Monday, November 29, 2010

What Happened Before The Big Bang - Breaking News

A couple of weeks ago I linked to a BBC Horizon programme that asked the question what happened before the Big Bang. In new research published this weekend Roger Penrose and Vahe Gurzadyan claim to have discovered evidence for a universe that existed before our own universe. The BBC explains it poorly here. Penrose and his collaborator explain it better here (the drawing is theirs). The idea is very simple. If indeed there was a universe that existed before our own the most dramatic event in that universe would be the impact of two galaxies crashing into one another. At the heart of every galaxy is a black hole and big galaxies have "supermassive" black holes at their centre. When huge two galaxies are drawn together by gravity the supermassive black holes eventually will also smash into one another. This event is so powerful, Penrose argues, that it will create enormous energy pulses that will reverberate throughout both that universe and into a new universe which is formed in the wake of a new Big Bang. Penrose and Gurzadyan say that they have found structural evidence for these events in the cosmic microwave background. If this paper is correct then the cyclical model of the universe is probably also correct and the entire history of the universe from birth to entropic death has happened countless times, almost certainly an infinite number of times in the past. And of course if the universe (or perhaps multiverse would be a better word) is infinitely old then logically, a previous Adrian McKinty typed this exact blog entry and a previous you read it and scratched your head, exactly the way you are doing now, a long, long, long time ago.