Big Bounce

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The Big Bounce is a hypothetical cosmological model for the origin of the known universe. It was originally suggested as a phase of the cyclic model or oscillatory universe interpretation of the Big Bang, where the first cosmological event was the result of the collapse of a previous universe. It receded from serious consideration in the early 1980s after inflation theory emerged as a solution to the horizon problem, which had arisen from advances in observations revealing the large-scale structure of the universe. In the early 2000s, inflation was found by some theorists to be problematic and unfalsifiable in that its various parameters could be adjusted to fit any observations, so that the properties of the observable universe are a matter of chance. Alternative pictures including a Big Bounce may provide a predictive and falsifiable possible solution to the horizon problem, and are under active investigation as of 2017. [1]

Universe Universe events since the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago

The Universe is all of space and time and their contents, including planets, stars, galaxies, and all other forms of matter and energy. While the spatial size of the entire Universe is unknown, it is possible to measure the size of the observable universe, which is currently estimated to be 93 billion light-years in diameter. In various multiverse hypotheses, a universe is one of many causally disconnected constituent parts of a larger multiverse, which itself comprises all of space and time and its contents.

Cyclic model cosmological model in which the universe follows infinite, or indefinite, self-sustaining cycles

A cyclic model is any of several cosmological models in which the universe follows infinite, or indefinite, self-sustaining cycles. For example, the oscillating universe theory briefly considered by Albert Einstein in 1930 theorized a universe following an eternal series of oscillations, each beginning with a Big Bang and ending with a Big Crunch; in the interim, the universe would expand for a period of time before the gravitational attraction of matter causes it to collapse back in and undergo a bounce.

Big Bang The prevailing cosmological model for the observable universe

The Big Bang theory is the prevailing cosmological model for the observable universe from the earliest known periods through its subsequent large-scale evolution. The model describes how the universe expanded from a very high-density and high-temperature state, and offers a comprehensive explanation for a broad range of phenomena, including the abundance of light elements, the cosmic microwave background (CMB), large-scale structure and Hubble's law. If the observed conditions are extrapolated backwards in time using the known laws of physics, the prediction is that just before a period of very high density there was a singularity which is typically associated with the Big Bang. Current knowledge is insufficient to determine if the singularity was primordial.

Contents

Expansion and contraction

The concept of the Big Bounce envisions the Big Bang as the beginning of a period of expansion that followed a period of contraction. In this view, one could talk of a Big Crunch followed by a Big Bang, or more simply, a Big Bounce. This suggests that we could be living at any point in an infinite sequence of universes, or conversely the current universe could be the very first iteration. However, if the condition of the interval phase "between bounces", considered the 'hypothesis of the primeval atom', is taken into full contingency such enumeration may be meaningless because that condition could represent a singularity in time at each instance, if such perpetual return was absolute and undifferentiated.

Big Crunch Theoretical scenario for the ultimate fate of the universe

The Big Crunch is a theoretical scenario for the ultimate fate of the universe, in which the expansion of the universe eventually reverses and the universe recollapses, ultimately causing the cosmic scale factor to reach zero, an event potentially followed by a reformation of the universe starting with another Big Bang. The vast majority of evidence indicates that this theory is not correct. Instead, astronomical observations show that the expansion of the universe is accelerating, rather than being slowed down by gravity, suggesting that it's more likely for a Big Freeze to occur.

Gravitational singularity location in space-time where the gravitational field of a celestial body becomes infinite

A gravitational singularity, spacetime singularity or simply singularity is a location in spacetime where the gravitational field of a celestial body is predicted to become infinite by general relativity in a way that does not depend on the coordinate system. The quantities used to measure gravitational field strength are the scalar invariant curvatures of spacetime, which includes a measure of the density of matter. Since such quantities become infinite within the singularity, the laws of normal spacetime cannot exist.

The main idea behind the quantum theory of a Big Bounce is that, as density approaches infinity, the behavior of the quantum foam changes. All the so-called fundamental physical constants, including the speed of light in a vacuum, need not remain constant during a Big Crunch, especially in the time interval smaller than that in which measurement may never be possible (one unit of Planck time, roughly 10−43 seconds) spanning or bracketing the point of inflection.

Quantum foam or spacetime foam is the fluctuation of spacetime on very small scales due to quantum mechanics. The idea was devised by John Wheeler in 1955.

In physics, a dimensionless physical constant, sometimes called a fundamental physical constant, is a physical constant that is dimensionless, i.e. a pure number having no units attached and having a numerical value that is independent of whatever system of units may be used. Perhaps the best-known example is the fine-structure constant, α, which has an approximate value of ​1137.036.

In quantum mechanics, the Planck time is the unit of time in the system of natural units known as Planck units. A Planck time unit is the time required for light to travel a distance of 1 Planck length in a vacuum, which is a time interval of approximately 5.39 × 10 −44 s. The unit is named after Max Planck, who was the first to propose it.

If the fundamental physical constants were determined in a quantum-mechanical manner during the Big Crunch, then their apparently inexplicable values in this universe would not be so surprising, it being understood here that a universe is that which exists between a Big Bang and its Big Crunch.

The Big Bounce Models, however do not explain much about how the currently expanding universe will manage to contract. This constant and steady expansion is explained by NASA through the expansion of the universe.

Expansion of the universe increase in distance between parts of the universe over time

The expansion of the universe is the increase of the distance between two distant parts of the universe with time. It is an intrinsic expansion whereby the scale of space itself changes. The universe does not expand "into" anything and does not require space to exist "outside" it. Technically, neither space nor objects in space move. Instead it is the metric governing the size and geometry of spacetime itself that changes in scale. Although light and objects within spacetime cannot travel faster than the speed of light, this limitation does not restrict the metric itself. To an observer it appears that space is expanding and all but the nearest galaxies are receding into the distance.

History

Big bounce models have a venerable history[ further explanation needed ] and were endorsed on largely aesthetic grounds[ which? ][ when? ] by cosmologists including Willem de Sitter, Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker, George McVittie and George Gamow (who stressed that "from the physical point of view we must forget entirely about the precollapse period"). [2]

Willem de Sitter Dutch cosmologist

Willem de Sitter was a Dutch mathematician, physicist, and astronomer.

Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker German physicist

Carl Friedrich Freiherr von Weizsäcker was a German physicist and philosopher. He was the longest-living member of the team which performed nuclear research in Germany during the Second World War, under Werner Heisenberg's leadership. There is ongoing debate as to whether or not he and the other members of the team actively and willingly pursued the development of a nuclear bomb for Germany during this time.

By the early 1980s, the advancing precision and scope of observational cosmology had revealed that the large-scale structure of the universe is flat, homogenous and isotropic, a finding later accepted as the Cosmological Principle to apply at scales beyond roughly 300 million light-years. It was recognized that it was necessary to find an explanation for how distant regions of the universe could have essentially identical properties without ever having been in light-like communication. A solution was proposed to be a period of exponential expansion of space in the early universe, as a basis for what became known as Inflation theory. Following the brief inflationary period, the universe continues to expand, but at a less rapid rate.

Various formulations of inflation theory and their detailed implications became the subject of intense theoretical study. In the absence of a compelling alternative, inflation became the leading solution to the horizon problem. In the early 2000s, inflation was found by some theorists to be problematic and unfalsifiable in that its various parameters could be adjusted to fit any observations, a situation known as a fine-tuning problem. Furthermore, inflation was found to be inevitably eternal, creating an infinity of different universes with typically different properties, so that the properties of the observable universe are a matter of chance. [3] An alternative concept including a Big Bounce was conceived as a predictive and falsifiable possible solution to the horizon problem, [4] and is under active investigation as of 2017. [5] [1]

The phrase "Big Bounce" appeared in the scientific literature in 1987, when it was first used in the title of a pair of articles (in German) in Stern und Weltraum by Wolfgang Priester and Hans-Joachim Blome. [6] It reappeared in 1988 in Iosif Rozental's Big Bang, Big Bounce, a revised English-language translation of a Russian-language book (by a different title), and in a 1991 article (in English) by Priester and Blome in Astronomy and Astrophysics. (The phrase apparently originated as the title of a novel by Elmore Leonard in 1969, shortly after increased public awareness of the Big Bang model with of the discovery of the cosmic microwave background by Penzias and Wilson in 1965.)

Martin Bojowald, an assistant professor of physics at Pennsylvania State University, published a study in July 2007 detailing work somewhat related to loop quantum gravity that claimed to mathematically solve the time before the Big Bang, which would give new weight to the oscillatory universe and Big Bounce theories. [7]

One of the main problems with the Big Bang theory is that at the moment of the Big Bang, there is a singularity of zero volume and infinite energy. This is normally interpreted as the end of the physics as we know it; in this case, of the theory of general relativity. This is why one expects quantum effects to become important and avoid the singularity.

However, research in loop quantum cosmology purported to show that a previously existing universe collapsed, not to the point of singularity, but to a point before that where the quantum effects of gravity become so strongly repulsive that the universe rebounds back out, forming a new branch. Throughout this collapse and bounce, the evolution is unitary.

Bojowald also claims that some properties of the universe that collapsed to form ours can also be determined. Some properties of the prior universe are not determinable however due to some kind of uncertainty principle.

This work is still in its early stages and very speculative. Some extensions by further scientists have been published in Physical Review Letters. [8]

In 2003, Peter Lynds has put forward a new cosmology model in which time is cyclic. In his theory our Universe will eventually stop expanding and then contract. Before becoming a singularity, as one would expect from Hawking's black hole theory, the universe would bounce. Lynds claims that a singularity would violate the second law of thermodynamics and this stops the universe from being bounded by singularities. The Big Crunch would be avoided with a new Big Bang. Lynds suggests the exact history of the universe would be repeated in each cycle in an eternal recurrence. Some critics argue that while the universe may be cyclic, the histories would all be variants.[ citation needed ] Lynds' theory has been dismissed by mainstream physicists for the lack of a mathematical model behind its philosophical considerations. [9]

In 2006, it was proposed that the application of loop quantum gravity techniques to Big Bang cosmology can lead to a bounce that need not be cyclic. [10]

In 2011, Nikodem Popławski showed that a nonsingular Big Bounce appears naturally in the Einstein-Cartan-Sciama-Kibble theory of gravity. [11] This theory extends general relativity by removing a constraint of the symmetry of the affine connection and regarding its antisymmetric part, the torsion tensor, as a dynamical variable. The minimal coupling between torsion and Dirac spinors generates a spin-spin interaction which is significant in fermionic matter at extremely high densities. Such an interaction averts the unphysical Big Bang singularity, replacing it with a cusp-like bounce at a finite minimum scale factor, before which the universe was contracting. This scenario also explains why the present Universe at largest scales appears spatially flat, homogeneous and isotropic, providing a physical alternative to cosmic inflation.

In 2012, a new theory of nonsingular big bounce was successfully constructed within the frame of standard Einstein gravity. [12] This theory combines the benefits of matter bounce and Ekpyrotic cosmology. Particularly, the famous BKL instability, that the homogeneous and isotropic background cosmological solution is unstable to the growth of anisotropic stress, is resolved in this theory. Moreover, curvature perturbations seeded in matter contraction are able to form a nearly scale-invariant primordial power spectrum and thus provides a consistent mechanism to explain the cosmic microwave background (CMB) observations.

A few sources argue that distant supermassive black holes whose large size is hard to explain so soon after the Big Bang, such as ULAS J1342+0928, [13] may be evidence for a Big Bounce, with these supermassive black holes being formed before the Big Bounce. [14] [15]

See also

Related Research Articles

Physical cosmology Universe events since the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago

Physical cosmology is a branch of cosmology concerned with the studies of the largest-scale structures and dynamics of the universe and with fundamental questions about its origin, structure, evolution, and ultimate fate. Cosmology as a science originated with the Copernican principle, which implies that celestial bodies obey identical physical laws to those on Earth, and Newtonian mechanics, which first allowed those physical laws to be understood. Physical cosmology, as it is now understood, began with the development in 1915 of Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity, followed by major observational discoveries in the 1920s: first, Edwin Hubble discovered that the universe contains a huge number of external galaxies beyond the Milky Way; then, work by Vesto Slipher and others showed that the universe is expanding. These advances made it possible to speculate about the origin of the universe, and allowed the establishment of the Big Bang theory, by Georges Lemaître, as the leading cosmological model. A few researchers still advocate a handful of alternative cosmologies; however, most cosmologists agree that the Big Bang theory explains the observations better.

Inflation (cosmology) theory of rapid expansion of the universe

In physical cosmology, cosmic inflation, cosmological inflation, or just inflation, is a theory of exponential expansion of space in the early universe. The inflationary epoch lasted from 10−36 seconds after the conjectured Big Bang singularity to some time between 10−33 and 10−32 seconds after the singularity. Following the inflationary period, the universe continues to expand, but at a less rapid rate.

Loop quantum gravity Theory of quantum gravity, merging quantum mechanics and general relativity

Loop quantum gravity (LQG) is a theory of quantum gravity, attempting to merge quantum mechanics and general relativity, while incorporating the standard model particles. It assumes, from general relativity, that space-time is a dynamic entity not a fixed framework. It competes with string theory, another candidate for a theory of quantum gravity. In contrast to LQG, in string theory the starting point is usually a fixed background, making the theory appear to be background-dependent. However, the closed string excitations inevitably give rise to a dynamical independent background which is determined by the quantum consistency of the theory.

The ekpyrotic universe is a cosmological model of the early universe that explains the origin of the large-scale structure of the cosmos. The model has also been incorporated in the cyclic universe theory, which proposes a complete cosmological history, both the past and future.

Ultimate fate of the universe Topic in physical cosmology

The ultimate fate of the universe is a topic in physical cosmology, whose theoretical restrictions allow possible scenarios for the evolution and ultimate fate of the universe to be described and evaluated. Based on available observational evidence, deciding the fate and evolution of the universe have now become valid cosmological questions, being beyond the mostly untestable constraints of mythological or theological beliefs. Many possible futures have been predicted by different scientific hypotheses, including that the universe might have existed for a finite and infinite duration, or towards explaining the manner and circumstances of its beginning.

White hole Hypothetical celestial object, antagonistic to a black hole

In general relativity, a white hole is a hypothetical region of spacetime which cannot be entered from the outside, although matter and light can escape from it. In this sense, it is the reverse of a black hole which can only be entered from the outside and from which matter and light cannot escape. White holes appear in the theory of eternal black holes. In addition to a black hole region in the future, such a solution of the Einstein field equations has a white hole region in its past. However, this region does not exist for black holes that have formed through gravitational collapse, nor are there any known physical processes through which a white hole could be formed. Although information and evidence regarding white holes remains inconclusive, the 2006 GRB 060614 has been proposed as the first documented occurrence of a white hole.

In theoretical physics, the Einstein–Cartan theory, also known as the Einstein–Cartan–Sciama–Kibble theory, is a classical theory of gravitation similar to general relativity. The theory was first proposed by Élie Cartan in 1922 and expounded in the following few years.

Quantum cosmology attempts to develop a quantum mechanical theory of cosmology

Quantum cosmology is the attempt in theoretical physics to develop a quantum theory of the Universe. This approach attempts to answer open questions of classical physical cosmology, particularly those related to the first phases of the universe.

Paul Steinhardt American cosmologist

Paul Joseph Steinhardt is an American theoretical physicist and cosmologist who is currently the Albert Einstein Professor in Science at Princeton University.

Eternal inflation is a hypothetical inflationary universe model, which is itself an outgrowth or extension of the Big Bang theory.

Loop quantum cosmology (LQC) is a finite, symmetry-reduced model of loop quantum gravity (LQG) that predicts a "quantum bridge" between contracting and expanding cosmological branches.

Future of an expanding universe Future scenario assuming that the expansion of the universe will continue forever

Observations suggest that the expansion of the universe will continue forever. If so, then a popular theory is that the universe will cool as it expands, eventually becoming too cold to sustain life. For this reason, this future scenario once popularly called "Heat Death" is now known as the Big Chill or Big Freeze.

Nikodem Popławski Polish physicist

Nikodem Janusz Popławski is a Polish theoretical physicist, most widely noted for the hypothesis that every black hole could be a doorway to another universe and that the universe was formed within a black hole which itself exists in a larger universe. This hypothesis was listed by National Geographic and Science magazines among their top ten discoveries of 2010. Popławski appeared in an episode of the TV show Through the Wormhole titled "Are There Parallel Universes?" and in an episode of the Discovery Channel show Curiosity titled "Is There a Parallel Universe?", which were hosted by Morgan Freeman and aired in 2011. He was named by Forbes magazine in 2015 as one of five scientists in the world most likely to become the next Albert Einstein.

Black hole cosmology

A black hole cosmology is a cosmological model in which the observable universe is the interior of a black hole. Such models were originally proposed by theoretical physicist Raj Pathria, and concurrently by mathematician I. J. Good.

References

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  12. Cai, Yi-Fu; Damien Easson; Robert Brandenberger (2012). "Towards a Nonsingular Bouncing Cosmology". Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics . 2012 (8): 020. arXiv: 1206.2382 . Bibcode:2012JCAP...08..020C. doi:10.1088/1475-7516/2012/08/020.
  13. Landau, Elizabeth; Bañados, Eduardo (6 December 2017). "Found: Most Distant Black Hole". NASA . Retrieved 6 December 2017. "This black hole grew far larger than we expected in only 690 million years after the Big Bang, which challenges our theories about how black holes form," said study co-author Daniel Stern of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
  14. Jamie Seidel (7 December 2017). "Black hole at the dawn of time challenges our understanding of how the universe was formed". News Corp Australia. Retrieved 9 December 2017. It had reached its size just 690 million years after the point beyond which there is nothing. The most dominant scientific theory of recent years describes that point as the Big Bang — a spontaneous eruption of reality as we know it out of a quantum singularity. But another idea has recently been gaining weight: that the universe goes through periodic expansions and contractions — resulting in a “Big Bounce”. And the existence of early black holes has been predicted to be a key telltale as to whether or not the idea may be valid. This one is very big. To get to its size — 800 million times more mass than our Sun — it must have swallowed a lot of stuff. ... As far as we understand it, the universe simply wasn’t old enough at that time to generate such a monster.
  15. Youmagazine staff (8 December 2017). "A Black Hole that is more ancient than the Universe" (in Greek). You Magazine (Greece). Retrieved 9 December 2017. This new theory that accepts that the Universe is going through periodic expansions and contractions is called "Big Bounce"

Further reading