Why Science Will Never Know Everything About Our Universe
“The Universe itself may be finite or may be infinite; the jury is still out. But one thing is certain: the part that’s accessible to us is finite. Even with the expanding Universe, even with all the galaxies and stars and planet and molecules and atoms and subatomic particles in it, there’s only so much we can access. And those limitations – the total numbers of particles and the total amount of energy available in the Universe – means there’s only a finite amount of information we can determine about our cosmos. For the first time, we can quantify that, and begin to infer which things we might never understand.”
As we peel back the layers of information deeper and deeper into the Universe’s history, we uncover progressively more knowledge about how everything we know today came to be. The discovery of distant galaxies and their redshifts led to expanding Universe, which led to the Big Bang and the discovery of very early phases like the cosmic microwave background and big bang nucleosynthesis. But before that, there was a period of cosmic inflation that left its mark on the Universe. What came before inflation, then? Did it always exist? Did it have a beginning? Or did it mark the rebirth of a cosmic cycle? Maddeningly, this information may forever be inaccessible to us, as the nature of inflation wipes all this information clean from our visible Universe.