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  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chambered View Post
    What's north of the north pole?
    Read Stephen Hawking much?

  2. #12
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    WHAT?!?
    I couldn't remember where I'd heard or read it, but when I did, it was the best way I found to visualize time starting with the big bang.

  3. #13
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    I hate to break it to you and Phil Plait (who by the way isn't always right) but there are several theoretical physicists, one from Cambridge, working on M-theory who don't believe that time started with our Big Bang but has always existed. If true, then it most certainly does make sense to ask what happened before the Big Bang.

    And the predominant theory first proposed by Stephen Hawking, Devlin_DC doesn't say that everything in creation was compressed into a confined space before the Big Bang, but rather in an infinitely small space (i.e. a singularity). The problem here is no longer an astrophysical one but rather a problem for particle physicists and their colliders, such as the LHC. What it is that we don't understand and what Einstein himself could not understand is how gravity behaves on the quantum level and why does it appear to be so weak in our universe. In other words, what is being attempted here is a reconciliation between general relativity and quantum mechanics. Then and only then can we understand what was going on when our universe was a singularity. And it is only by momentarily creating a micro black hole in the LHC at CERN, thus replicating the conditions right before the Big Bang, will we be able to understand how the very large (i.e. gravity) works on the very small scale (i.e. the quantum level).

    As far as the universe having no center or edge, even if it were a closed universe and had enough mass to halt the expansion of the universe and then cause it to collapse in on itself, it still would not have a center or an edge. The model used for a closed universe is a sphere where the entire universe is only on the surface of the sphere. Where would the center and edges be on the surface of a sphere?

    But two competing teams, Cosmology with Supernovae: The High-Z Supernova Search and the Supernova Cosmology Project have both shown using Type 1a supernovae as a standard candle that 1) because of dark energy, which makes up most of the universe, the universe is neither closed nor finite and 2) the expansion of the universe isn't slowing down, but rather accelerating! What this means is that our universe is flat or very nearly flat and space is infinite. Now with chaotic inflation theory first proposed by Alan Guth in his 2007 paper, Eternal inflation and its implications it is very possible to have an infinite universe. Why the universe has no center is very simple: 1) the big bang happened everywhere so the whole universe is the center and 2) where would the center of an infinite universe with no edges be? And according to the two supernova cosmology projects, the universe is flat and therefore infinite...without end.

    I know it's hard to grasp how something can be infinite because it is absolutely counter-intuitive. But the fact still remains that it's not only possible, but is indeed the case, as probably are all of the infinite number of branes (i.e. all the other universes in the multiverse as predicted by M-theory). What can I say? I know it's weird, but it's also true.

    Clear skies,

    Eric
    Last edited by EricFD; 12-18-2009 at 12:56 AM.
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  4. #14
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    (According to the current accepted theory of the universe accepted by most scientists - and of course my understanding of it as a mere year 12 student)

    you are correct in saying it does not have a centre and no edges but it is not infinite. It is very difficult to grasp the shape and size of the universe unless you think outside the square. The universe is not a sphere as i imagine most people would assume. At the "edges" the universe bends back on itself (in layman's terms). Theoretically at least, if you were to travel in a straight line towards the "edge" of the universe you would eventually end up returning in the opposite direction! It is very difficult to understand but the bottom line is that one does not need to "reconcile the Big Bang Theory with Infinite Universe Theory" as i have explained above, the universe has no centre and no edges but is not infinite. Just a remarkably unusual consiquence of the structure of space-time.

    Thanks, Daniel.

    P.S I'm back! after about a year off finishing year 12 for (hopefully) university enterance in theoretical physics or astronomy.

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  5. #15
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    Even though I completely disagree, Daniel thank you for your input.

    Clear skies,
    Eric
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  6. #16
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    you disagree? why's that? I read it in 2 stephen hawking books and another general universe book =( haha. What do you believe?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel_Reardon View Post
    you disagree? why's that? I read it in 2 stephen hawking books and another general universe book =( haha. What do you believe?

    I'm reading through A brief history of time again, but it seems even the revised edition is a bit out of date with all the current findings.
    All you folks talking about accelerated expansion and stuff, it's news to me.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck289 View Post
    I'm reading through A brief history of time again, but it seems even the revised edition is a bit out of date with all the current findings.
    All you folks talking about accelerated expansion and stuff, it's news to me.
    I'm thinking of waiting a couple years before an even better idea comes out. It's like holding off on getting a computer until you absolutely need it so you can have the best when you get it, while the best keeps on getting better

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by EricFD View Post
    I1) the big bang happened everywhere so the whole universe is the center
    With the Big Bang theory reduced to simplified terms for people to understand, I'd say that this is one of the biggest hurdles to leap for true understanding. Imagining a Big Bang and the subsequent expansion forces people to take a view outside of the universe and imagine everything expanding from a very small point to what we see today.
    So understanding that the entire universe came into existence at all points at once (and is expanding from all points), which is my understanding, makes the big bang look a lot different.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chambered View Post
    With the Big Bang theory reduced to simplified terms for people to understand, I'd say that this is one of the biggest hurdles to leap for true understanding. Imagining a Big Bang and the subsequent expansion forces people to take a view outside of the universe and imagine everything expanding from a very small point to what we see today.
    So understanding that the entire universe came into existence at all points at once (and is expanding from all points), which is my understanding, makes the big bang look a lot different.
    Well said, Chambered.

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