The Big Bang Writ Little

Article written: 11 Sep , 2009
Updated: 24 Dec , 2015

If you are into Twitter (as I am), you might enjoy this: New Scientist challenged their readers to encompass the Big Bang into a Tweet. That means the description of the event that started everything that is needs to be 140 characters or less –and actually it was only 133 characters because to qualify, the Tweet had to include the #sci140 hashtag so the folks at New Scientist could gather them all together. Some went the complete science route by trying to summarize the physics (at least one person fit in the equation for Hubble’s Law), others quoted (“In the beginning the universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.” — Douglas Adams), others took a religious bend, and still others described the event in how it might sound (boom, bang, kaboom or tweeeet). Here’s my favorite:

@newscientist < &#8734 #sci140 yanikproulx

A fun exercise in brevity.

Here’s the rest of their top 10:

Timeless energy, / all dressed up, no place to go: / had to create space. / – #BigBang #haiku #sci140 – haiQ

God said delB=0 etc, & then light (sym breaking), separation light from darkness (recombination), man created from dirt (evolution) #sci140 – dmadance

#sci140 starburst, molecule, amino acid, protein, cell development, cell division, sex, technology, war, religion, OK magazine. – jonotrumpeto

@newscientist #sci140 Antimatter and matter duke it out. Matter wins 1 billion and one to 1 billion. The matter left expands and makes us. – zeroentropy

#sci140 A place for everything, and everything in one place. Then — kaboom, everything all over the place. – tui4

@newscientist The Big Bang: the moment the universe vanishes when extrapolating its expansion backwards into the past #sci140 – hubi1857

For t<0 some say there was no matter, others say it does not matter. For t>0 its a matter of life and death – as a matter of fact #sci140 – thebeerhunter

an argument between the 9th and 10th dimensions overspilled into the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th. #sci140 – AlexStavrinides

The Big Bang: Basically a ballooning of bosons, belatedly bloating into our beautiful universe. Brought to you by the letter ‘B’. #sci140 – CoyoteTrax

Source: New Scientist

16 Responses

  1. tacitus says

    My variation on one of the top 10:

    Antimatter and matter duke it out. Matter wins in a squeaker. Winner takes all, and then some.

  2. Torbjorn Larsson OM says

    Worldlines, diverging.

  3. Member
    IVAN3MAN says

    Err… it’s Douglas (with one “s”), not “Douglass”.

  4. Member
    IVAN3MAN says

    Let’s see if this works…

    Test #1; symbol for infinity: ∞

    Test #2; bold symbol for infinity: ∞

  5. Member
    IVAN3MAN says

    Yep, it works!

    This is how to do it: &_infin_; or &_#8734_; (omit the underscores).


  6. Sirius_Alpha says

    [quote]#sci140 A place for everything, and everything in one place. Then — kaboom, everything all over the place. – tui4[/quote]

    Upon reading tihs, I LOL’ed so hard. Brilliant!

  7. Vedic says

    In the beginning was tweet fa. And then a boom! (which no one heard). n’ from zip came us.

  8. Thanks for the tip IVAN3MAN

  9. Member
    IVAN3MAN says

    You’re welcome, Nancy.

  10. “In the beginning, nothing went BANG!”

  11. Two more:

    “Creationism in sheep’s clothing”

    “The ultimate in pseudoscientific claptrap”

  12. Gee, this is easy!

    “Once upon a time, NOTHING – then bogus mathematicians took over physics, received most the funding, and lived happily ever after”

  13. Torbjorn Larsson OM says

    @ davesmith_au:

    What do you mean? Standard cosmology is observed and tested same as all sciences, and AFAIU it makes the usual (for physics) 3 sigma test. I think even Wikipedia has a fair description.

    Then there is a very easy (since I get its outline, I think :-D) physics proof that you will encounter a singularity when following worldlines back in an expanding universe. And observing the expansion is even more firmly tested I believe.

    Roughly: following one worldline forward you have increasing redshift of photon test particles crossing it. So following it backwards you have increasing blueshift. Blueshift till you get blue in your face … em, until test particle energy runs away into a Planck scale singularity.

    Not that your worldline need to encounter an initial singularity. Linde in his chaotic inflation can in principle push the sup lim worldline unboundedly back, or at least I have seen a paper where he claims so. But then again, everyone of his pocket universes must come from local ending of inflation – “big bang”. Same difference.

    Btw, Linde’s description is why I choose to tweet about the process of big bang instead of its initial conditions, whatever they were. It’s the same situation as in every theory of a process, gravitation, evolution or what have you.

    The process itself may be easy enough to observe and model. But what about initial conditions – initial matter, first replicators, initial singularity?

    That is usually “another and more complicated theory”. But its eventual absence at any particular time doesn’t mean the studied process is falsified. Nor does it mean that the process of science is “pseudoscience” or “creationism”.

    [As regards “creationism” btw:

    There is a paper from 2004 that gets the class of universes that contains standard cosmology as zero energy. Then you can have an “uncaused” fluctuation starting it all. No creationist theology applies.

    Or look at Linde’s model of chaotic inflation. It is highly unlikely that it started out in a steady state fix point. OTOH, if you can push its initial condition towards infinity, what does it mean? That the fix point attractor is all you need to describe the actual process?

    In any case, there’s a gap, however unlikely, that eludes creationist theology yet again. (I.e. starting in the fix point and/or it doesn’t really matter.)]

  14. Torbjorn Larsson OM says

    Maybe “implodes” creationist theology is better than “eludes”. After all such a gap makes the whole theology insufficient by way of its claim of wholesale ‘explanation’. Not just “likely everywhere else”.

  15. Sheesh! Lighten up guys,y’all seem a bit touchy – “a fun exercise in brevity” – I was simply having my own little bit of fun. And AFAIU I’m still entitiled to an opinion… anyone would think I scraped a raw nerve!

  16. Astrofiend says

    Oh man, if there is anything worse than the inane ramblings of people on Twitter, it is trivialising the immediate aftermath of inarguably the most important event in history by trying to summarise it in 140 characters, on Twitter.

    Man I hate Twitter. Why the hell does it even exist?! Pretty much so half-arsed celebrities like Lindsay Lohan can massage their egos by checking how many people gobble up such profound comments as “I’m in Paris, WOOOWWWW! So Pretty LOL 🙂 ROFLMAO”

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