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Cosmos may show echoes of events before Big Bang - Comments

NewEnglandBob's Avatar Comment 1 by NewEnglandBob

It does not seem clear to me what Penrose is proposing.

Sun, 28 Nov 2010 17:44:32 UTC | #554840

born_again_atheist_superhero's Avatar Comment 2 by born_again_atheist_superhero

I notice that the article says the research is unpublished; maybe someone more familiar with science can correct me if I'm mistaken, but to me that says I should take this with a grain of salt. Especially with Professor Penrose never having been in favor of the current theory and his statement that "it's a revolutionary theory and here there appears to be some data that supports it."

From my (limited) understanding, I get the slight inkling that he may just be seeing what he wants to in his data and that it makes a good news story.

Anyone that feels like it would have my appreciation for elucidating this matter.

Sun, 28 Nov 2010 17:49:42 UTC | #554842

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 5 by Jos Gibbons

I read this earlier. When I did, I immediately checked the Arxiv article. It has no equations whatsoever. If Penrose had a decent model, I'd expect to see him print it. Remember when he was co-publishing theses with Hawking, as with the singularity theorems? Now he's all for solving the mystery of consciousness with twistor theory. This article does nothing to improve my low opinion of his efforts at frontier theoretical physics. I'd love to know why this kind of information in particular survives through a Big Bang, or how an old universe gives rise to a new one without a Big Crunch in his model. I've seen another model with similar ideas in previous years. It had to violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics, though not necessarily in a way which couldn't be excused by the new physics.

Sun, 28 Nov 2010 18:33:23 UTC | #554870

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 6 by Neodarwinian

We already have a cyclic theory purposed by Paul Steinhardt and Neil Turok that is much more developed than " I was never in favor of it, even from the start. "

Sun, 28 Nov 2010 18:42:47 UTC | #554875

Bernard Hurley's Avatar Comment 7 by Bernard Hurley

Hmmmm! I would like to see some more mathematics to back this up. As an (ex?)mathematician - I haven’t published anything of significance for decades - I still feel I have some talent at checking other people's stuff. But there is nothing here to check. The diagrams look pretty but what precisely are they supposed to illustrate?

Sun, 28 Nov 2010 19:51:38 UTC | #554930

Mr DArcy's Avatar Comment 8 by Mr DArcy

Well I suppose God isn't needed here either?

Sun, 28 Nov 2010 21:34:33 UTC | #554994

MumboJumbo's Avatar Comment 9 by MumboJumbo

Comment 6 by Neodarwinian :

We already have a cyclic theory purposed by Paul Steinhardt and Neil Turok that is much more developed than " I was never in favor of it, even from the start. "

For anyone curious, what is being referred to is the ekpyrotic universe model.

Sun, 28 Nov 2010 21:37:34 UTC | #554995

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 10 by Stafford Gordon

Comment 1: NewEnglandBob.

Although not qualified to comment with authority, what I think Professor Penrose is suggesting is that the big bang theory is too parochial.

Sun, 28 Nov 2010 21:37:51 UTC | #554996

msloane's Avatar Comment 11 by msloane

Awesome. I wish my physics and maths was up to a better understanding :o(

Sun, 28 Nov 2010 23:47:43 UTC | #555034

jamiso's Avatar Comment 12 by jamiso

Interesting.

To be honest, nothing fills me with joy more than when we find that everything we thought we knew was wrong. LOL

but anyway, there is probably years more research before there is a good reason to accept a new model. Still, cool stuff if it goes somewhere.

Mon, 29 Nov 2010 00:33:14 UTC | #555059

HappyPrimate's Avatar Comment 13 by HappyPrimate

Could be interesting. I read the article earlier on BBC website. Seems he has now published what evidence he finds compelling for his idea. We must now wait to see if others competent in that field can test this evidence and let the rest of know if we should alter our knowledge. I feel certain Dr. Hawkings and Dr. Krauss will be looking at it among others. I hope they will let us know soon.

Mon, 29 Nov 2010 01:00:34 UTC | #555074

Ropow's Avatar Comment 14 by Ropow

2008, Roger Penrose lecture to The Institute For Theortical Physics.

http://www.perimeterinstitute.ca/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=551&Itemid=568&lecture_id=7276

Mon, 29 Nov 2010 01:04:02 UTC | #555076

bethe123's Avatar Comment 15 by bethe123

The ideas within it support a theory developed by Professor Penrose - knighted in 1994 for his services to science - that upends the widely-held "inflationary theory".

Well, the inflationary theory has always been considered an unreasonably large extrapolation by some physicists, and saying it is "widely-held" is more a statement of fashion and not scientific correctness - regardless of how many cosmology books -- including Weinberg -- give it space. I had this discussion on this site a couple of years ago with a cosmologist who was defending the model...Of course, if you are a cosmologist and make your livelihood off such speculative theories, you don't have a lot of motivation to be scientifically honest with the lay public. Inflation has always suffered from the problem of being too large an extrapolation and thinking it is true is more magical than scientific thinking. Penrose never believed in inflation, and kept looking for a physically reasonable theory. Well done, Sir.

Mon, 29 Nov 2010 03:15:20 UTC | #555117

showmeproof's Avatar Comment 16 by showmeproof

Neil Turok gives a very good lecture at the Perimeter Institute detailing a cyclic universe. A book form has also been drafted along with his colleague Steinhardt titled Endless Universe. I think challenging the accepted paradigm is exciting. It is much to early to upend the current inflationary big-bang, but both theories fit within the observations. The cyclic model is more aesthetically pleasing to myself...but that has naught to do with reality. I still enjoy entertaining the idea though.

Mon, 29 Nov 2010 03:32:06 UTC | #555120

NH King's Avatar Comment 17 by NH King

Recalling the fun discussion between Dawkins and DeGrasse Tyson, I must agree with Richard.

I am paraphrasing.

Neil: We are in the center of the universe, and the universe has a radius of 13 billion light-years.

Richard: Oh, astronomy is easy enough to follow.

Neil: And for a galaxy 12 billion light years away, they are in the center of the universe and the universe has a radius of 1 billion light-years.

Richard: Now you're just fucking with me.

*note: joke stolen from SMBC by Zach Weiner.

Mon, 29 Nov 2010 04:22:20 UTC | #555132

prettygoodformonkeys's Avatar Comment 18 by prettygoodformonkeys

The universe is said to be 156 billion light-years wide, I have read. As the light has been travelling, the universe has been expanding at the same time. I pass this on not because I know much about it, but because I love to hear people who do, talk about it. Especially the part where the speed of light (constant) has not been exceeded in all of this. Anyone?

(if this is a derailing of the thread, I apologize. Well, just don't respond & we're good :o)

Mon, 29 Nov 2010 05:30:58 UTC | #555137

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 19 by Steve Zara

Well, the inflationary theory has always been considered an unreasonably large extrapolation by some physicists, and saying it is "widely-held" is more a statement of fashion and not scientific correctness

That's odd. I have just been watching some lectures by Lennard Susskind on cosmology, as part of a course he teaches at Stanford, and he said that he knows of virtually no-one these days who does not accept inflationary theory.

Mon, 29 Nov 2010 05:48:05 UTC | #555140

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 20 by Schrodinger's Cat

To my mind, there is a fundamental flaw in the Penrose observations.

The 'aeon' that he is talking about is absolutely humongously huge. We're talking about so far in the future that all black holes have fizzled out and the universe is just a sea of ultra long wavelength photons and nothing else. In other words maybe ( even allowing for accelerated expansion ) 10,000 times larger than it is today.

Indeed, the entire basis of Penrose's theory is precisely that the universe will have all but reached thermal equilibrium and it is that equilibrium ( Penrose defines it as photons losing a 'sense of time' ) that generates the new big bang. That surely has to be trillions of years after even the last black hole has evaporated.

Any energy imprint left over from black hole collisions would thus have been smeared out and expanded to oblivion....and would not be detectable in the new universe. The contradiction and flaw lies in the argument that these collisions occur shortly before the new big bang.......but that negates the very conditions that Penrose requires in order for the new big bang to occur !

Mon, 29 Nov 2010 06:31:30 UTC | #555150

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 21 by Schrodinger's Cat

Actually my 10,000 times larger is a gross underestimate, given that its all supposed to occur even after the last protons have decayed.....and the proton half life is 10 ^ 33 years......a billion billion times longer than the universe has already existed. Given accelerated expansion that would make it quadrillions of times larger.

Mon, 29 Nov 2010 06:49:45 UTC | #555158

rjohn19's Avatar Comment 22 by rjohn19

Zara-

From a layman's point of view, not entirely as valueless as you might suspect, let me support Bethe with an arguement.

I'd say inflationary theory is obviously not universally accepted or no other thoeries would be actively being sought and they are.

In the publish/perish world of science, there seems to be almost a desperation to come up with the hottest new theory to get some ink and network face-time- not to mention the remote possibility you actually be proven correct as opposed to your brilliant notion being relegated to the scrap heap of, "we used to think but now we know..."

Theoratical physicists are sounding more and more like theists all the time.

Someone says to you, "I've written this beautiful heirogliphical formula on my chalkboard. It explains almost everything but to make my math work, you have to imagine exponentially more matter and energy of the invisible and undetectable sort. You might even have to imagine (use your 'brane' here)several more dimensions than we are used to dealing with."

It sounds to lay ears as though they are employing the techniques of biblical fiction to justify the math.

It is my personal opinion the answers to Life, the Universe and Everything (no words for how much I miss Douglas Adams) will come from technology not yet imagined and not from a chalkboard. The chalkboard might lead to this technology but will not be in and of itself the answer.

If we survive as a species for another one thousand years or ten thousand years- hell think big- a million years, how backward will these attempts of today seem. At best, they will be viewed as building blocks.

True science is in its infancy- we've only been able to fly for a hundred years for goodness sake- a pittance of the time we have survived to date. To think we are even on the verge of having all the answers is, well, scientifically theistic.

Mon, 29 Nov 2010 07:49:25 UTC | #555171

Anaximander's Avatar Comment 23 by Anaximander

The universe is said to be 156 billion light-years wide, I have read. As the light has been travelling, the universe has been expanding at the same time.

As far as I understand, the most distant objects that we can now observe are now about 45-46 billion light-years away. So the diameter is about 90-92 billion light-years.

But that is the region we can observe. Very probably there are galaxies beyond our horizon and we do not know how big the entire universe is. It could be infinite.

156 billion light-years might mean that according to the measurements of the curvature of space the universe is at least that big. If the curvature is exactly zero (space is flat), the size should be infinite. But it is impossible to measure anything with infinite precision, so we do not know.

Mon, 29 Nov 2010 08:01:05 UTC | #555172

mmurray's Avatar Comment 24 by mmurray

Comment 18 by prettygoodformonkeys :

The universe is said to be 156 billion light-years wide, I have read.

According to wikipedia this is a popular mistake caused by people thinking the lower bound for the diameter of the whole (not just observable) universe (78 billion light-years) was a radius and doubling it. They give a list at that link of a number of popular misconceptions about the size of the universe.

Michael

Mon, 29 Nov 2010 08:06:40 UTC | #555173

Letsbereasonable's Avatar Comment 25 by Letsbereasonable

So existence did not begin with the Big Bang. The Big Bang happened within an already existing existence. This just removes the origin by one. What was the origin of the newly formulated existence - "our aeon"?

This is all getting rather fantastical don't you think?

Mon, 29 Nov 2010 12:47:11 UTC | #555272

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 26 by AtheistEgbert

Comment 25 by Letsbereasonable :

So existence did not begin with the Big Bang. The Big Bang happened within an already existing existence. This just removes the origin by one. What was the origin of the newly formulated existence - "our aeon"?

This is all getting rather fantastical don't you think?

Speculation about events before the big bang were considered meaningless until recently. Now scientists are beginning to speculate about a pre-big bang universe. There are several different theories, but that they're willing to actually speculate on them shows just how far we've come.

Mon, 29 Nov 2010 13:10:28 UTC | #555285

SomersetJohn's Avatar Comment 27 by SomersetJohn

Sounds to me like they are throwing out (almost) random hypotheses and seeing if any of them stick to the wall.

In itself not a bad thing, the problems start when various individuals begin to take them seriously before sufficient evidence has accreted.

Mon, 29 Nov 2010 13:35:12 UTC | #555296

ecollazo's Avatar Comment 28 by ecollazo

That's just too funny! But that's what I love about science, it never ceases to amaze the hell out of me.

Comment 17 by NH King :

Recalling the fun discussion between Dawkins and DeGrasse Tyson, I must agree with Richard.

I am paraphrasing.

Neil: We are in the center of the universe, and the universe has a radius of 13 billion light-years.

Richard: Oh, astronomy is easy enough to follow.

Neil: And for a galaxy 12 billion light years away, they are in the center of the universe and the universe has a radius of 1 billion light-years.

Richard: Now you're just fucking with me.

*note: joke stolen from SMBC by Zach Weiner.

Mon, 29 Nov 2010 14:34:42 UTC | #555330

TeraBrat's Avatar Comment 29 by TeraBrat

I've heard the cyclical theory before. It does make some sense, except that we're not seeing any evidence that the universe will be contracting at any time. If we find evidence for that then the cyclical theory has validity IMO.

Mon, 29 Nov 2010 18:06:40 UTC | #555446

bethe123's Avatar Comment 30 by bethe123

"To my mind, there is a fundamental flaw in the Penrose observations. The 'aeon' that he is talking about is absolutely humongously huge." - Schrodinger's Cat

That struck me as strangely reminiscent of comments Darwin made about large times in his theory and in geology:

"He who can read Sir Charles Lyell's grand work on Principles of Geology,...yet does not admit how incomprehensible vast has been the past period of time, may at once close this volume" -- Darwin, On the Origin of Species, first edition, pg. 282

AS long as there is no violation or contradiction of known physical law, large times increase the number of theories one may consider.

In fact Darwin asked for even more time than physics (Lord Kelvin, in fact) had calculated!

" I am greatly troubled at the short duration of the world according to [Kelvin], for I require for my theoretical views a very long period before the Cambrian formation" -- Darwin, as quoted by Burhfield, Lord Kelvin and the Age of the Earth

And in the 6th Edition of The Origin of Species:

"With respect to the lapse of time not having been sufficient since our planet was consolidated for the assumed amount of organic change, and this objection, as argued by [Kelvin], is probably one of the greated yet advanced, I can only say, firstly that we do not know at what ratet species change as measured by years, and secondly, that many philosophers are not as yet willing to admit that we know enough of the constituion of the universe and of the interior of the globe to speculate with safety on its past duration "-- Darwin, Origin of Species, 6th edition, page 409

It was only in 1904 when Rutherford discovered the large amounts of heat released by radio-active radium, that Kelvin's calculations could give the large times that Darwin needed...but anyway, large times are not necessarily a bad thing.

Mon, 29 Nov 2010 18:39:25 UTC | #555467