A Peek Before Time and Stuff

After last week, I thought I was through with quantum physics and space-time theories for a while, but Mirth of Liberally Mirth tipped me off to this and I couldn’t resist:

It may be possible to glimpse before the supposed beginning of time into the universe prior to the Big Bang, researchers now say.

Unfortunately, any such picture will always be fuzzy at best due to a kind of “cosmic forgetfulness.”

The Big Bang is often thought as the start of everything, including time, making any questions about what happened during it or beforehand nonsensical. Recently scientists have instead suggested the Big Bang might have just been the explosive beginning of the current era of the universe, hinting at a mysterious past.

Huh? What’s this? Scientists might be able to observe events before the Big Bang? WTF!

To see how far into history one might gaze, theoretical physicist Martin Bojowald at Pennsylvania State University ran calculations based on loop quantum gravity, one of a number of competing theories seeking to explain how the underlying structure of the universe works.

Past research suggested the Big Bang was preceded by infinite energies and space-time warping where existing scientific theories break down, making it impossible to peer beforehand. The new findings suggest that although the levels of energy and space-time warping before the Big Bang were both incredibly high, they were finite.

Scientists could spot clues in the present day of what the cosmos looked like previously. If evidence of the past persisted after the Big Bang, its influence could be spotted in astronomical observations and computational models, Bojowald explained.

I would like to see what kind of influences that are left over from the Big Bang that could give clues that pre-date said event. And I sure as hell don’t know what loop quantum gravity is.

I’m not even going to hazard a guess at this other than to tell you to read the rest of the article, which is really easy reading. Then tell me what you think! (Glimpse Of Time Before Big Bang)

Private enterprise has been trying to make a break through market into the space tourism business for a while now. Companies such as Virgin Galactic, Space X, Scaled Composites (invested into by Virgin Galactic), Texas Space Authority, Jeff Bezos and others have planned various future sub-orbital and orbital flights for private citizens who can afford such luxuries. Orbital hotels are also in the planning stages and are essential to keep the interest of the public up:

An ISC Kosmotras Dnepr rocket launched Genesis 2 into space on June 28. The 15-foot (4.4-meter) module inflatable module is designed to expand to a diameter of about eight feet (2.54 meters) and carries 22 onboard cameras to relay scenes from both inside and outside the spacecraft. Personal items from paying customers, a “Biobox” with scorpions, ants and cockroaches, and a Space Bingo game are tucked inside the spacecraft as cargo.

I read about the Bigelow Module being launched last week. Bigelow Aerospace also has another inflatable module in orbit launched earlier (Bigelow Launches Prototype Space Habitat) to prove the viability of such a project. This is the first I’ve read about there being actual critters being on board the second module. This makes sense in that Bigelow’s goal is to link inflatable modules to make the first tourist hotels in space for profit. This is an instance where I support private efforts to revolutionize the space industry like various aircraft companies did during the 1920s, like barnstorming and of course, Lindberg’s flight across the Atlantic. Whether this advances Mankind’s expansion into the Universe is too early to tell, but it couldn’t hurt either. (Article at Space.com)

17 responses

  1. I linked to an old university article about loop quantum gravity but here’s Wikipedia’s version, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loop_quantum_gravity.

    It seems to be a little easier reading, after I read half a page, my head started to hurt, so I had to stop. Fascinating though!

    Bigelow rents/purchases launch vehicles from the Russians, which enables them to concentrate on their module development instead of building launch vehicles first, like other private companies are trying to do. This will give them a big edge and head start!

  2. Uber Highwayman | Reply

    The theory of a pre-extant universe is actually quite old, Dad. I remember reading about it in the early seventies in various works.

    The emerging matter from a white hole (imploded neutron star or galactic super-mass black hole) would be virtually unrecognizable after being crushed in it’s singularity. It’s an interesting theory, and may be one suggestion as to the ‘infinitesimal nature of God’, as it were.

    See? I can still think out of the box!


  3. The theory of a preexisting Universe goes back that far? A glimpse of God?

    I can think outside of the box, but my brain power hits a glass ceiling with this real esoteric stuff.

    I can understand and use physics and calculus to a point, but when you start talking about how the Universe acted before the Big Bang, loop quantum gravity and peeking at the essence of Creation, just how could one do that and understand what you’re looking at?

    Good tinfoil though!

  4. This kind of stuff gives me a headache trying to think about it. Doesn’t the Oscillating theory (which I heard about in the 70s) kind of deal with the pre-extant universe?

  5. Good link D, after reading that article it jogged my poor addled memory into action and I do recall that theory. The article in Space.com is almost the same except what this guy is saying that through this loop quantum gravity theory, scientists might be able to see pre-existing conditions before the Big Bang and they should still be able to identify some of those conditions now, but not a lot because the Universe has changed so much since then.

    The current theory of Universal Expansion still holds sway, in fact scientists claim it’s expanding faster because the edges of the Universe seem to be expanding faster than the speed of light. Don’t ask me how they can detect that.

    Physicist Frank J. Tipler is a great proponent of the Oscillating Universe and Omega Point Theories. I think you and UH would like reading his stuff. Hell, you guys probably already have! 😉

  6. Uber Highwayman | Reply

    It’s similar, D, but there are differences.

    The theory of the Oscillating Universe states that at some time in the distant future all matter will be pulled back together by gravitational force to explode and expand again, then be pulled back together to explode, expand, and return time and time again. The purpose of this theory is to explain how supposedly eternally ever-existing matter has endlessly been recycled time and time again. This theory has been used to explain how matter exists without a beginning, without being created.

    Some difficulties with the theory are there is not enough mass extant in the universe to create a gravitational force that can draw the galaxies back together. Second, the speed of the movement of the galaxies is too great for their gravity to reverse their movement. (3) The amount of deceleration indicates that galaxies will not slow down enough before they are too far apart to be brought back together. (4) The decrease of mass because of the depletion of nuclear energy will greatly decrease gravitational pull making a reversal impossible. And finally, all nuclear energy will finally be used up which will mean an end of the universe as we know it.

    The former theory that Dad talked about may or may not be based upon Oscillation, and may perhaps be merely the result of a conicidental universal cataclysm, and not a cyclic inevitability.

  7. Correction, Dr. Bojowald is stating that because of intense space-time warping distortions before the Big Bang occurred, we should be able to detect the after-affects now to a certain degree using loop quantum gravity theory.

    God, I’ve got a head-ache now!

  8. Uber Highwayman | Reply

    The theory of universal expansion goes well with the theological view of reality, and that was ONE defining reason for my ‘conversion’ so to speak.

  9. Uber Highwayman | Reply

    You’ve been using it as a battering ram again, jar-head!


  10. Yeah, my flat-top is flatter now, the trouble is, I’m bald!

    Man, I need a nap!

  11. It’s my understanding that the universe is expanding faster as time goes on because it is breaking free of whatever gravitational forces still exist in the ‘center’ and is thus able to pick up speed. How they can detect faster than light expansion….I don’t know but the very idea kind of throws Einstein’s assertion out the window.
    As far as detecting signs of what was there before the bang goes, I leave that to those who are WAY smarter than I. I look forward to hearing about their success though.
    I remember Tipler but need to refresh my reading of his stuff. I haven’t really looked into this kind of stuff in a long time.

  12. Thank UH. I remember that theory kind of died out but didn’t remember if I ever heard why. I had my own problems with it when I first studied it. I think with the acceleration of expansion indicates that the opposite of oscillation is true.

    Going for Advil now.

  13. I read an essay at one of my transhumanist sites about some of Tipler’s writings.

    He says even though the Universe may expand until a cold death, intelligence in the Universe will build the ultimate computer(non-material of course), upload itself and past dead people (races?) so that subjectively, the uploads will experience Eternity even though the Universe will die.

    This is about as close to a God scientific theory as one can get without actually converting. Tipler gets flamed a lot for this stuff.

    I might do a special on him sometime. Not today. I’m pretty spent. I’ll leave it to you smart people to thread this some more.

  14. Uber Highwayman | Reply

    And you guys think the concept of a beneficent creator over all is difficult to grasp?


  15. Uber Highwayman | Reply

    I mean beneficent “computer upload.”


  16. Well, kinda, but I explained it poorly. This is what he said:

    Intelligent beings of a far future epoch close to the gravitational collapse of the universe (the so called Big Crunch) may develop the capability to steer the collapse along a specific mode (Taub collapse) with unlimited subjective time, energy, and computational power available to them before reaching the final singularity. Having done so, they may wish to restore to consciousness all sentient beings of the past, perhaps through a “brute force” computational emulation of the past history of the universe. So after death we may wake up in a simulated environment with many of the features assigned to the afterlife world by the major religions. (from my Interview with Frank J. Tipler of November 2002).

    Here’s a link to Tipler’s book; The Physics of Immortality


    You’ve probably read him already, brainy as you are! He sounds like a guy after your own heart.

    And yes, supernatural forces are hard for people to comprehend, me one of them.

  17. Yeah, my flat-top is flatter now, the trouble is, I’m bald!
    LOL Dad2059!

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