Is big bang theory wrong
December 19, 2006 12:07pm CST
How the universe was created: Is the Big Bang theory wrong? - Research presents new beginning to universe February 10, 1999 By Matt Bell The Big Bang theory, which claims the universe began 15 billion years ago when a single point of unimaginable heat and density spontaneously exploded, is a scientific tale so well-known in popular culture that most people accept it as a fact. However, while the Big Bang theory explains many mechanisms of the universe, it leaves plenty of questions unanswered. What caused the Big Bang? Why is the universe flat rather than curved, as predicted by the theory of relativity? Why is matter clumped into galaxies but more uniform at larger scales? How did the laws of the universe come into being? Physics Prof. Andrei Linde has come up with a very different explanation for the universe's origin. In his theory, titled "The Self-Reproducing Inflationary Universe," the universe is constantly spawning new universes. "If my colleagues and I are right, we may soon be saying goodbye to the idea that our universe was a single fireball created in the Big Bang," Linde noted. According to his theory, no particles exist during the early stages of each universe's life. Instead, there is only something Linde calls an inflaton field, a region of space charged with energy. This energy drives the expansion of space itself, decreasing very gradually as the universe grows. Consequently, space will inflate exponentially, reaching an unimaginable size many orders of magnitude larger than the visible universe in a tiny fraction of a second. Once the energy of the inflaton field drops below a certain level, space ceases to expand, and the remaining energy forms the basic particles that make up the universe today. Since we can see only a tiny fraction of the universe, it appears flat even though, as a whole, it is curved according to Einstein's theory. However, the situation is a little more complicated. There are several different types of inflaton fields and multiple ways for the fields to settle into equilibrium. Thus, while our area of the universe may have one set of universal constants, physical laws and particles, another area may have a completely different structure.These differences, as well as the uneven distribution of matter in the universe, are caused by something called quantum fluctuations, which are tiny perturbations in the energy of space. Quantum fluctuations cause particles to constantly pop in and out of existence everywhere, even in a perfect vacuum. During inflation, these fluctuations create microscopic differences in the field's energy level, which become the size of galaxies as the universe expands. When the universe stops growing, the galaxy-sized areas with more energy end up with more particles. This explains why matter eventually clumps together into galaxies. Finally, in extremely rare cases, the quantum fluctuations will be sufficient to drive the energy of the inflaton field high enough that inflation will begin to occur again, creating a new universe. This inflation will essentially be the Big Bang for the new universe. Although our region of the universe is currently too low in energy to give birth to another universe, other regions at higher energy levels might be able to do so. "If life in our part of the universe were to disappear, then it will appear again someplace else. So the universe as a whole becomes immortal," Linde said in a previous interview. Linde has run several computer simulations exploring this reproduction process. The universe starts with a nearly homogeneous field, but some areas begin to inflate and give birth to other universes, which in turn give birth to even more universes. Despite the success of the computer model and the ability of his theory to elucidate many things left unexplained by the "Big Bang" theory, Linde has encountered resistance from other physicists. Linde said, "The theory is very simple, but we have a lot of psychological barriers to overcome." Like all theories, Linde's Self-Reproducing Inflationary Universe will have to answer to the continuing stream of data coming from astronomers and physicists.