13.8 billion years ago, our universe went through a very brief and very intense moment of expansion emerging from a singularity – a point of infinite density and temperature where the laws of physics no longer apply. For the past several decades, society has accepted this so called “Big Bang Theory” as truth. But some in the scientific community are disputing the shortcomings and misconceptions of this theory. For one, the Big Bang does not acknowledge the origin of our universe, but its evolution. The uncertainty of the singularity has led some scientists to doubt the entire theory as well, as Einstein’s formulas break down before the potential singularity can be reached. So the idea of the singularity is just that: an idea, an estimation of the unknown.
If the Big Bang doesn’t help us determine the origin of our universe, how can we discover our true cosmic beginnings? Here are two alternative theories that aim to answer that question:
This theory illustrates a universe that perpetually contracts and expands. Brazilian physicist Juliano Cesar Silva Neves, a proponent of this theory, claims that the Big Bang never happened; rather the universe that we know evolved from the contraction phase of another universe. He has proposed his own theory – a combination of Bouncing Cosmology and a modification of black hole physics. This variation of black hole physics creates a hypothetical phenomenon without a singularity which is classified by distance to its center, not by its mass like a typical black hole. Since “regular” black holes do not have singularities, Neves claims that his theory avoids the need for a singularity in the beginning of universal expansion too. He notes, however, that this is still hypothetical. “There is no empirical evidence for bouncing cosmologies today,” he says. “But there is no evidence for the initial singularity as well.” If his theory is true, though, it might be possible to find remnants from previous cycles of expansion and contraction that manifest as black holes or gravitational waves.
Like Bouncing Cosmology, this theory also assumes an infinite universe. However, this one states that the universe is filled with a quantum fluid made up of theoretical massless particles that “carry” the force of gravity. These particles are known as gravitons. Physicists Saurya Das of University of Lethbridge and Ahmed Farag Ali of Zewail City of Science and Technology propose that gravitons existed in the early stage of the universe and caused it to expand and accelerate. To formulate this theory, Das and Ali combine quantum mechanics equations with Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity and generate a quantum correction that eliminates the Big Bang singularity, resulting in an infinite universe. Since the mathematical trajectories of the cosmos never cross, this theory removes all chances of cosmic “bounces”, “bangs”, or “contractions”, although they claim that the universe had been much smaller at one time and is still expanding because of those mysterious gravitons.
The origin of our universe is a contentious topic and has already caused rifts in the scientific community. Even though new theories aim to find our beginning, alternatives to the Big Bang aren’t necessarily superior and still don’t conclusively explain our origin. In fact, a true starting point seems impossible when contemplating an infinite universe. But, while it is easy to criticize theories that are different than what we’re accustomed to, they are still valuable in expanding our perceptions and bringing us closer to a fuller understanding of the cosmos.
Pultarova, Tereza. “What If the Big Bang Wasn’t the Beginning? New Study Proposes Alternative.” Space.com, 5 Dec. 2017,www.space.com/38982-no-big-bang-bouncingcosmology-theory.html.
Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo. Possible” vestiges of a universe previous to the Big Bang.” ScienceDaily, 27 November 2017. www.sciencedaily.com/ releases/2017/11/171127105935.htm.
Ali, Ahmed Farag, and Saurya Das. “Cosmology from Quantum Potential.” Cornell University Library, 29 Dec. 2014, arxiv.org/pdf/1404.3093v3.pdf.