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  1. #1
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    Before the Big Bang

    According to Einstein's general theory of relativity, the Big Bang represents The Beginning, the grand event at which not only matter but space-time itself was born. While classical theories offer no clues about existence before that moment, a research team at Penn State has used quantum gravitational calculations to find threads that lead to an earlier time. "General relativity can be used to describe the universe back to a point at which matter becomes so dense that its equations don't hold up," says Abhay Ashtekar, Holder of the Eberly Family Chair in Physics and Director of the Institute for Gravitational Physics and Geometry at Penn State. "Beyond that point, we needed to apply quantum tools that were not available to Einstein." By combining quantum physics with general relativity, Ashtekar and two of his post-doctoral researchers, Tomasz Pawlowski and Parmpreet Singh, were able to develop a model that traces through the Big Bang to a shrinking universe that exhibits physics similar to ours.

    In research reported in the current issue of Physical Review Letters, the team shows that, prior to the Big Bang, there was a contracting universe with space-time geometry that otherwise is similar to that of our current expanding universe. As gravitational forces pulled this previous universe inward, it reached a point at which the quantum properties of space-time cause gravity to become repulsive, rather than attractive. "Using quantum modifications of Einstein's cosmological equations, we have shown that in place of a classical Big Bang there is in fact a quantum Bounce," says Ashtekar. "We were so surprised by the finding that there is another classical, pre-Big Bang universe that we repeated the simulations with different parameter values over several months, but we found that the Big Bounce scenario is robust."

    While the general idea of another universe existing prior to the Big Bang has been proposed before, this is the first mathematical description that systematically establishes its existence and deduces properties of space-time geometry in that universe.

    The research team used loop quantum gravity, a leading approach to the problem of the unification of general relativity with quantum physics, which also was pioneered at the Penn State Institute of Gravitational Physics and Geometry. In this theory, space-time geometry itself has a discrete 'atomic' structure and the familiar continuum is only an approximation. The fabric of space is literally woven by one-dimensional quantum threads. Near the Big-Bang, this fabric is violently torn and the quantum nature of geometry becomes important. It makes gravity strongly repulsive, giving rise to the Big Bounce.

    "Our initial work assumes a homogenous model of our universe," says Ashtekar. "However, it has given us confidence in the underlying ideas of loop quantum gravity. We will continue to refine the model to better portray the universe as we know it and to better understand the features of quantum gravity."

    The research was sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, and the Penn State Eberly College of Science.

  2. #2
    blindside Guest

    Re: Before the Big Bang

    wow great research. So wouldn't it be safe to say that the "big bang" wasn't really the beginning at all. In fact, this universe has been in existance for far longer than we can even comprehend. I feel like this could be the case, also that there are indeed multiple universes, all intertwined. We happen to see and live in the smallest realm of existance, where energies have taken shapes and atoms and molecules can be seen.

    This really does raise questions even more. Ok so how long has this been going on before the "big bang", how many universes are there, and can a universe be created or destroyed? The PENN team now makes us think not only was the big bang the beginning, but how long and how many times has this gone on before.

    I feel like we are in a solar system shaped by gravity, in a galaxy shaped by gravity, in a universe shaped by gravity, which is also inside of something even larger which is shaped by gravity and so on. My head is spinning.

  3. #3
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    Re: Before the Big Bang

    Oh and the original article is here http://www.science.psu.edu/alert/Ashtekar5-2006.htm I didn't mean to make it seem like I wrote that =p

    Sure, the expansion and contraction theory has been around for decades, it's trippy :) there are other theories that are equally amazing too, for example String Theory predicts our universe exists on one three dimensional membrane (or brane for short) which floats around a higher dimensional "something" (another brane but to avoid confusion by using the word brane to discribe two completely different things I will call the high dimensional brane "something") and big bangs could be due to other branes which are also inside the "something" colliding.

    This also raises an interesting possible prediction about what we think is "dark matter". We predict the existence of dark matter because there is too much gravity in our universe for how much matter we can see, so it's a logical conclusion that this gravity would be coming from matter we can't see.
    But an idea in String Theory is that while all strings are confined to our membrane (universe) - they're semi-circles with the open ends attached to the membrane - the strings of gravitons (particles of gravity that are predicted by ST also) are full circles so aren't confined to our membrane, so are interchangeable between branes. If this completely wacky and unproven but still mathematically solid theory were to be true, the mysterious gravity we see may be coming from another brane or other branes (other universes) as opposed to dark matter.

  4. #4
    blindside Guest

    Re: Before the Big Bang

    I think the universal or multi universal shaping could be something the greeks had discovered was key to life, that everything is in a 6X8 ratio. If you look at a sea shell from the back of a hermit crab or some other crustacian, it seems to be in a 6X8 ratio, shaped completely by gravity. The animal did not mold the shell in any particular way, it merely was the most fit defense and its shaped was largely based of the gravity of this planet. Look at the spiralling sea shell, and then to a hurricane, they are the same shape. Shaped by gravity and energy. Then look to our galaxy, which also seems to resemeble a hurricane, shaped and molded by intense energy and gravity. I feel that our universe in turn would also be shaped in this matter, in a 6x8 ratio of gravity and energy.

    And then wouldn't our universe, also be held deep within another realm, with the same 6x8 shape similar to a hurricane and galaxies. Idk if this was making sense, just had this intense thought visualization and been thinking about existance, as we all are. Is there any merit to this 6x8 gravitational shaping rant?

  5. #5
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    Re: Before the Big Bang

    Quote Originally Posted by blindside
    I think the universal or multi universal shaping could be something the greeks had discovered was key to life, that everything is in a 6X8 ratio. If you look at a sea shell from the back of a hermit crab or some other crustacian, it seems to be in a 6X8 ratio, shaped completely by gravity. The animal did not mold the shell in any particular way, it merely was the most fit defense and its shaped was largely based of the gravity of this planet. Look at the spiralling sea shell, and then to a hurricane, they are the same shape. Shaped by gravity and energy. Then look to our galaxy, which also seems to resemeble a hurricane, shaped and molded by intense energy and gravity. I feel that our universe in turn would also be shaped in this matter, in a 6x8 ratio of gravity and energy.

    And then wouldn't our universe, also be held deep within another realm, with the same 6x8 shape similar to a hurricane and galaxies. Idk if this was making sense, just had this intense thought visualization and been thinking about existance, as we all are. Is there any merit to this 6x8 gravitational shaping rant?
    It's an interesting idea but I don't really think so.
    I dunno though, convince me! :)

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    Re: Before the Big Bang

    Originally posted by SubJunk
    "General relativity can be used to describe the universe back to a point at which matter becomes so dense that its equations don't hold up,"
    Just a question - I'm not really all that well-versed in quantum theory ( I know more a little bit, but I'm certainly no scholar), but this is more a question of mathematics - If the equations don't hold up under all circumstances, aren't they basically incorrect? Or is it (somewhat) that the variables change so much as matter becomes so incredibly dense that the actual formulas have to be altered?

  7. #7
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    Re: Before the Big Bang

    I think ideas like space and time are created in our minds. They can not have begining and end just like the mind does not have a begining and end. I used to spend time and effort trying to understand the big bang, the forever expanding theory, the forever colapsing and expanding theory and then I read some books about the nature of our mind that made more sense to me. We as people have collective karma to experience the physical universe in the same way. Eighter the single big bang or the repeating big bang, I am not sure which one shows more physical evidence at this time. Eigther way that is not the actual objective nature of the universe. Only a truly enlightened being can see and understand the nature of the universe. I am not talking about god. My understanding of the books I read is that any human being can become aware of the true nature of the universe but it takes a lot of mental work of the individual as well as the scientific methods. Is this is more of a religios post I just wrote? Sorry. To me its one and the same. The nature of reality. Both sience and religion try to understand it and explain it.
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  8. #8
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    Re: Before the Big Bang

    Quote Originally Posted by CoolitDown13
    Just a question - I'm not really all that well-versed in quantum theory ( I know more a little bit, but I'm certainly no scholar), but this is more a question of mathematics - If the equations don't hold up under all circumstances, aren't they basically incorrect? Or is it (somewhat) that the variables change so much as matter becomes so incredibly dense that the actual formulas have to be altered?
    Sorry to butt in, but I don't think they're necessarily incorrect. According to the cosmic inflation theory, mere milliseconds after the big bang, gravity became repulsive rather than attractive, and expanded the universe beyond what is currently observable. Does that make gravity incorrect? Well, we know that it's not incorrect since we can observe it.

    It seems to me, from the astronomy class I had last semester, that a lot of stuff that we (or scientists) take for granted doesn't hold up when everything gets really dense.

  9. #9
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    Re: Before the Big Bang

    Did they tell you in astronomy class what was prior to the big bang?
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    Re: Before the Big Bang

    well,not to be long and complicated since relativity/SIMPLICITY is my "holy grail"!?but.......string theory is/has been expressed in circular o-ring(light) like quantum effects.......does that say "HALO"to anyone!?and consider the distortion of a perfect halo as the interjection into lens effect space/time/gravity!?hehe!!but as to what was before the big bang.i guess we have to consider the oldest recorded religions.like the upanishads!?(of india)for they speak of an eternal expansion and contraction!?from energy to matter!?or light to darkness!?what do i know!?hehe!!

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    Re: Before the Big Bang

    Quote Originally Posted by CoolitDown13
    Just a question - I'm not really all that well-versed in quantum theory ( I know more a little bit, but I'm certainly no scholar), but this is more a question of mathematics - If the equations don't hold up under all circumstances, aren't they basically incorrect? Or is it (somewhat) that the variables change so much as matter becomes so incredibly dense that the actual formulas have to be altered?
    No it doesn't mean the equation is incorrect, but I do see what you're saying and it's a good point.
    What happens is that the way things work become so different that it's like you're looking at something that isn't anything remotely like our universe, that it's another universe entirely.
    Our current math is 99.9999 etc accurate for our universe but during the very early time after the big bang things just didn't follow any rules that we can predict, and possibly no rules that it's possible to ever predict (you no doubt know of the uncertainty principle in quantum mechanics) for example types of forces (like MichaelM is getting at) acted very differently and were indistinguishable.
    Like the electromagnetic force, the strong nuclear force (which is responsible for holding protons and neutrons together inside of atoms) and the weak nuclear force (which is responsible for radioactive decay) what happens is that the hotter the temperature gets, the more those forces merge and cease to be separate forces. The electroweak force for example is made at high temperatures when the electromagnetic force and the weak nuclear force form to be one. It's predicted (but not mathematically shown yet, it's kindof hard to work out :p) that all forces were the combined for a tiny tiny fraction of a nanosecond after the big bang, and because science is based on things we can observe and are in accordance with the laws of our Universe, it's pretty hard to theorise about how the big bang worked because it was completely different to our observable universe.

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    Re: Before the Big Bang

    the big bang!!what's so complicated about that!?(relativity rules!?)take the small bang for instance.what is it composed of!?and what are the results!?matter tranformed into energy and back again!?or partial transformation!?hehe!!god is not complicated!?only ignorance makes it seem so!?and the definition of ignorance is.........neeed to know!?and the definition of need to know is......survival!?real, or economic!?hehe!!I DONT HAVE A CLUE!?but you do!?and then maybe..........WE do?!hehe!!just askin.....and remember..beauty is in the "eye" OF THE PLUCKED OUT BEHOLDER!?i read that somewhere!?hehe!!WHO KNEW!?hehe!!.......i have this thing about plucked!?it's so personal!?hehe!!just askin.........
    Last edited by lexx; 05-20-2006 at 08:26 AM.

  13. #13
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    Re: Before the Big Bang

    Alright. I'm going to make this as logical as it gets. First, "they" tell us life began from ancient prokaryotic cells. Prokaryotic cells reproduce ASEXUALY, meaning they make EXACT copies of themselves. Anybody who knows what evolution is would know that without diversity, natural selection is not possible.

    Now lets just say, for the sake of the evolutionists that somehow these EXACT COPIES were different accidentally. Whoops. Again and again and again "good mistakes" kept happening in the carbon copies until we had eukaryotic cells (I have no clue how that is logical, as eukaryotic cells are VERY COMPLEX compared to prokaryotic. Then more "good mistakes" kept happening until we had fungi.

    Now here is the fun part. Put on your thinking caps, and turn off the logical part. Evolution says that this is where all the magic happend. ASEXUALY reproducing fungi evolved into the first forms of SEXUALY reproducing plants. Hold on. SAY WHAT!?!? This statement is telling us that two "good mistakes" happend at the same time, and FIT TOGETHER PERFECTLY TO REPRODUCE SEXUALY. Yes kids, that means a perfectly functioning sperm, and a perfectly functioning egg were accidentally evolved at the SAME TIME PERIOD and in a close enough area that the two "whoopsie love birds" could run into each other. THEN we had "sexual reproduction" and "diversity" and "survival of the fittest" and "natural selection". PLEASE.

    Isn't it time we stop making excuses and making a fool of ourselves? We know from science itself that matter comes from matter. So obviously there is more to it than what we can see. God is more real than we will ever know. "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities- his eternal power and divine nature- have been clearly seen, being understood from WHAT HAS BEEN MADE, so that men are without excuse. ROMANS 1:20. The world is Gods masterpiece. Lets stop trying to explain away how it was painted, and worship the painter.

  14. #14
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    Re: Before the Big Bang

    Quote Originally Posted by knuperup
    Alright. I'm going to make this as logical as it gets. First, "they" tell us life began from ancient prokaryotic cells. Prokaryotic cells reproduce ASEXUALY, meaning they make EXACT copies of themselves. Anybody who knows what evolution is would know that without diversity, natural selection is not possible.

    Now lets just say, for the sake of the evolutionists that somehow these EXACT COPIES were different accidentally. Whoops. Again and again and again "good mistakes" kept happening in the carbon copies until we had eukaryotic cells (I have no clue how that is logical, as eukaryotic cells are VERY COMPLEX compared to prokaryotic. Then more "good mistakes" kept happening until we had fungi.

    Now here is the fun part. Put on your thinking caps, and turn off the logical part. Evolution says that this is where all the magic happend. ASEXUALY reproducing fungi evolved into the first forms of SEXUALY reproducing plants. Hold on. SAY WHAT!?!? This statement is telling us that two "good mistakes" happend at the same time, and FIT TOGETHER PERFECTLY TO REPRODUCE SEXUALY. Yes kids, that means a perfectly functioning sperm, and a perfectly functioning egg were accidentally evolved at the SAME TIME PERIOD and in a close enough area that the two "whoopsie love birds" could run into each other. THEN we had "sexual reproduction" and "diversity" and "survival of the fittest" and "natural selection". PLEASE.

    Isn't it time we stop making excuses and making a fool of ourselves? We know from science itself that matter comes from matter. So obviously there is more to it than what we can see. God is more real than we will ever know. "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities- his eternal power and divine nature- have been clearly seen, being understood from WHAT HAS BEEN MADE, so that men are without excuse. ROMANS 1:20. The world is Gods masterpiece. Lets stop trying to explain away how it was painted, and worship the painter.
    Well basically you (or whoever wrote this) don't know what you're talking about. I can point out what's wrong about the post if you want or do you just want to admit you don't know enough about it? This isn't the old "I don't know how to respond so I'll insult you" tactic, by the way, I'm just trying to save time. And can you please not copy and paste the same post to multiple threads in the future. Thanks

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    Re: Before the Big Bang

    Quote Originally Posted by SubJunk
    Well basically you (or whoever wrote this) don't know what you're talking about. I can point out what's wrong about the post if you want or do you just want to admit you don't know enough about it? This isn't the old "I don't know how to respond so I'll insult you" tactic, by the way, I'm just trying to save time. And can you please not copy and paste the same post to multiple threads in the future. Thanks
    is this a polite long winded way of saying......F-OFF!?hehe!!.....just askin.....

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    Re: Before the Big Bang

    Quote Originally Posted by CoolitDown13
    Just a question - I'm not really all that well-versed in quantum theory ( I know more a little bit, but I'm certainly no scholar), but this is more a question of mathematics - If the equations don't hold up under all circumstances, aren't they basically incorrect? Or is it (somewhat) that the variables change so much as matter becomes so incredibly dense that the actual formulas have to be altered?

    I think you are right about the laws of physics being dependant on matter and energy being roughly as dense as the what we see near us to be correct.

    If you look at say, pythagorus's theorus, A^2 = b^2 + c^2 in a right angle triangle, you can prove this under almost all circumstances. But this is only the rule in a 2 dimetional triange. Later, he found that this is actually only a subset of the real "law of cosines":

    A^2 + B^2 - 2ABcos(c) = C^2 You can see that if angle c is 90 degrees, that cos(90) is zero and you are left with pythagorus's theorum.

    I think most of the laws we have are subset of the real laws of physics and are just generalizations for the way the world works.

    Ask yourself this - in watching a proof of a law of physics, how many times did someone say " this force is negligable so we'll equate it to zero" ?

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