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The Small Particle That Started The Big Bang

  1. Oct 26, 2009 #1
    Now, assuming the big bang theory is true, how can we explain how that first tiny particle got there? If that small particle of energy did form from nothing, what are some of the scientific laws that this would go against?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 27, 2009 #2


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    A well-known scientist once gave a public lecture on astronomy. He described how the earth orbits around the sun and how the sun, in turn, orbits around the center of a vast collection of stars called our galaxy. At the end of the lecture, a little old lady at the back of the room got up and said: "What you have told us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise." The scientist gave a superior smile before replying, "What is the tortoise standing on?" "You're very clever, young man, very clever", said the old lady. "But it's turtles all the way down!"

    These sorts of questions lead to an infinite regression.
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2009
  4. Oct 27, 2009 #3
    A modern scientist might have quoted it, but the original source of "turtles all the way down" is an old Hindu story, as explained in the book by mythology scholar Joseph Campbell.
  5. Oct 28, 2009 #4


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    Note that the Big Bang theory (the scientific one, not the popular cartoon version) does not state that the Universe began from a single particle. It does not require the Universe to have a finite age. The scientific theory explains the Universe from today up until around 13-14 Billion years ago when the Universe was very hot and dense. However we cannot extrapolate beyond a limiting density, because the laws of physics that we understand breakdown.

    Therfore the BBT is compatible with the Universe being infintely old (it could have been in a very dense state for an eternity, and then for some reason began expanding), compatible with infinite cycles of expansion and contraction, or just about anything else you can think of.

    The are limits to the applicability of our known laws of physics, that these limits mean that you are not characterising the BBT, you are talking about one possible extrapolation of it into unknown territory.
  6. Oct 28, 2009 #5
    Ryuk1990, do you mean getting the universe from an instanton?
    We don’t have a physics of quantum gravity that tells us what happened at time = zero, so something may form from nothing and it wouldn’t go against any existing scientific laws.
  7. Oct 28, 2009 #6
    At this small of a scale I think it must be the case that the single particle was equivalent to all of spacetime itself; the properties of spacetime at that time was equivalent to the properties of the single particle at that time. This is a hint that in general spacetime gives rise to particles. virtual particles no doubt. I suspect that there must be a way to equate particle characteristics to spacetime characteristics; one must be an alternative view of the other.

    It is completely logical to have a true conclusion from a false premise, at least this is what we are told from the truth table for the logical connective of material implication, you know, the IF, THEN statements. And to start any description of something you must start with a coordinate system. So it seems we must start with the ability to describe material implication with coordinates before we can proceed to particles properties.
  8. Oct 28, 2009 #7
    Isn't that a really drawn out way of saying that we are guessing?
  9. Oct 28, 2009 #8
    Well nobody really knows.
    At Planck scale and smaller supposedly everything is violent and energetic.."quantum foam" like a roiling malestrom....the smaller the distance/volume the more wild quantum undulations become exhuibiting increasing instantaneous bursts of Planck Energy. "Everything that is not prohibited is mandatory" suggests all sorts of things will pop from such instability...even multiverses....there are an infinite number of undulations going on all the time so expect everything imaginable to occur.
  10. Oct 28, 2009 #9

    I was going to say the same thing
  11. Oct 28, 2009 #10
    Yes, I just wanted to suggest some elements that would be necessary to figure out a ToE that includes how the universe began. Certainly, a coordinate system is necessary simply to distinguish one thing from another. And of course logic will be necessary in order that you have a consistent description.
  12. Oct 29, 2009 #11
    Yes we are guessing. I claim that the big bang was the result of hyperdimensional turtles mating. Prove it wasn't. If you can't, then that explanation is just as good as any other explanation.

    Now if you can come up with an explanation for the big bang that you can *disprove* via observations then we are getting somewhere. Once you get to the inflationary era, then we are in the realm of statements that we can make that we can show to be wrong. But you reach a point at which "hyperdimensional turtles mating" is just as good an explanation as any other.
  13. Oct 29, 2009 #12
    Also there is no particular reason to think that what happens pre-big bang has to be logically consistent or follow the rules of causality. In fact there is a cool paper by Meg Tegmark that argues that you can only have causality under certain numbers of dimension, and it's easy to come up with mathematical structures which are not logically consistent.
  14. Oct 29, 2009 #13
    This is a great quote from "Plan 9 from Outer Space"

    Criswell: My friend, you have seen this incident based on sworn testimony. Can you prove that it didn't happen?
  15. Oct 29, 2009 #14


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    Of course, the same thing can be said about some accounts of ghosts and unicorns... :wink:
  16. Nov 2, 2009 #15
    Could you say that, beyond the fact that the visible universe appears to be expanding from a central point, we still have no idea what actually took place at the center point. The "hyper-dimensional turtle" hypothesis while good at making a point does kind of detract from the other theory. If you propose a hypothesis and then compair it to a HDT (hyper-dimensional turtle) you run the risk of the two being seen in the same light.
  17. Nov 2, 2009 #16
    There is no 'central point'
    All points are equal

    Another important note: mass and energy are not conserved in the Cosmology
  18. Nov 2, 2009 #17
    There has to be a central point if there is supposed to be a single point or origin for big bang to occur from.

    My reference is to the "big bang origin" being 0,0,0.

    I'm not trying to argue that there is a preset grid for the universe.
  19. Nov 2, 2009 #18
    No there is not. Just live with it, no mater how counter-intuitive it is. Any way it is considered as temporal singularity, not spatial. And if there was central point cosmological principle would be doomed.
  20. Nov 2, 2009 #19
    Also, if Universe is infinite now, it was infinite from the very beginning
  21. Nov 2, 2009 #20


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    Back to the ol' balloon analogy.

    The universe is a three-dimensional volumetric thing, but for clarity, let's drop a dimension and consider a universe that is only two-dimensional. It is in the shape of a deflated latex balloon, and starts at zero size.

    The balloon now inflates to two feet in diameter. Where on the surface of the balloon is the origin: 0,0? There is no unique point on the surface. All points on the surface of the balloon started off at coordinate 0,0.

    Furthermore, an observer anywhere on the surface of the balloon will see himself as stationary while all other points on the balloon move away from him, making it appear (rightly so) that he is at the centre of the universe.
  22. Nov 2, 2009 #21
    I think we are arguing about two different things. I guess my grid would exist withen "space". Defining space as the place where the Universe exists (or doesn't). Would this be a better way to word my statement?

    I wasn't really trying to make an argument based on the grid coor. as defined by the universe, but one defined on space.
  23. Nov 2, 2009 #22


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    And the difference is?
  24. Nov 2, 2009 #23
    That is a very good question?

    What difference does it make. I am making an argument that the Universe is expanding from a common point. You are saying that all points are equal. This is a unrelated argument. If you are saying that within the Universe points don't matter, it doesn't change the fact that there appears to be a common origin. It is more of a philosophical argument that all of the points in the universe are equal. You can establish a grid from any point that you choose within space.

    On the other hand, the Universe is expanding... What is it expanding in?

    Why can there be no explanation for what the universe exists in, I had always thought this was considered to be space. Space exists in the same realm as time. They are both simply a measure of something, or nothing in this matter.

    Am I starting to drift into another realm of science here?
  25. Nov 2, 2009 #24
    If you think that my separate definition of space and the universe are flawed can you please give me a word that describes a grid which contains the universe in which the axis extends infinitely beyond the limits of the observable and theoretical universe?
  26. Nov 2, 2009 #25
    There is no "outside" of the universe, just inside. Balloon analogy is nice, but it has its flaws. One being that it implies some kind of boundary.
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