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State of the Universe before Big Bang

  1. Aug 12, 2011 #1
    We can safely assume that Big Bang is the accepted answer to the question "How did the Universe, as we know it today, come into existence ?"

    I will split my question in two parts -

    1) What existed before the big bang ? I know Time and Space came into existence AFTER the Big Bang ; but its very hard to imagine the state of things that existed / didn't exist before this event.

    2) We can imagine a ray of light that shot-out from this event having traveled the current age of the universe , is at a certain point in space as of now. How farther can it possibly continue? Its like that ray is expanding the dimensions of space continuously. I know this is idiotic to ask, but to say that a particular entity is infinite in nature (space in this case) is in itself indigestible.

    I am not a Physics Major, so I expect helpful answers :cool:
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 12, 2011 #2
    1) This is always hard to argue because we just dont know for sure. In my opinion, I dont believe in the classical Big Bang Theory that there was nothing and then something that just popped into nowhere. It makes no sense.

    A theory that I have heard and absolutely agree with and believe is that there are 2 membrane like sheets in Space. When these 2 collide at 1 point, it makes an explosion, thus, creating the Big Bang and it expanded out from there. Its hard to imagine but they explained it on the TV show 'Through The Wormhole' <-- Great show btw. Think of when you throw a rock on the ground and sparks fly. Or, in a super collider when 2 atoms or protons meet and everything bursts out. But, it is much more complicated than that dealing with matter and other energies we dont know, but I think we are connecting the dots..

    2) This something else we dont know. It depends if the Universe is opened, closed, or flat, I think are the 3 terms. I think the light will travel forever until it dispurses so much that it undetectable or even just radiates away after tens of billions of lightyears.

    Great questions to think about.
  4. Aug 12, 2011 #3


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    Photos that were banging around in the early stages of the universe ("early" in this case is < about 400,000 years) did not get very far because of the unbelievably dense nature of the U back then. They were created and annihilated very quickly. The photos that we CAN see were emitted at what I believe is called "the surface of last scattering" and thus were created about 400,000 years AFTER the singularity.

    CosmisEye's part #2 looks to me to be correct concerning what happens to that light.

    I think I have this right, but we have LOTS of folks here who know this stuff better than I do and someone will jump in if I have it wrong.
  5. Aug 13, 2011 #4
    That is my very question. The fact that it will(or at least we assume it will) travel forever in space is not digestible. I have read about the spherical interpretation of the nature of space (which allows that ray of light to travel endlessly on the surface of the sphere but raises the question what is the nature of U outside that sphere).
  6. Aug 13, 2011 #5
    I saw somewhere that there was evidence on a large scale that there may be a multiverse out there. Large scale that a few million galaxies were looking like they were going in one direction, meaning that another U's gravity was pulling ours.

    I dont know what to think. If you could ask the earliest photon or radiated particle on the wall of the U this question, Im sure they would tell you. Who knows if its pure black, if they can see something in the distance, or something like dark energy is holding them back at the wall of true complete empty space.
  7. Aug 13, 2011 #6


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    Actually, it should be pretty digestible when you consider photon qualities as a particle. Just read about them in detail. Then, take into account the amount, or rather density of matter in the interstellar space, in between galaxies, etc. Of course, there is always a question about the light source and its intensity, I just assume we're talking about cosmology more than theoretical physics here. In the second case and with perfect vacuums, there is no stoppage at all (which should be obvious).

    Also, our universe is not really expanding, it's increasing its scale. Word "expanding" may be somewhat misleading, as it adds a space component into equation. This can occur at rate which would be described as "speed greater than a speed of light", which really isn't. Therefore, light coming from a galaxy moving away from the observer on Earth at such speed would never reach him - longer it travels, more and more distance is there to cover. This is a great example of this infinite travel of light, not in hypothetical conditions.
  8. Aug 14, 2011 #7
    I do not find the fact that the light could travel for infinite time covering infinite distance indigestible; Just that there IS infinite space for it to travel that sounds impossible. I mean, how can one event result into something infinite in nature. I don't believe there is any other event which yields in an 'infinite' result.

    Also,if physics be applicable to the BIG BANG, then we can say that energy in one form got converted into another (which now exists in the form of our universe). My question is, before big bang, in what perceivable form could it exist ? I am just looking out for views from learned people like you as I know there is no single school of thought as of now. Thank you in advance.
  9. Aug 14, 2011 #8
    Just as food for thought,

    Light may be able to travel for an infinite length of time, this doesnt mean it can always be percieved, eventually after travelling for an infinite amount of time, the light will have an infinitely long wavelength and so can never be observed fully except waiting another infinite length of time.

    Talking about infinities in this context is almost popintless.
  10. Aug 14, 2011 #9

    The question is faulty, as you have already figured out for yourself. Asking 'before' the big bang does not make sense, because time only came into being when the universe did. (Even here, this isn't exactly correct, as 'came into being' suggests something temporal, which is inapplicable here.)

    Then don't. ;) You shouldn't try to imagine something before this event, for the same reason that you shouldn't try to imagine a universe where both P and not-P are correct. It doesn't make sense.
  11. Aug 14, 2011 #10


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    In fact, pretty much everything could be described as infinite in nature. Conservation of information.

    Human kind, as a species, is biologically programmed to perceive the world surrounding him in a certain way, distinct for it. But as our intelligence grow, we struggle to see our world in more objective light. The fact is though, you cannot do it if you don't see and understand mathematics behind it. Your questions are not theological.

    As for now, there is simply no correct answer to this question. All you can say is that your theory has strong logical consistency.
  12. Aug 14, 2011 #11


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    For discussion see
    http://www.fortunecity.com/emachines/e11/86/big-bang.html [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  13. Aug 14, 2011 #12
    ^Good idea

    Ive heard of Hawking radiation and how tiny particles seem to emerge in space and destroy each other almost instantly. My question though is, well one is there proof, but also can that mean something as massive as the entire U also spntaniously emerge at the beginning? We may see particles of radiation but why cant plantes, stars, or BH do the same?

    The one thing that bothers me most is that there must have been space-time to begin with to have a big bang emerge from it. Is he saying that Space-time and the U began at the same time simulatniously, instantly from nowhere? It doesnt make sense to me. Actual space atleast had to exist already because thats where we formed. It had to be at some specific point, in some blackness, but why that exact point?

    Personally, I feel very very strong about the M-theory. It explains logically what happened at the point of the BB without magic happening. Space-time already existed, it explains at what point it all started, and explains the possibilty of a multiverse. The only major thing left is the matter. Like I said it looks like the inside of a super collider except at the grandest scale. I guess the next question is that how big are the membranes, how many are there, and what made the rest of whatever we cant see. Those are the questions that when I try and think about them, I get dumber lol

    You cant have something from nothing!
  14. Aug 14, 2011 #13


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    Davies is asserting spacetime was an emergent property of the Big Bang. Something from nothing is no big deal in the bizarre world of quantum physics.
  15. Aug 14, 2011 #14
    Why would you call quantum fluctuations nothing?
  16. Aug 15, 2011 #15
    @ Chronos - Please elucidate your response with some supporting explanations. Just mentioning Q. Physics bizarre is not enough.
  17. Aug 16, 2011 #16
    There are two ways you can take my question. Either you can find Language errors and discard the question; OR you can be a realist and perceive the question in the sense in which I have asked (and many others have understood), having accepted that there are some lingo errors. "Before" here does not imply a state on the time scale; just the state where you can faintly imagine nothing existed(not even time). You should not have a problem accepting the "existence" of such a state.

    For a person with a scientific bent of mind, its hard "to not imagine" . At least in the world of physics, "try not to imagine" means the same as accept things as they are. May be you are correct in asking me not to, for time did not actually exist then, but personally , I can't oblige to that :-) I need some strong views why I should not "imagine" :-)
  18. Aug 16, 2011 #17
    Thats like saying 'just because'..
  19. Aug 18, 2011 #18
    I think the question "what existed before the Big Bang" crosses disciplines into linguistics (grammar) and philosophy/metaphysics. The preposition "before" already denotes the existence of time, however, as you note time came into existence after the Big Bang. The preposition "after" also denotes a state of time, and "into" denotes a spatial state. The noun existence of course refers to a state of existence, "being-there".

    The implication is that a question such as yours exceeds the boundaries of a functional grammar by default. Yet, it isn't meaningless in any sense, everyone understands the logical difficulty; we have this abstract conception, an intuition, a trace of this "not-state", if you like, which as it were, compels us to ask it anyway.

    The question is fundamental. Lots of people have addressed it. The authors of Genesis explain it by way of God. More recently Martin Heidegger addressed it by a kind of crossing out of the word "Being" itself, whereas Derrida was so bold as to state, in reference to a science of differance "..it is impossible to have a science of the origin of presence itself, that is to say of a certain nonorigin." [Of Grammatology]

    Derrida refers us back to "the trace' and a certain arche-language whose traces we archive.

    Whether science can ever meaningfully answer this question depends on whether it will ever first come to construct the linguistic/symbolic capacities to describe the "not-state" to which you refer as a releveant hypothesis which can actually be tested against observable evidence. I'm not sure that's ever going to happen...

    I think the question inevitably crosses the line between physics and metaphysics, cosmology and meta-cosmology. Maybe the moment at which the universe came into being is an eternal, infinite moment, as is simultaneously the "not-state" of the cosmos "before" that moment, as at that moment the concepts time, space and being came upon themselves as such.

    It blows my mind. When I think about it too long my head wants to explode... :smile:
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2011
  20. Aug 18, 2011 #19


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    That might be true but it is by no means necessarily true. There are hypotheses that posit a different creation scenario than the one you are referring to (and I do NOT mean religious ones) and that do have an existance prior to the singularity that brought our universe into being.

    They DO of course seem to fail to answer the fundamental question of what started THEM so with them It's turles all the way down and then back to your statement.
  21. Aug 19, 2011 #20
    @ zielwolf - Thanks for your insight.. I am in complete agreement with your view of the feasibility of any experiment to test the existence of that 'non-state'....maybe we will never be able to come across anything that might be in the wildest fashion related to that 'not-state'..hence, I demand views and understand there is no certain 'answer' to my questions.

    I will be thankful if you can shed some light on the questions from a physics perspective. Thanks :-)
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