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Timeline of the Big Bang


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6 replies to this topic

#1
wjfox

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Some fascinating information here -

http://en.wikipedia..../Early_universe

It's just mind-blowing to imagine what actually happened back then. To think, there was a point in time when the Universe was smaller than an atom, then it grew to the size of a football, then the size of the Earth... and within a few seconds was many light years across.

Also interesting to note that - for a long time - the universe was so bright that it would have been completely opaque. If you could somehow travel back in time to that period, and survive being obliterated, you literally couldn't see your own hand in front of your face.

Anyway, not sure why I started this thread. Just an interesting link I guess :-)

#2
Caiman

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That the universe began does present an issue for proponents of the Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics (far and away the most popular amongst physicists), who rely on an observer causing quantum wave functions to collapse in order for an event to happen. Who/what collapsed the wave function that caused the universe to begin!?

~Jon


#3
Shimmy

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I'm not entirely convinced by our claimed accurate knowledge of the big bang explanation. It relies on a lot of assumptions and circumstantial evidence. Firstly the currently understood expansion rates depends almost entirely on things we have little to no understanding of. For the theory to work we have to accept that 73% of all the energy in the universe is something we have no understanding of and its existence was actually initially theorised to make the big bang model work. All of the evidence for it's existence is cosmological measurements and observations which basically tell us the universe doesn't obey our current understanding of the laws of physics and this concept was simply a correcting factor that is yet to be explained. After this we still have another 23% which we explain away as dark matter. Again the evidence for this is cosmological measurements which defy our current understanding of gravity, such as the fact stars on the outer edges of galaxies rotate much faster than they should and don't obey gravity in the way our solar system seems to do so well. So to solve this we invent a large galactic halo of stuff we can't see, and postulate its probably cold baryonic matter or possibly neutrinos. I consider it to be just as likely, if not more that the fact gravity acts differently in almost all large scale distant structures should imply there is a fault with our understanding of gravity itself. When you consider the huge orders of magnitude involved, there is every possibility that gravity acts differently within these huge distances than at the tiny distances our experiments can test. The same could be true of all forces but it happens that gravity becomes so dominant over all the others over large distances that we never even consider them. The belief that the big bang is the beginning of existence also troubles me somewhat. Even if we accept the model as being close to correct, it seems narrow minded to assume a lifeform brought into existence by luck would have the ability to observe (directly or indirectly) every component of the universe, in fact one could argue the very existence of dark energy implies we don't. If you throw a stone into a lake it will create ripples outward in a way similar to a simplified model of the big bang (the universe itself being the ripples), but this would in no way imply the ripples were all there were. Perhaps the air pressure against the water surface is analogous to dark energy, and shortly after the ripples began the stone sinks to the bottom of the lake leaving the observable universe behind and leaving the inhabitants of ripple universe trying to explain how the ripples began without allowing themselves to consider the extra-universal stone.

#4
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I never really got the whole big bang thing... I mean, here's my basic understanding of it. So, there was nothing, but then that nothing was something, then that something became an entire universe?

#5
Caiman

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The Dark Matter/Energy debate does confound me, on the surface it is indeed almost as if we've made this stuff up to explain our gaps in knowledge. In essence I know a lot of science has been successfully predicted that way i.e. we don't know what is causing X, but based on our existing knowledge it appears to be Y, then experiement and observation either confirms (as best as confirmation can be got) or refines that theory. But yes, 'our best guess' describes our current understanding of the universe- there's so much left to discover.

The existence of the uniform background microwave radiation and redshift of galaxies at the peripheries of the observable universe do lend weight to a finite history of the universe, or a specific point in time at which our observable universe began, but indeed there's no evidence really to suggest ours is the only universe and of course, there are plenty of multiverse theories out there. Would people be happier with an infinite, cyclical universe which expands and collapses ad infinitum, versus a single event that indeed, caused our universe to begin from nothing and expand forever afterwards?

I consider it to be just as likely, if not more that the fact gravity acts differently in almost all large scale distant structures should imply there is a fault with our understanding of gravity itself. When you consider the huge orders of magnitude involved, there is every possibility that gravity acts differently within these huge distances than at the tiny distances our experiments can test.

General Relativity doesn't work in the quantum world, so perhaps you're on to something in terms of it not working on the supermacro scale- but wouldn't the maths reveal this?

~Jon


#6
jmancuso

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I never really got the whole big bang thing... I mean, here's my basic understanding of it. So, there was nothing, but then that nothing was something, then that something became an entire universe?



There are theories stating that the Big Bang was the end of one universe and the begining of a new one, ours of which one day will eventually contract and repeat the cycle over again.

#7
Shimmy

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I never really got the whole big bang thing... I mean, here's my basic understanding of it. So, there was nothing, but then that nothing was something, then that something became an entire universe?



There are theories stating that the Big Bang was the end of one universe and the begining of a new one, ours of which one day will eventually contract and repeat the cycle over again.


The cosmological measurements we can make don't really support this theory, so unless we do misunderstand some part of the physics (quite possible) it seems its just going to slowly expand indefinitely and get gradually colder. But that doesn't rule out the possibility that there was a universe before which crunched and ours is the last one of a series.




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