Penrose: WMAP Shows Evidence of ‘Activity’ Before Big Bang


Have scientists seen evidence of time before the Big Bang, and perhaps a verification of the idea of the cyclical universe? One of the great physicists of our time, Roger Penrose from the University of Oxford, has published a new paper saying that the circular patterns seen in the WMAP mission data on the Cosmic Microwave Background suggest that space and time perhaps did not originate at the Big Bang but that our universe continually cycles through a series of “aeons,” and we have an eternal, cyclical cosmos. His paper also refutes the idea of inflation, a widely accepted theory of a period of very rapid expansion immediately following the Big Bang.

Penrose says that inflation cannot account for the very low entropy state in which the universe was thought to have been created. He and his co-author do not believe that space and time came into existence at the moment of the Big Bang, but instead, that event was just one in a series of many. Each “Big Bang” marked the start of a new aeon, and our universe is just one of many in a cyclical Universe, starting a new universe in place of the one before.

Penrose’s co-author, Vahe Gurzadyan of the Yerevan Physics Institute in Armenia, analyzed seven years’ worth of microwave data from WMAP, as well as data from the BOOMERanG balloon experiment in Antarctica. Penrose and Gurzadyan say they have identified regions in the microwave sky where there are concentric circles showing the radiation’s temperature is markedly smaller than elsewhere.

These circles allow us to “see through” the Big Bang into the aeon that would have existed beforehand. The circles were created when black holes “encountered” or collided with a previous aeon.

“Black-hole encounters, within bound galactic clusters in that previous aeon, would have the observable effect, in our CMB sky,” the duo write in their paper, “of families of concentric circles over which the temperature variance is anomalously low.”

And these circles don’t jive with the idea of inflation, because inflation proposes that the distribution of temperature variations across the sky should be Gaussian, or random, rather than having discernable structures within it.

Penrose’s new theory even projects how the distant future might emerge, where things will again be similar to the beginnings of the Universe at the Big Bang where the Universe was smooth, as opposed to the current jagged form. This continuity of shape, he maintains, will allow a transition from the end of the current aeon, when the universe will have expanded to become infinitely large, to the start of the next, when it once again becomes infinitesimally small and explodes outwards from the next big bang.

Penrose and Gurzadyan say that the entropy at the transition stage will be very low, because black holes, which destroy all information that they suck in, evaporate as the universe expands and in so doing remove entropy from the universe.

“These observational predictions of (Conformal cyclic cosmology) CCC would not be easily explained within standard inflationary cosmology,” they write in their paper.

Read Penrose and Gurzadyan’s paper: “Concentric circles in WMAP data may provide evidence of violent pre-Big-Bang activity”

Additional source: PhysicsWorld

81 Replies to “Penrose: WMAP Shows Evidence of ‘Activity’ Before Big Bang”

  1. I wonder if this could have some correlation to the proposed existence of “universe-mass” black holes? Could they in fact exist, the remnants of previous universes? Makes the head spin.

  2. Um… since when do black holes a) destroy information, and b) not re-emit the entropy they’ve collected through Hawking radiation?

  3. Penrose also tells us that conscious is inherently quantum mechanical in nature and takes place in the microtubules.

    Forgive me, if I think he should stick to his tilings.

  4. Do I understand right: this is no revival of the Big Bang-Big Crunch cycles, but a cycle of Big Bangs with only expansion in between? Interesting.

  5. This has been making the buzz this weekend, and I read the paper. I must confess some reservations about this. The CCC theory has the Weyl curvature go to zero at the transition point. The Weyl curvature is what propagates gravitational information. If the Weyl curvature is zero across the boundary between these aeons then it seems there would be no information communicated between them. This seems to be a bit of a contradiction. What I write below is a modified (eg simplified) version of something I have written elsewhere on this. The next paragraph gets into some general relativity, while what follows is what I think might explain these circles within the inflationary paradigm. If you are familiar with Lagrangian dynamics it is not that hard to follow. We might have to wait for the Planck probe measurements to get a firmer handle on these data.

    The argument for this is in some sense interesting, but I question whether it is for the reasons the authors claim. The conformal rescaling, with a factor Q, of the metric g_{ab} –> Q^2g_{ab} rescales the Weyl curvature C_{ABCD} – -> QC_{ABCD} if there is a 4-dim spacetime. In dimensions lower than 4 there is no Weyl curvature, so to push the Weyl curvature across the CCC-infinity they seem to be saying there is a continuous flow of geometry. Their argument assumes that the CCC infinity the spatial surface is smooth or flat. So the gravitational degrees of freedom on the other side of the CCC-infinity are not carried over to our side. So the wave equation nabla^A_{A’}C_{ABCD} = 0 across this region CCC-infinity is such that the rescaling conformal parameter appears to take up those degrees of freedom as other forms. This is interesting to think about with respect to the problem of degrees of freedom in quantum gravity. In particular with regards to how it is that loop variable quantum gravity imposes a huge number of independent degrees of freedom on quantum or noncommutative spacetime, when this in fact appears to be a huge over counting. However, what troubles me with respect to the argument about there being some propagation across the CCC-infinity is this still presumes some continuous spatial geometry across the CCC. However, if we were to assume that nabla^A_{A’}C_{ABCD} = 0 tells us how spatial geometry propagates the vanishing of gravitational degrees of freedom at the CCC-infinity I from our perspective would seem to imply there simply is no spacetime geometry at all which we could extend beyond I. So these data might indeed be telling us something, but I wonder if it is what they claim with regards to “pre-big bang” events, or whether this might have something to do with the nature of gravitational degrees of freedom at the big bang.

    Calling this pre-big bang depends in a funny way on what you mean by big bang. If you define the big bang as a thermal process, then this refers to post inflationary period. There clearly was physics then, though I am not sure it involves colliding black holes. The inflationary period is a phase where the inflaton, a field F(a, t) with a = cosmological scale factor, has a potential V = V(F) that is huge ~ s/L_p^4 for s = 10^{-10} to 10^{-14}. The variability of this comes from the Lagrangian density

    L = 1/2|&Y/&t|^2 – 1/2|&Y/&a|^2 – V(Y), & = partial derivative symbol

    and where the field is replaced with the density Y = 3F/4?a^3. So we make the constancy assumption that there is no dependency with a and then the time derivative with time

    L = 1/2|&Y/&a|^2 – V(Y).

    The Euler-Lagrange equation will result in a dissipative term ~ Y(a’/a), for a’ = da/dt. The Hubble parameter H = a’/a times the field that is like “friction,” so the inflaton field slows down and its energy is dissipated. There is then some sort of phase transition. The sloping energy reaches some critical point where the potential cliffs off into a well which defines the small vacuum energy that is the cosmological constant of the observable universe. This is bubble nucleation similar to S. Coleman’s 1980’s theory, and there may be a whole gaggle of these bubbles in the R^3 space of the universe. Linde has worked on these with his idea of pocket universes. Which ever is the case there appears to be some sort of phase structure here with the energy E ~ nkT/2, where the decline in the field energy reaches something similar to a phase transition from gas to solid or a transition to ferromagnetism etc, and this results in a bubble of nucleation and the conversion of a lot of high energy vacuum energy into elementary particles in a thermal distribution. This happened with about a 60-efold expansion and this thermalization might be compared to a latent heat of fusion.

    Now having set that up, we consider this bubble nucleation or phase transition as the big bang. During the inflationary period prior to this anisotropies in the spatial manifold were exponentially stretched out. So the formation of black holes was highly unlikely. If we time reverse the situation and think of the universe as exponentially constricting at t – -> 0 then the formation of clumps might form black holes. However, these black holes are time reversed — the time reversal of white holes. So if Gurzadyan and Penrose are right in interpreting this data as some physics prior to the thermalization period, then it might be some foot print of an early while hole which exploded or dissolved during the inflationary period, and where we are seeing maybe the stretched out inflationary signature of a white hole. This is actually a reasonable sort of calculation to work up IMO.

    I doubt this has anything to do with a bounce. The spatial manifold R^3 of the universe will if we push it back to near the Planck time folds up into a sphere S^3 or some sort of quantum blob. I am being a bit imprecise here, on purpose to some extent, where this blob emerged by quantum gravity physics: quantum tunneling from the vacuum, D-brane collisions and/or … . For one thing I suspect that the number independent of degrees of freedom is very small, maybe zero, so there is little or no information imprinted on the universe we observe which is some causal signature of anything prior to this quantum gravity event.

    Lawrence B. Crowell

  6. Penrose – yawn. At least he isn’t on about his mind dualism (re: Sili).

    Obvious problems:
    – The CMB is known to be gaussian to very high precision.
    – What Qev said on black holes.
    – “inflation cannot account for the very low entropy state in which the universe was thought to have been created” is creationism all over again: ‘evolution cannot account for the very organized state in which life was thought to have been created’. As evolution inflation doesn’t have to explain it’s initial state – if it could, it would be part of the process, silly!
    – cyclical universes: IIRC there are modern results that makes them implausible, as well as the problems that all earlier variants have met (ekpyrotic cyclical universes, et cetera).
    – The proposed patterns need to be a) checked for significance (the authors check them against the background, but how often would one expect to see them?) b) reproduced (figures look hand drawn).

    A quick browsing doesn’t tempt a thorough read.

  7. I for one, encourage LC’s comments. It is good that explains what he knows for the rest of us mere mortals.

    So if I’m following you correctly LC, you are saying that it is far more likely that these CMB anomalies are possibly the remnant signatures of early white holes?

    I am a bit unclear as to what you mean by “degree’s of gravitational freedom.” I’ve heard you mention this before. In layman’s terms what does this mean?

  8. WMAP might be quite useless for Big-Bang issues.

    If we would look back from the future to our present state, how much would it differ from today’s “logical” conundrum?

    Due to the speed of light there will always be a big mess in defining a “present state” of this universe, especially from this distance, observer dependent as it is is – always.

  9. I also love LBC’s comments. even when it fries my brain, it motivates me to do some deeper research into the maths part and increases this site much higher than any other science site open for simple people.

  10. Torbjorn Larsson OM: I agree that the CMB appears highly Gaussian. Claims of kurtosis in the data have been risen several times and have fallen. This may be just the latest example. The claim of sigma = 6 is somewhat noteworthy. A claim about SUSY physics being detected at LHC with a sigma =~ 3 rose and fell in one day last week. So this might be a bit more than that.

    This might be a symptom of the web-world, where data can get reported too early and it races around the world, gets on the desk of Penrose who then whomps up a theory quickly only to have it fall in a week. Andy Warhol, eat your heart out with 15 minutes of fame.

    The statement that inflation does not solve the low entropy problem is correct. Inflation is not meant to solve that problem. The initial entropy of the universe is a question on the entanglement entropy of the observable 4 dimensional spacetime with the entire universe, or multiverse, and where the entanglement entropy is defined according to matters like compactified dimensions and the like.

    Sorry about the long post above. It is a stripped down version of what I wrote earlier. This stuff is of great interest to me, and we are in the age of cosmology, sort of like the moon race of the 60s I suppose, where we may in the next 10-20 years get our best look at how the universe unifies with elementary particles.


  11. The paper mentions “initial material in the universe, which we take to be some primordial form of dark matter.” That thought is worth a whole book – watch for Gurzadyan on the bookshelves.

  12. I have a lot of problems with cyclic universe theories…

    1. Unless gravity overtakes dark energy, how does the process start over. If there is no big crunch, how does the universe know when to start anew?

    2. If there is a big crunch, does time reverse? What is the threshold for the reversal of time? If this is the case, is every universe always the same as the one that came before it? (Is it like rewinding the same tape over and over, or can there be changes each time? How could we determine this?)

    3. CMBR only goes back so far. These gravity anomalies could have been caused by a number of post big bang events, which don’t require new cosmology.

    4. How can time be measured before time began? As Hawking said, once you get to the North pole, you can’t go anymore North. Every direction you then go is South. Otherwise, the cosmic cycles require the pre-existence of time in order to work. Therefore, they can’t explain the beginning of time, and are thus inadequate at explaining the origins of the universe. That’s like explaining how to bake a cake from scatch, while the first ingredient is cake mix. (This kinda goes back to #1.)

    Then again, maybe I’m totally misunderstanding this – which is quite likely as IANAP.

  13. Ah Penrose. A good example of what happens to people’s brains as we age. In his case we can see the slow decline in his mental process (as displayed in his work) year after inevitable year. It’s sad. I do not look forward to that happening to me:(.

  14. Nancy, I swear you’ve been reading the comments in recent days. Once again, perfect timing with this article.

  15. When something comes up against widely accepted idea, its in our nature to reject it. Remember Galileo? I feel that when a person like Roger Penrose has said something there must be some strong arguments to support it.

    Inflationary theory also supports the fact that with proper condition any point in universe can spawn a new big bang. Big Bang might not be a very special or unique event.

  16. Maybe it’s a stupid question, but – assuming Penrose is right – how does the information about the previous universe (or black holes, doesn’t matter) gets to “our” universe? I’ve always thought, that there can be no information of any kind from theoretical earlier universe found.

  17. @Maruda: I dont feel that the question is at all stupid.
    Between previous big crunch and the current big-bang we are supposed to have a space time singularity and thus the previous universe’s space and time is not the same as current one. So how any kind of information could have passed from earlier universe into the space time singularity and into the current universe?

  18. @ Hannes:

    WMAP might be quite useless for Big-Bang issues.

    Well, it did solve the “Big Band issue” of what Big Bang cosmology we lived in. That is IMO exactly opposite of “quite useless”.

    But it is a low resolution CMB observation. As discussed elsewhere here on the multiverse threads, the general model of inflation is decisive for standard model inflationary multiverses.

    There are a spat of predictions that such multiverse theory has been tested well on, and no other theory. But unless inflation has a form that enable multiverse solutions, they won’t fly anyway. Observations likes Planck’s will be invaluable for solving “Big Bang issues”.

    I suppose we could still have most likely quantum tunneling and perhaps bubble universes, which are inherent in our FLRW respectively putative string universe. But I do think they test on very few predictions, mainly the cosmological constant. And that is not much to hang a theory on.

    @ LBC:

    Claims of kurtosis in the data have been risen several times and have fallen. This may be just the latest example. The claim of sigma = 6 is somewhat noteworthy.

    Yes, but as I understood it from my quick browsing (so can be wrong), they don’t test it against the background gaussian statistic but against the background amplitude. I.e. they have the signal what their plots say (but someone should check them); well, duh!

    The interesting thing is how often you would expect to sneak such patterns into a gaussian background of a whole sky survey. More than once, I expect, especially since they did just that. That can’t be a 6 sigma happenstance, more likely 0.1 sigma or so. In short, the “anomalies” may not be anomalies.

    [I haven’t read Penrose much. But the above, as I read it, refusal to actually test your hypothesis is the kind of behavior we see in cranks. I’m sorry that I see a pattern here, because the creationist idea on what inflation theory “should” say fits the same mold. Note, I take that from the post, not the paper, so I should check what was really said before drawing firm conclusions.]

    As the main of the commenters I don’t mind the long comments, I may learn from them if I have the inkling and time. But generally I have found your shorter comments more educational as they don’t as often go into arcane detail. [Yeah, I know: I should speak thereof!? :-D]

    @ Dark Gnat:

    I haven’t read on the problems with cyclical universes, but some of your questions, especially the first, should be underlying some of the math results on them.

    @ Paul Eaton-Jones:

    I don’t see any mocking but criticism, which should always be welcome. And that criticism comes out of scientifically less well endowed people trying to make sense of science, it should be encouraged.

    To raise such empty concern reminds me of a black concern troll knight:

    I’m invincible! Do not mock my invincibility of genius worship, I’ll bite your legs off!
    You’re a looney.

  19. @ Maruda, Sukhoi4700:

    Good questions.

    One type of answer I have seen is that some types of multiverses, perhaps not the kind we discuss but could bear on that, one universe directly interact with another. I.e. bubble universes may collide, and for some parameter ranges in the models such collisions will leave an imprint in the CMB.

    Another type of answer is that a series of bubble universes, or the series of Smolin’s failed black/white hole multiverses, is selected akin to natural selection in evolution. The bubble universes are stochastically relaxing towards a negative vacuum energy, Smolin’s model was stochastically hill climbing towards the most “fecund” parameter set of similar parameters.

    The third sort of middle type of answer, which would be most relevant here I think, is results on similar singularity systems getting a direct (unselected) “imprint” from the formation process.

    These systems were IIRC similar to water drop formation under a spout, where the product of the process can be imprinted with a specific topology or geometry from the event, in turn imprinted by the earlier system.

    I.e. the form of the water drop release “spike” when it forms off the breaking up water stream may depend on the stream flow (geometry and speed) at the break off moment.

    [Now I don’t think the research I’ve seen on this was on water drop formation, but something similar. I should probably try to hunt it down, but I’m out of time again.]

  20. A number of questions have come up here. I will try to address some of these.

    The G-P theory here is cyclic. Yet data suggests that dark energy or the cosmological constant is such the universe is accelerating outwards. So how can there be a cycle? The universe in 10^{100} will in any region be utterly dark and empty. Black holes will have decayed by the Hawking quantum radiance. So there is nothing local which involves time, there is no heat flow to run a clock and so there is no arrow of time. There is of course still the cosmological event horizon at r = sqrt{3/ /\} ~ 10^{10} light years, for /\ = the cosmological constant. There is entropy associated with that, which still defines an arrow of time on this more global scale. This entropy has a tiny amount of heat and so the dark energy of the universe will decay. The cosmological constant will approach zero and the cosmological event horizon will over an enormous period of time retreat off to infinity. So the cosmological constant will over an infinite time go to zero and the universe will asymptotically approach a flat empty Minkowski spacetime. The Weyl curvature will approach zero C_{abcd} = 0 and there is no arrow of time. Penrose maintains that at this point there is the transition by the CCC to a new aeon. 20 years ago I proposed something rather similar to this, and I was called crazy, but the idea is that this is a sort of singularity.

    Of course this involves a cyclic universe where each cycle might take an infinite amount of time. So there are some funny things to ponder with that.

    I do quote from the abstract, “The analysis of Wilkinson Microwave Background Probe’s (WMAP) cosmic microwave background 7-year maps does indeed reveal such concentric circles, of up to 6sigma significance. This is confirmed when the same analysis is applied to BOOMERanG98 data, eliminating the possibility of an instrumental cause for the effects.” So 6sigma is what is reported, or referenced here. This is enough to raise eyebrows.

    Maruda and sukhoi4700 raise some interesting points. The CCC-tinfinity or the singularity and so forth can’t communicate information across it. Gurzadyan and Penrose even state the Weyl curvature C_{abcd} = 0 on the CCC-infinity, so it is curious how it can be said this communicates information from one aeon to the next. If there are degrees of freedom connecting across this region they have to be quantum entangled degrees of freedom or Q-bits associated with some quantum fluctuation, or tunneling instanton. This is the case whether we have this CCC-infinity between aeons. or inflating pocket universes, or interacting Dp-branes.


  21. the CMB aligns with our local supercluster group that our milky way is a part of, says Eric Lerner. The CMB can be used to detect galaxy clusters too, which was easily proven and should be done again and thought about. could the Lorentz force, where charged particles move in circular orbits, under a magnetic field, explain the “white hole EM Universe” that existed before in the past? more evidence for an ever more wimpering big-bang theory that is required to include everything.

  22. I remember reading somewhere years ago that, due to the closed geometry of the Universe, if you were to travel in a “straight” line fast enough for long enough, you would end up at your starting point. According to this idea, eventually everything in the Universe would end up back where it started, just in time for the next Big Bang and the faster it went, the sooner this would happen.!

    PS I love reading everything on UT, even if I don’t have the knowledge or the background to make intelligible comments of my own. Thanks everyone for your informative posts. However, I do find the posting window to be the most basic I have ever met. The text is much too small, at least for my eyesight, there is no preview or edit facility, no rack of smiley things to pull down (where DO you folks find them?) and no option to be notified by email of replies, which would save checking back on the original post. That said, please keep up the good work!

  23. To my simple mind. We observe that everything is cyclic in the nature that we are part of.

    Maybe the great Penrose has detected the holographic type encoding imprinted on the event Horizon from previous Universes and previous black hole singularities from those Universes?

  24. Paul Eaton-Jones:

    I suggest you take a look at Penrose’s work over the course of his life. He started off brilliant, then stagnated, and now his recent work has tumbled in quality. His latest works and statements from the past decade bear more resemblance to those of Richard Hoagland than they do to Penrose’s previous work. In short, he’s gone bonkers (a common age related problem, from “get off my lawn!” to “sure, I’ll give you my credit card number!”, to complete reversal of previously formed opinions for no apparent reason. Brains die slooooowwwly).

    Does that mean that this idea is wrong? No. It’s just enough for most people to take a long, hard look at anything he says or does. And rightly so.

  25. The CMB radiation is believed to have been emitted by warm matter roughly 400,000 years after the big bang. It should tell us something about the distribution of matter during that time.

    Our “present” includes far away stars. They are currently not visible – only there predecessors. If the universe is expanding they will be at a complete different location in the future. They even might never be visible at all, not even in the future.

    Important is we will never be able to see our own past, except when we would be able to travel faster than lightspeed and look back. So we are also not capable of viewing the history of any nearby object otherwise we would be able to break that rule.

    All the light we see today has never before been seen by earth or “the eyes of it’s atoms”. This means that the radiation by the CMB warm matter did not have time to reach us before NOW. It is not going into circles as far as I know 😉

    Eyes far away in this universe would be able to see our own past though, which we cannot. They will therefore see a different CMB pattern as we do, which includes the history of earth and sun and its predecessors for example.

    Our scope of the CMB is imho necessarily limited to a part of the universe which we do NOT see currently and will never be completely possible.

    I do not understand how someone can derive a conclusion about a prefase of a Big Bang with only limited information.

  26. Some remarks about my concern about the big bang and the CMB radiation.

    There were some recent studies about the use of the CMB to detect galaxy clusters by an international team of scientists led by Rutgers University astrophysicists.

    They suggest that from the data of the CMB it is possible to detect galaxy clusters. And they did.

    This is very disturbing news in my opinion, as stated above this should not be possible at all.

    No currently visible object should be linked to any CMB radiation. If it is possible -either there is a problem with the big bang or this study should not have been published at all. Or we can look to the past after all.

  27. Hannes, is it possible that they used the CMB radiation to infer the general directions where matter eventually formed in more dense arrangements? i.e. if at 400 000 years the CMB radiation shows more concentrated radiation in direction x. Then millions of years later, that matter would coalesce into more dense clusters of galaxies?

    Or would the matter that originally emitted the CMB be beyond the visible universe now via it’s expansion?

  28. Hannes,

    The CMB has been used to detect galaxy clusters. This is done by using the Sunayev-Zeldovich (SZ) effect. The SZ effect occurs when CMB photons encounter a galaxy with relativistic charged particles. There is then Compton scattering or inverse Compton scattering physics which bumps the photons off the blackbody curve. So the CMB will have little regions with these deviations. They are know to occur with observed clusters, and the SZ effect has been employed to find distant galaxy clusters.


  29. Hey Mister Muppet,

    You said this!!!

    “The CMB can be used to detect galaxy clusters too, which was easily proven and should be done again and thought about. could the Lorentz force, where charged particles move in circular orbits, under a magnetic field, explain the “white hole EM Universe” that existed before in the past? more evidence for an ever more wimpering big-bang theory that is required to include everything.

    Eh? The Lorentz force? You are kidding aren’t you?
    Every EU/PC nutter in Universe Today has never made such an absolutely idiotic claim like this!
    Oh smarty, let’s have a little laugh then. How big is this wonderful field? What observational evidence to you have that the field exists?
    Next you’ll tell us the universe is rotating and angels are making it sing in harmony! Last week you did’t even know what the cosmic background radiation was! (I think you though it was “colour me bad”!
    Again you are taking simple crap!

  30. I think Penrose is a bit of a twit who mostly loves to just stir the pot to get a reaction. He once said, for example; “We don’t understand consciousness. We don’t understand quantum theory either. Perhaps they are the same.

    As others have said; Penrose thinks it captivating and convincing, but sadly it is a bit silly and it is not really his idea it the first place! (There is no evidence for the truth of this statement, but there is plenty of evident to say it is unlikely or plain wrong!)

    If anyone has read his mega-lengthy book “The Emperor’s New Mind”, you begin to think his arguments are mind-changing and attractive, but by its end you just think it is all contrived — whose claims are either unprovable or very limited in application to the real world. Worst, others have given better explanations than Penrose. IMO Goedel is a far better read than Penrose here, if only, because in the end you will get more out of it, Furthermore it will be far more logical.

    These ideas presented here in this story might be a new way of looking at things; yet the whole idea is somewhat fail through lack of observational evidence or provability. Sadly, where dead-crazy crackpots and loonies like our Mister Muppet (and his imaginary IEEE mentor) arise out of the coffins; they see see words as an opportunity to wave the EU/PC flag yet again. As we all know for two years of the same rhetoric we can see through the rejected idiocy that clearly antiquated fictional hogwash! In this way Penrose, sabre rattling just but his stick into the beehive to stir up all drones for just a little excitement. Why even talk about cosmology, when all it does is give airtime to these twits with the same ol’ agenda?

    So IMO, Roger Penrose’s days of brilliance are well behind him now, and for him to capture any new insights of importance are, frankly, remote to nil! In the way, I take this “announcement” more with a grain of salt than factually useful. For others it is as meaningless as a fish riding a bicycle! (Well above the stratosphere of understand, let alone comprehension. Pity.

  31. Oh. i should make one point. The article says;

    “Penrose says that inflation cannot account for the very low entropy state in which the universe was thought to have been created.”

    Truthfully, he and others, have held this contention for decades. Like most they are desperately trying to ascribe Penrose’s Weyl Curvature Hypothesis from 1979 (which will likely never be provable.) Without the drivel describing its implications, it is a means of correlating the apparent isotropic (same) nature of the universe with the 2nd Law of Dynamics (essentially an increase of entropy (deterioration) in the universe.

    The immediate point is that this idea is +30 years old. It is not new. Penrose motive of describing a pre-Big Bang event to avoid the zero-setting of entropy that presumably started at the instant of the Big Bang.

    IMPORTANT NOTE: Plasma Cosmology (PC) (or EU) has no explanation of the entropy problem, expect to assume that it has always existed, Hence, the only option for PC (EU) view the universe is infinitely old and infinite in size. There is little evidence to support this, because the behaviour of the universe is solidly observationally based on the observed movement of the galaxies, relativity, and the all sky direction of the cosmic background radiation, etc. There is absolutely no observational evidence of universe-sized magnetic fields, and no prediction has ever been produced with observational data to support it. Its true failure of course is that all the theory in the world is useless if it doesn’t explain the universe we observe. PC (and EU) has the problem it has not only has to explain the origin and nature of magnetic fields in the universe, it has ALSO has to explain the observed movement of the galaxies, relativity, and the all sky direction of the cosmic background radiation, etc.
    Ignoring this encompassing fact is the true folly of the PC explanation of the universe. It does not match what we see and observe. This is the core reason why such views are, in the vast majority of cosmologists and astrophysicists rejected PC’s gross inadequacies.

    In summary, these are the basic facts for those unfamiliar with so-called plasma cosmology.proponents. It also explains the hostility to those who continue to support such views.

  32. Err, sorry. In the last post it should read…

    It is the “2nd Law of Thermodynamics” and NOT just the “2nd Law of Dynamics”

  33. Penrose’s Weyl curvature hypothesis is not unreasonable. The Weyl curvature for the early universe is presumed to be small or zero, but accumulations of matter result in local curvatures and an increasing Weyl curvature. The idea is not wrong on the face of it. The problem is that it is not a main determinant. Inflationary cosmology, or a cosmological constant /\ (Lambda) which gives a scale factor that grows with time a ~ exp(sqrt{/\}t) irons out the global Weyl curvature. This is happening now with so called eternal inflation and the small acceleration of the universe. In the inflationary scenario of the very early universe the vacuum induced constant /\ was much larger, and the accelerated expansion far larger. The early universe which quantum tunneled out of the vacuum or emerged by various means might have been comparatively inhomogeneous and anisotropic, but inflation ironed them out nearly completely in 62 efolds. So the Weyl curvature plays a secondary role in this setting. It is also the case that black holes and clumps of matter which accumulate will quantum decays and the Weyl curvature is quantum erased as well.

    The Weyl curvature might be important in establishing entropy bounds similar to Bousso bounds between the early inflationary period of the universe, the subsequent FLRW radiation/matter dominated phases and the current eternal inflationary phase. This is not something which occurred to me until now. I must confess that Penrose’s Weyl curvature hypothesis has not been at the front of my mind in many years. This idea I have above with white holes and this possibility with entropy bounds is something maybe worth bending metal on.

    Penrose’s book “The Structure of Reality” is a good read IMO. This is in spite of his R-process idea, which I think is at best an effective theory and not fundamental. His “Emperor’s New Mind” is a reasonable popular account of physics, but frankly I think it falls apart when he starts linking consciousness to quantum mechanics, and not just quantum mechanics but quantum gravity.


  34. @LBC

    You said; “Penrose’s Weyl curvature hypothesis is not unreasonable… The idea is not wrong on the face of it.”

    Just let me be clear on this. All I’ve said is that this postulate “…will likely never be provable.” I have not contested that it may or may not be true.

    Also my words here are a reduction of the wider picture, so at least novices here might give an inkling on what this story is about. What is more interesting is Penrose coming back to familiar territory from what seems so long ago… I honestly do wonder why?

    As for Penrose’s book to which you refer, wasn’t it called “The Road to Reality : A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe” (2004)? (or did I miss one somewhere?) This book was certainly a more accessible and interesting one, though some reviewers have also said it to be also somewhat flawed; here and there.

  35. The book is “The Road to Reality,” I needed another cup of coffee before I wrote that post. The problems with the book is where Penrose gets into his R-process. He also tries to tie Godel’s theorem into it as well.

    The Weyl curvature hypothesis (WCH) is “provable” for a “universe in a box” of sorts. A BTZ black hole in an anti de Sitter spacetime AdS_4 is a black hole in a box. This system obeys the Weyl curvature hypothesis, and the decomposition of AdS_4 into AdS_2xS^2 on the horizon conforms quite nicely. Of course this is a mathematical structure behind reality, when reality is of course the boundary of the AdS in higher dimension and things are more complicated.

    The WCH is probably at best something which might be used to establish entropy bounds within a more modern setting. Unfortunately Penrose’s thinking about things is somewhat “paleo.”


  36. Even if the authors are proved incorrect, introducing new interpretations of data (which are then skeptically studied) may lead to greater insight into what we already know, or may spawn ideas as yet conceived.

    Papers like this certainly inspire re-examination, which always pushes science further. It makes us re-visit what we’ve accepted as true, and either solidifies our accuracy or exposes vulnerability.

  37. This idea isn’t new. In fact, it’s exactly what happens when you make massive particles in Einstein’s original cosmological model, and criticisms against the idea are half baked.

  38. the all sky cmb background is a total distortion of truth, as this article proves. Mass in motion will simulaneously produce both a magnetic and electric field. You guys don’t understand what this means cosmologically but I have explained away all your ignorant distortions of PC. EM forces shapes the largest sized objects in the universe, and they are 99 percent plasma. What you call the universe is your big-bang head up a butt theory, which makes crumb think he’s smart. Yes, the lorentz force was a joke. the circular patterns on the cmb, I will be the first to present a theory that they are plasma ring currents of your big-bang ! ring currents don’t require voltage for current to flow. electrons and ions circulate around the magnetic field dipole axis, which like your big-bang, suddenly expanded in size or blew up. as the plasma magnetosphere of the earth does what a space storm hits. this expansion weakens the internal magnetic field of the earth, until it contracts back, which strengths it. dark energy means the plamsa sheet is still expanding, and the big-bang universe is just the largest scale of plasma that we have discovered! The ring currents we can see through in the cmb because something bigger behind that previously existed, has left the cmb as something for us to study!

  39. and the size of Earth’s Ring Current varies from 3 to 8 earth Radii, suddenly expanding at light speed when solar storms arrive. Plasma is scalable in 14 proven sizes, the largest known scales are the ISM and then the IGM. The big-bang is obviously the next largest size of plasma ! sudden expansion of it can easily explain away dark energy, which is solely based on the geocentric redshift interpretation of a universal expansion of the galaxies.

  40. it says right here in the article, “concentric circles” and in another article,”circular patterns.” Stop your blatant outright lies, Crumb. the big-bang expansion of what you say happened for the universe, is really a larger plasma sheet expansion giving the cosmic redshift recession that appears like dark energy. These scalable plasma sheets have mathematically been shown possible to contain additional dimensions, much like string-theory and M-theory has extra dimensions, fictiously devised to fit the big-bang model. No model is absolutely correct, but my authority who i trust says PC is the best current cosmology, and that he can’t explain away dark energy, because it is fictious and he doesn’t believe in it anymore then phony dark matter ! And he’s a plasma physicist who produces alpha particle jets in the lab, and says black holes are not required !!

  41. @uncle fred,

    the CMB radiation CANNOT be linked to any visible concentration of matter we see.

    The only possibility is that the detected concentration of matter in the CMB is an extention of some currently visible cluster. If wee look far enough back into time.

    It can and will not ever be related to any observed mass. SZ effect or Compton scattering has nothing to do with this issue.

  42. Crumb’s posts should be moderated, he’s a trouble maker ! It’s no wonder there aren’t enough new guests to leave comments, when he runs them down. In truth I know for certain that your big-bang is a bunch of nonsense, and that you can’t really be that smart. some bell and howl scientists discovered a noise in space, and it is supposed to be the beginning of the entire universe and of all creation. this article proves their is more to the universe then just the big-bang. that means all that dark matter and dark energy is a bucha junk too. people once believed the earth was flat, even at the center of the universe, and the big-bang is really not much better of an idea. Eternal timeless plasma !

  43. Sorry uncle fred,

    I should have been more informative.

    Of course the CMB data should be informative regarding a generalisation of cluster forming. And more dense radiation in a certain direction.

    Only it does not involve all visible matter which we can see.

    What we see (all baryonic matter) cannot be a part of the CMB.
    I hope that is understood.

  44. Blah Blah Blah! goes the crazy Muppet…

    Eh? What “circular patterns on the cmb” There are no circular patterns! (Another joke perhaps?) I think you are imagining things again…

    Your arguments here are absolutely ridiculous

    Also do you know how big our Universe is compared to the Earth?

    As for; “The big-bang is obviously the next largest size of plasma, and the big-bang universe is just the largest scale of plasma that we have discovered”

    Hang on. Earlier you said “is your big-bang head up a butt theory” and even before that “more evidence for an ever more wimpering big-bang theory that is required to include everything.” or “…the big-bang is like believing the earth is the universe” or “Crumb always makes up lies because the big-bang is dead but you butt kissers always keep it going here.”

    So do you believe in the Big Bang or not? Do you know what you are talking about?

    OK smarty, where is the ACTUAL evidence for this statement! (is this another joke too?)

    OK. Let’s see. How strong is this wonderful field of yours?
    20,000T, 0.1T, 10^-16T

    As for the quite preposterous; “Yes, the lorentz force was a joke.”

    No Mr. Muppet. Sorry. I’ve clearly shown that you are the joke!

    You are so out of your depth, sonny!

  45. @Hannes

    It’s fine. Thank you for the response. I am finding anything to do with the early universe immensely challenging to grasp. Thanks to LC and others for their comments too.

    I really feel like a fish out of water here.

    As for Muppet or JIMHENSON or whatever he’s called, I wish we had a way of voting people out of Universetoday. Criticism and new ideas are great, but if it’s half-baked nonsense then it really isn’t stirring the intellectual pot is it? (More like spilling it).

    Then again, I would have probably been voted out myself after the secret Delta rocket postings. I love history discussions too much…

  46. Hey Muppet. Again Blah, blah, blah!.

    Is that really the best you can do?

    I’m starting to think you have crazy delusions of adequacy?

    As for “your authority” is not your own opinion, and like any coward, he is unable to speak for himself but needs to whimper behind his (imaginary) friend to validate his crazy point of view. This (imaginary) guy is obviously a fruit cake, just like you, because he fails to acknowledge any evidence.

    As for saying; “In truth I know for certain that your big-bang is a bunch of nonsense,” but in the previous post you said; “The big-bang is obviously the next largest size of plasma, and the big-bang universe is just the largest scale of plasma that we have discovered.

    SO WHICH IS IT? (is this another joke too?)

    As for “These scalable plasma sheets have mathematically been shown possible to contain additional dimensions,” Are you totally nuts? I’ve heard some PC/EU crap before, but this claim is looney tunes? Please show us the evidence of this? (is this another joke too?)

    As for the “scaleable” nonsense, we been through that a million times. EU/PC is NOT scaleable. Please show direct evidence of this!!! (is this another joke too?)

    Is is really funny that you huff and puff, but you are unable to give any details. Why is that?

    Also you are the only dingbat professing this PC nonsense here. Why is that?
    As I said; “The fool stands naked and exposed.”

  47. Hey muppet,

    Absolutely this is the funniest think I’ve read in years !

    Noise from “bell and howl scientists”? Sound a bit like Pavlov’s dog experiments? (Is that how advance the idiotic ideas of plasma cosmology have become?)

    Don’t you mean “Bell Laboratory scientists”? (or is this a joke too?)

  48. Bell Labs is now Lucent Technologies. Bell & Howell might be confused with Bell or maybe Hell and Bowel 🙂 You might go to the blog post on the lunear magnetic field above. Lots of EU persiflage is showing up there.


  49. Lawrence.

    Propos de celui qui persifle. Il s’est permis envers lui un indécent persiflage. Tout son discours n’est qu’un long persiflage, que persiflage.

    I truly wonder if Muppet even realises what is happening around him?

    As I said earlier; L’imbécile se tient nu et exposé.

    J’ai parié qu’il ne sent pas même le froid ! (I bet he doesn’t even feel the cold!)


  50. Supersymmetry Theory predicts plasmas of higher energy have extra dimensions says David Peat Invisible plasmas are by definition “dark matter” like earth’s magnetosphere. M theory and parallel universes are explained away by Maxwell’s scalable laws of plasma. Dimensionless parameters in Tokamaks scaling equation are hidden dark invisible plasma dimensions not big-bang creations Taotao Fang’s connecting filaments seen along the great wall of galaxies, are the WHIM warm hot intergalactic medium. the whim actually comprises most visible matter in the universe, but is so vast and tenous, near 2 million degrees, and always viewed through by telescopes unknowningly. Entropy is never explained by the big-bang neither, nor why it blew up or existed as a dense hot mass, for how long before blowing up?? Newton’s gravity is 400 years old and not weeded out yet by fundings, but Alfven’s plasma physics 30+ years of PC is growing, not dying out.

  51. @ Lawrence

    I needed did need a good laugh this morning!

    (Let’s see what happen with the UT Jets article)

  52. Jimhenson (aka ‘Muppet’) made the following emotive comment;

    Crumb’s posts should be moderated, he’s a trouble maker ! It’s no wonder there aren’t enough new guests to leave comments, when he runs them down.

    I’d like to openly comment, that I personally like reading comments from honest inquiring minds, and like others here, and do not mind helping out in real questions on astronomy or some aspects of astrophysics which I have experience.

    Novices here really have very little to fear, in either posing questions or discuss things they are not sure about. I do like a robust discussion — and it is the means in which I do learn about new ideas or aspects of science we I have not been exposed too.

    In this light, I’d always encourage everyone to participation in Universe Today.

    The biggest question, and what Universe Today does often and regularly faces,

    Is this comment forum designed for inquiring minds or is it for those trying to taking over with agendas with unscrupulous commentators desperate for attention?

    Again, I really much prefer to understand what we do know about cosmology, astronomy and astrophysics rather than hearing of some hair-brained scheme that either lacks in any imagination or just ignores whole swathes of real facts and accessible knowledge.

    I once linked in a previous Universe Today story, that gave a link to; “The Electric Sky, Short-circuited (2008)” by Dr. W.T. Bridgeman.” at

    If you like to understand about the unsubstantiated notions of so-called plasma cosmology and ‘electric universe’ given here, this is an excellent start. (If you are interested in the WMAP, pictured at the lead of this story, then read “The WMAP Map” pg.39 to 40. (It is written by an authority far better than me, and at least it is not ‘imaginary’.)

    Finally, I would suggest that if people like Muppet is serious about discussing his views, he might get a better conversing among others of the same ilk. I’d serious suggest he contact Thunderbolts.Info (Google it.) — if he hasn’t already done so. Perhaps then, he might learn to sharpen his arguments and perhaps learn a bit about the topic before blurting out disorganised and incorrect statements presented here.

  53. “(…) is every universe always the same as the one that came before it? (Is it like rewinding the same tape over and over […])?” — Dark Gnat

    That’s exactly what the Stoics believed.

    See, for example, Nemesius, “De nat. hom.”, 38: “When the heavenly bodies, in the course of their movement, have returned to the same sign and to the latitude and longitude that each one occupied in the beginning, there takes place, in the cycle of the times, an utter conflagration and destruction; then there is a going back, from the start, to the same cosmic order and once again, as the heavenly bodies move just as before, every event in the preceding cycle repeats itself without any difference whatsoever. In fact, Socrates and Plato will exist again, and every individual with the same friends and fellow citizens, the same beliefs and the same arguments in discussions, every city and village, will come back. This universal return will happen, not just once, but many times, to infinity.”

    In our days some would call this a “time loop”, and they’d say we’re trapped in one.

  54. What I find interesting about PC-EU is the fact that it includes notions of non-cosmological redshifts, tired-light theories, quantized redshifts, quasars as local phenomenon etc, as basic, fundamental parts of their “theories”. And yet, the ASTRONOMERS who actually developed and published on these topics, Arp, Tifft, Burbidge, Schild etc. AFAIK do NOT embrace or endorse PC-EU! I would think if EU-PC is so much of an improvement over the present SM, then why would these ASTRONOMERS, who know a thing or two about bucking the mainstream, not wholeheartedly and unabashedly endorse it. It would seem they’re not very impressed with the “theory” either. You know, they could be raking in some money too from sales of books , DVDs ,T-shirts & coffee mugs endorsing EU-PC. As it is, a few usurpers are using their ideas, along with those of others, to generate income for themselves. They don’t even get a cut of the proceeds. Pity, as their work is frequently incorporated into numerous alternative “theories”. Maybe Jim Henson or his well known anonymous plasma physicist has an answer for that.


    Good call with the link to the Bridgeman paper. His ‘Creationism in Astronomy’ website has lots of good info debunking EU-PC too.

    [I should note I don’t endorse any of the tired light, quantized redshift etc. stuff. I just note this discrepancy, which EU-PC folk tend to ignore.]

  55. So 6sigma is what is reported, or referenced here. This is enough to raise eyebrows.

    It shouldn’t, and it doesn’t raise my eyebrows.

    It is 6 sigma against the modeled background vs the pattern, but not any uncertainty of *finding* the pattern in the first place. You will fit square patterns, flower patterns, three patterns and your grandma’s face against a gaussian background.

  56. I do not understand how someone can derive a conclusion about a prefase of a Big Bang with only limited information.

    Because “only limited information” is all we have when we observe the world.

    When atomic theory was accepted, it was because people could see brownian motion, not atoms themselves. We still can’t see them “directly, only indirectly” 8watever that means) by observation in, say AFM. Which, if you think about it, is the same as seeing them by light scattering into your eyes.

    You can see ions blink in ion traps, but if you don’t accept atomic theory they may as well be fairies for you.

    In the same way we can’t see elementary particles, fields or our grand-grand-grand-grand-mama. But we can observe their effects.

    Multiverses and our universe prehistory is no different.


    You are right. We always have to do with a limited view of information. This our fate, sigh….

    We look back into our own history. Can we detect the same photon emitted by another object twice? No, we can’t. We cannot see the history of our own atoms we consist of. Even a mirror only absorbs photons and emits a “lookalike” photon, with 180 degrees difference [but not with 100 % confidence].

    We are, regarding visibility, still off by one to two billion years regarding CMB radiation, according to our own assumptions (not taken into account the time-effect of dust [atoms] between observer and observed). What we see cannot be a part of the observed CMB- radiation. The universe is much bigger than we can observe, due to our limited line of sight. Another observer far away [out of our line of view because of the expanding universe] will see a completely different view of the CMB-radiation field.

  58. Question: If it’s possible for more than one big bang to occur at different “locations” (for lack of a better term), what would happen if the two universes collided?

  59. The Big-Bang is JUST ONE OF MANY smoking guns. Check out ScienceNews says “circular patterns in the CMB suggest the Big-Bang was only the latest of many.” This relic radiation of the CMB dates back eons earlier and has cycled through myriad episodes. SO, just like I’ve been saying all along, the big-bang is just a whimper compared to the entire universe ! These temperature differences cannot be explained by Inflation. The CMB is not anywhere close to being anistropic nor homogeneous, and is not “all sky” in the least. THe universe is far bigger then what you guys ever professed to believe about

  60. Torbjorn Larsson OM, 6sigma refers to the deviation from Gaussian structure, which is exp(-6) = 2.5e{-3} from unity. This is then a measure of some deviation from the fractal structure of the CMB, or the Hausdorff dimension, from the structure. This is enough to again I think raise eyebrows. We still have the question of whether this is an artifact of our own making — something we have imposed on the data by our digital filtering techniques.


  61. Poor Mr. Henson and poor me are rambling in vain here but, since I already dared jump into the fray, I might as well add a couple of things. Otherwise what was said will sound somewhat irrelevant, which it isn’t. At least no one’s calling me names…so far. May I suggest “Muppet Jr.”? At least it’s cute, and also we’re both talking about the same thing, more or less.

    First, the passage I quoted shows that there’s “no new thing under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9), and second, the Myth of the Eternal Return is disturbing because the “déjà vu” phenomenon seems to be indicating that there’s truth in it.

    I see few other explanations for a common spontaneous foreknowledge of the future. Has it been gone over an indefinite number of times, so that certain moments leave somewhere and somehow a residue or imprint? Besides, if the myth is true then the past, the present and the future are one and the same, and they’re the past, the present and the future only in relative terms, from the point of view of the “present” self, whatever that might mean.

    This sounds more like philosophy but it’s a legitimate subject matter now that cosmology is starting to mess around with that other field of study, in spite of itself, or, in other words, “malgré elle même”, to use the language they’re merrily tossing around here. It’s high time to launch a cross-disciplinary (interdisciplinary) effort involving two seemingly unrelated fields.

  62. Looks like Roger Penrose found the center of the Big Bang. Just plot that small dot in the center of the illustration on your galatic map and there you have it, the center of the universe. 🙂

  63. Daniel Rey M. said;

    Poor Mr. Henson and poor me are rambling in vain here but, since I already dared jump into the fray, I might as well add a couple of things. Otherwise what was said will sound somewhat irrelevant, which it isn’t. At least no one’s calling me names…so far. May I suggest “Muppet Jr.”? At least it’s cute, and also we’re both talking about the same thing, more or less.

    Far from it. It is not irrelevant IMO. AT least you are doing thinks via an inquiring mind, and cosmology has always had a philosophical component. Muppet (Snr.?) here has an agenda — mostly to promote his own website and crazy notions.

    (The Muppet tag is obvious for this individual, and even my avatar “Salacious. B. Crumb” from Star Wars, actually was a muppet too!)

  64. According to reports in ABC Television in Australia, the Australian Astronomical Observatory director, Dr Matthew Colliss says;

    …the work is highly speculative, both in terms of theory and the evidence it is based on.

    “It would certainly be a remarkable result if it proves to be true, but a lot of caution is required at this stage,” says Colliss.

    He says it is important to be sure when going through such a huge mass of data that you don’t end up simply seeing the patterns you want to see.

    “It’s fascinating speculation, but I’m going to take leave to doubt it until much more solid evidence is in place.”

    The image attached to the ABC article, shows this ring, not seen in this article lead image of the WMAP — which is incidentally comprised not of one but of six different CMB images placed over the top of each other.

    Kindly acks up some of my earlier comments on Penrose.

  65. The problem with the EU types here is that there are some loosely or poorly moderated physics blogs which have become dominated by wackos. The adage that bad money chases out good tends to hold true. You can end up with a blog site that is constantly filled with nonsense comments and people with otherwise intelligent things to say go away. It is curious that PC-EU people congregate here and not elsewhere so much. Pressure needs to be applied to keep nonsense trends from utterly dominating the forum.

    I have suspicions about the data on concentric rings to begin with. I think it likely if these are real they pertain to some acoustical signature of events prior to or during the inflationary phase of the universe.


  66. @LC, what do you have to say about the big bump at L=40 in WMAP’s spectral data?

    Is there a possibility this can be linked to any limited view of the CMB radiation?

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