universe in phase space. Source: (Nature 436 (2005) 920-921)The scientific consensus is that the Universe is expanding, having gotten its start in a single point 13.7 billion years ago. There are several lines of evidence to support this theory: the movement of galaxies away from us, the cosmic microwave background radiation, and the quantities of hydrogen and helium in the Universe.

But what came before the Big Bang? Since all matter and energy was tangled up into a single point of infinite volume and density, it’s hard to imagine how you could look to a time before that.

Cosmologist Martin Bojowald and others from Penn State University thinks it’s possible. His ideas are published in a new paper as part of the July 1st edition of the journal Nature Physics.

According to Bojowald, a mathematical technique called Loop Quantum Gravity, which combines relativity and quantum mechanics, gives a different view of the early Universe. Instead of being infinitely small and dense, it was compacted down into a ball of some volume and density.

The researchers believes that a previous Universe collapsed down to a tiny ball, and then had a Big Bounce to expand again. The previous Universe was very similar to the space-time geometry we have in our current Universe.

I’d try and explain this better, but Phil beat me to the punch and did a great article about it.

Original Source : Penn State University

About 

Fraser Cain is the publisher of Universe Today. He's also the co-host of Astronomy Cast with Dr. Pamela Gay.

Tony December 25, 2007 at 5:28 PM

That ball of condenced matter, does or did it contain a code or information? Reasons being is lots of material we in earlier times could not understand now,our sciences are reading genic codes and moluculer and atomic structures. I am Wondering is this former existing condenced matter compacted into a single point or ball comparible to cell matter like seeds and trees?, because one little seedling of condenced matter and information can produced a uniformed unlimited source of matter forever with unlimited space and a never ending source of food and fuel from nothing more than a tiny little cell or cells replicating into reproductive matter like seedlings. Well ,it is a question I am not close to imformation on. Thanks and Thank You

Tony January 1, 2008 at 5:40 PM

Being you are unable to answer my question you are probably not certain there was ever a Big Bang. Maybe there was the Great Dough effect where space is always rising and falling… or maybe light is inter- weaven with dark matter and therefore creating energy it thrust mass into space. Hmmm. O’ well I guess we will be waiting a while for the right information, although I do’nt think we can ever be confident that prototypes of Carl Sagan and Einstien are ever really going to assist our pursuit in acqiring such importantant information for reasons they can just repeat information and re-reason current information. – I do’nt know about you but I do not trust anyone running for the office of the president. villians-each and every one of them.

Tony January 6, 2008 at 7:00 AM

I figure I keep eating matter and lots of matter, and everwhere I look, I see more and more matter accumilating,like where I live we have wooden decks and they keep accumilating thousands and thousands of more pounds of matter every year and oil, the same as the fossil fuels, tons and tons of corn oils, safflower oils,olive oils and every plant and animal oil under the sun comming into matter and then returning to the earth again as fossil fuel,then that absent matter is replaced by new matter called forestry and that invisible matter never really cease it just keeps comming,and comming .Now I figure all this matter is basicially Atoms I am supposing, and there had to be something in the beginning called free atoms, now these free atoms had to have some sort of atomic glue to cause atomic structure to exist something to keep these free atoms from just forever unbinding. I figure everthing we are ,everything we see is a product of the big bang except reality itself is a mispreception and and matter itself is lightly superficial that the mystery of matter itself the atoms and atomic glue is really coexisting in some sort of time bend one that brings and allows consciousness bending backward and foreward again as a distortion. This distortion explains why we exist.

Rue January 9, 2008 at 6:52 PM

I really enjoy you website, Thank You. Maybe it is dangerous teaching the religious people of the world science. Maybe we should conceal science information and let God tell them about the building blocks of life. Being he is so great it should’nt be a problem. You know, them and God can get togeather and chat about it. Ha!

Rue January 13, 2008 at 6:35 PM

There are only 2% in the United States that actually believe in evolution to be reality. Evolutionist are Devils come to decieve the World. I say, never serve Christianity to its own personial benefit. If God ca’nt explain it to Christians then why should science serve them. Science is wonderful, and to all the wrong people. I have heard of people who have intentionially failed college for reasons of not completing science. If they cannot face reality, why should they become prosperious? These people are really bad for our health. They really believe God was born in Isreal. This shows they are unstable and can not deal with real situations. So why should the ever succeed in education, Does not this cater to sickness?

N Stone January 21, 2008 at 9:42 PM

This might sound unscientific but since nobody can figure out what the universe came from, or rather, what the singularity that made the big bang came from; or when it was created. I plead to anybody that might have an idea such as: “life is a simulation”, or, “this universe is made up of super-small universes crammed together and this universe and many others crammed inside an other universe.” Remember though that these theories are out of th question because if these were true than where would they start out?– kind of like, where did god come from.

Please, any Ideas?
I cant think of anything

Rue January 25, 2008 at 5:22 AM

N Stone, You might like to check out http://www.motodom.com universe, you have to enject the universe after .com. This web site is a must in scientific adventure. Really cool

Jim Long February 24, 2008 at 4:45 PM

I appreciate your essay. Unlike another essay (from the U.K. by a Mr. Davies) which I just read elsewhere on the Internet, it doesn’t come across as condescending. And, in fact, you offer an explanation that isn’t formidable for the grasping: a prior universe! I wonder, though, if the universe (i.e. whatever it is we’re in) is as incomprehensible to our minds – evolved as they are from “life” which came about in tidal pools as New York City is to a cockroach – my favorite insect for ITS apparent curiosity.

Michael April 3, 2008 at 2:30 AM

That is a stupid qustion indeed! There was no “before the the big bang”. When the Universe was born TIME, space and matter was born. So time was born with the big bang, so it is virtually imposible to speak of a time before the big bang. Not even Einstein or Shakespear could explain this in simple english but the combination of both could be useful!

Chuck Lam June 21, 2008 at 6:06 AM

Let’s not forget Occums razor. Why couldn’t a boundless void with some form of energy have always existed before the “big bang?” If so, there logically had to be prebang energy, including our concept of time, rather than matter Energy equals matter. Matter equals energy. Just maybe there wasn’t a bursting forthof “big bang” matter. But rather an unknown rate of prebang energy morphing into the visible matter we see today which might include today’s mysterious dark matter and energy. This morphing could still be active on a scale we can’t detect. Or it could be that Quasars are the birthing centers of matter. The expansion of space-time may be nothing more than a misinterpretation. Maybe we are at the center of a visible universe rhat is a finite tiny bubble about 27.5 billion light years across in the vastness of a boundless void. There may be simply more of the same universe beyond the 13.7 billion years in all directions we expect can’t be seen due to the red-shift expansion. There might be other bubbles of the same stuff out there. And why not?

sujan July 13, 2008 at 7:51 PM

infinite density? is that possible? also 0 volume but there is matter? how is it possible.i dont think it is possible to exist?
hummmm it sounds very interesting being heard about universe which contain matter of infinite density and 0 volume..

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