Philosophy undergrads aren’t the only ones who get to sit around questioning the origins of our existence. Quantum theorists have a similar job, and they’ve developed a new model that suggests our universe may not have gotten its start from a ‘Big Bang’ as previously thought. Instead, the model indicates that the universe has no finite beginning; it may also account for dark matter and dark energy, neatly tying up several problems at the same time.
Until now, scientists have generally agreed that the universe has celebrated about 13.8 billion birthdays, as calculated using Einstein’s theory of general relativity. The ‘Big Bang’ theory (no relation to the popular sitcom) relies on Einstein’s ideas to clearly explain what happens in the moments and years and eons following the expansion of the universe from a point of singularity, but it fails to offer an explanation for what happened prior to that event. For this reason, quantum theorists have long been brainstorming other possible explanations that don’t have such glaring inadequacies.
Ahmed Farag Ali, at Benha University and the Zewail City of Science and Technology (both in Egypt), and Saurya Das, at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, believe they have the answer to this quandary, as well as a few others. The two co-authored the paper outlining their new model, in which the universe has no beginning and no end. Their new quantum model, which the scientists refer to as ‘quantum correction terms,’ resolves the problem of the Big Bang singularity.
Das participated in a separate study, with Rajat Bhaduri of McMaster University, Canada, which has takes this model one step further. They theorize a new gravity particle that was present in the universe at all epochs. Further analysis of their model will be the future focus, as they seek to explore the potential to account for dark matter and dark energy.
Essentially, these cosmologists believe their model will take much of what we think about the origin of our universe and throw it out the window.
Images via NASA.