For me, it is the most exciting historical tale, but it didn’t actually start with a single infinitesimal point. The story begins with a very small region of the early universe, cosmologists and the theory of inflation say so. Alan Guth explains it better:
What the Big Bang theory tells us is that at least our region of the universe 13.82 billion years ago was an extremely hot, dense, uniform soup of particles, which in the conventional standard Big Bang model filled literally all of space –and now we certainly believe it filled essentially all the space that we have access to– uniformly. Now I should point out that this is contrary to a popular cartoon image of the Big Bang, which is just plain wrong. The cartoon image of the Big Bang is the image of a small egg of highly dense matter that then exploded and spewed out into empty space. That is not the scientific picture of the Big Bang. And the reason is not because it’s illogical. It’s hard to know what’s logical or illogical in this context. But simply based on what we see, if there was a small egg that exploded into empty space, you would certainly expect that today you would see something different if you were looking toward where the egg was versus looking the opposite direction. But we don’t see any effect like that. When we look around the sky, the universal looks completely uniform, on average, in all directions to very high degree of accuracy.
So, what came before the standard Big Bang? How do we explain this incredible expansion? Alan Guth, again:
Inflation is a prequel to the conventional Big Bang theory. It’s a short description of what happened before, immediately before, the Big Bang. So inflation really is an explanation of the bang of the Big Bang in the sense that it does provide a theory of the propulsion that drove the universe into this humongous episode of expansion which we call the Big Bang.
Modern particle theories strongly suggest that at very high energies, there should exist forms of matter that create repulsive gravity. Inflation, in turn, proposes that at least a very small patch of the early universe was filled with this repulsive-gravity material. The initial patch could have been incredibly small, perhaps as small as 10^-24 centimeter, about 100 billion times smaller than a single proton. The small patch would then start to exponentially expand under the influence of the repulsive gravity, doubling in size approximately every 10^-37 second. At some point the inflation ends because the repulsive-gravity material becomes metastable. The repulsive-gravity material decays into ordinary particles, producing a very hot soup of particles that form the starting point of the conventional Big Bang. At this point the repulsive gravity turns off, but the region continues to expand in a coasting pattern for billions of years to come. Thus, inflation is a prequel to the era that cosmologists call the Big Bang, although it of course occurred after the origin of the universe, which is often also called the Big Bang.
Mathematics and theoretical physics stop here, we don’t know what was before the inflation and what is beyond our visible universe… at least for now.
If you want to know more in detail this wonderful story, you can click here and then here. Or you can read “Deconstructing the Bang” (Chapter 10) of The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene.
Koda awakens from a particularly deep and peaceful slumber, his alarm
ringing insistently…it would be fine except he seems to be stuck on
his back, pinned under the weight of a big, blueberry tum…. poor
guy…that otter teach you to pass out before you find someone to juice
you U uU
heehee thank you so much for your support Otterlyhuge! i hope you dig it,
it was a lot of fun to paint…especially all his berry/goat/otter stuff