# Thread: How can one reconcile the Big Bang Theory with Infinite Universe Theory?

1. Originally Posted by Chambered
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.
So is trying to visualize the Big Bang something that our minds can't do?
For example, you can easily represent or "visualize" 4 or 5 or 6 (and so on) dimensional space with mathematics. But when we try to picture it in our minds, we can't. Same for trying to picture 2 dimensional space. We see a 2 dimensional surface floating in 3 dimensions. Our brains are wired for 3 dimensions.

Does this comparison make sense? I'm having trouble visualizing the Big Bang and expansion happening everywhere at once. Another example perhaps of how hard it is to grasp the concept of infinity?

2. You can't really think in dimensions you can't see, it's pretty tough.
Here's a really cool video that tries to help you visualize another dimension:

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4. Originally Posted by Chuck289
So is trying to visualize the Big Bang something that our minds can't do?
For example, you can easily represent or "visualize" 4 or 5 or 6 (and so on) dimensional space with mathematics. But when we try to picture it in our minds, we can't. Same for trying to picture 2 dimensional space. We see a 2 dimensional surface floating in 3 dimensions. Our brains are wired for 3 dimensions.

Does this comparison make sense? I'm having trouble visualizing the Big Bang and expansion happening everywhere at once. Another example perhaps of how hard it is to grasp the concept of infinity?
These are very difficult concepts to wrap one's brain around. Many renowned theoretical physicists have admitted that conceptually they don't understand this stuff either, Chuck. So don't feel bad. They are going by what the math tells them. This is truly an a priori process.

I've heard many theoretical physicists and astrophysicists say that they and no one else really knows what a black hole or singularity really is. It's just not something that we can conceptualize. And when they say that the universe is flat, that is just a model or a way of conceptualizing what the data is telling them. But obviously the universe as we perceive it is not "flat" but goes off in every direction.

As far as space being infinite, it might be easier to understand if you ask yourself the question, why should space have any boundaries or edges? I once heard Alex Filippenko, astrophysicist and professor of astronomy at the University of California, Berkeley say that if you were to travel far enough in our universe you could eventually find yourself in a different universe, and if you traveled far enough in that universe you could again find yourself in even another universe.

Alex Filippenko was one of the team members on the Type 1a supernovae cosmology project that determined that the universe was flat and therefore infinite. So, I guess he ought to know. But I've heard other astrophysicist such as Brian P. Schmidt who lead one of the teams, say that the universe is infinite. Dr. Saul Perlmutter of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Richard Ellis, California Institute of Technology and a couple of dozen more have all said that the universe is infinite. And all of these people are winners of the 2007 Gruber Prize in Cosmology for their work on the two Supernova Cosmology Projects. So, I guess you could say that this is coming directly from the horse's mouth.

Clear skies,

Eric
Last edited by EricFD; 12-19-2009 at 01:01 AM.

5. I don't think I could contribute anything that hasn't already been said about the process of the big bang. There are some great minds and interesting reading here. I will contribute this. Of all the phenomena to think about in the universe this is the one I have mulled over more than any. I have read about the process of the big bang over and over. I've read about its history and all the great minds that have put it together over the centuries. I have also read about M-Theory and Branes; it sounds interesting even though I don't understand the most important part which is the math behind it. This is why I'm going back to school. Mathematics is an integral part of science, mathematics is the language of the universe, or so I've been told. Perhaps it's beyond our understanding and brain power to understand these questions. We are after all a very primitive species; we really haven't been here all that long. However, to have made the discoveries we have already made is really amazing. So who can say what the future holds.

6. All research today is judged in light of the big bang THEORY. It is not judged on it's own merits. If it does not fit the current THEORY, then the experimenters are wrong. That is not science. That is politics.

7. Bear in mind that I am an undergraduate, so I may not be fully informed on some of the theory (in particular, string/M-theory), but I feel that it should be mentioned that the finiteness (or lack thereof) of the universe is a consequence of the geometry of spacetime, which is something still debated by astrophysicists.

If the universe is best modeled by a closed geometry, then the universe is in fact not infinite, rather finite and unbounded. We could think of it as a four dimensional sphere. A good analogous way of thinking would be to consider drawings living on a globe. Travelling in a straight line in any direction will eventually get you back to where you started. People that start walking parallel to each other will eventually meet. If the universe is open, then we can consider it infinite, and the four dimensional geometry is a little more difficult to imagine (as it has negative curvature). However, some results would be that if you were to travel in any direction, you would never arrive back at your starting place, and that two people who started walking parallel would in fact have an increasing distance between them. There is also the possibility of flat universe, wherein we can think of the universe as a four dimensional plane, so we could imagine drawings living on a sheet of paper. In this case, two people walking parallel to each other would stay the exact same distance apart. This is, naturally, the midground between the other two possibilities.

Current evidence DOES point towards an open universe, however, this is not irreconcilable with the Big Bang model. Current cosmological models, in conjunction with GR, state that space itself is expanding, not just the things in space getting further apart. There is a key difference. Even if something is infinite, you can have everything in it growing further and further away from each other. It is simply more difficult to imagine, since we have a conceptual block in understanding a negative curvature in four dimensions. The three dimensional equivalent (like the plane or the sphere mentioned for closed and flat universes), is a saddle point. It is easy to understand the Big Bang in the closed case, in particular. You can think of it as when the four dimensional sphere had zero radius. However, talking about the other geometries this becomes a bit more difficult to understand, but the concept still works. If you were to pick two arbitrary points in space, the Big Bang is when they were actually the same point. It must be understood that spacetime behaves asymptotically near the Big Bang, and that this yields very 'unnatural' results.

However, one must recall that there are people who have dedicated their entire lives to learning and familiarizing themselves with cosmology and higher dimensional geometries who are able to consider the Big Bang model very feasible. In this case, I find it likely that if the current model is to be overturned, it will probably be by a well-studied theorist, not by a confused soul who thinks that the idea is strange.

While there is politics involved in the scientific community, it is not as crushing as some people like to suggest. The fact that the Big Bang model is a theory is not grounds for its dismissal. The word theory is commonly misunderstood by some non-scientists, who use it as an argument against feasibility. Theories are structures that have been built up based on the evidence and conclusions that we have made about them. While they may be incorrect, they are some of the more solid ideas that we have. Hypotheses are the ideas that are still being rigorously tested and which are under serious scrutiny by the community.

Remember that there are always people working to change the basis of what we believe, and that there has generally always been prevalence of the most accurate system, regardless of the idea's popularity. This can be seen from Galileo, Einstein, etc. The people who make this their lives are probably the people who least want their work to be in vain.

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9. This one has fascinated me big time. I am a big beliver in that there are really are more than the 3 dimensions and the Time dimension. Time and space near us seems linear. All the other dimensions, than our physical dimensions can not be seen in our telescopes.

I have viewed this big mystery/mess, or whatever it is, like the biggest Top Secret file. Like the cause of the creation of this universe (Big Bang), is really in another dimension. Meaning that the origin of this Physical universe, came from other dimensions outside this Physical 4-dimension universe.

From all that I have learned, only when you tie in the many other dimensions with our physical universe, is that, Time and Space are folded in on itself, but the physical universe on it's own, is strictly linear, except near extreme gravitational objects, where Time and Space are bent.

The Physical Universe here, where our Human Bodies live, may be actually finite, being that these 3 demensions are actually just a finite bubble, but on the other hand, in the other dimesions, are actually infinite. Beyond the hubble limit (this bubble), could be infinite space, comprising other dimensions.

Now I wonder if I can see the other pages of this thread. I could not see page 2 or 3 because of some error.

10. ## dark flow could change it all (again)

the idea of dark flow and possibly dark matter is that we as the universe could be a constructed form and part of a greater and more unexplainable form ( bit like being part of some great fractual) in the sense of a fractal - we could be considered as infinate. This idea would explain all the theories of what was before the gig bang, why parts of the universe are heading towards a point, the singlearity of the big bang, edges and no edges.

11. I really don't believe there is a particle horizon, and if there is one, it's so far we can't imagine and probably nothing like we think it is.
At first I would say our Universe as we know it is not singular, going for the Big Bang theory that everything we see actually started from the BB. I never heard someone say that maybe the BB might not have been the creator of the Universe we saw as far as the Hubble Ultra Deep Field 13 b.ly away but maybe in a few years, it might seems actually dumb to say everything started from a primeval atom and expanded into all we can see, as far as we can see. I mean this thing, sounds more like a religion based theory to me, that there was a supernatural power that made all this, after all.
Maybe the Universe is a entity part of a much larger group, supergroup, supercluster of varying different sizes and types of multiverses that expand maybe as far as calling it infinite, just as we slowly expanded our views each time.
With not using any religious theory, I think it's impossible for all this to exist with no God like super power to have created it all, just doesn't make sence, even though let's say now we think the Universe is all it exists and it's only 0,000000000000000000000001 of what actually is everything had to start off from some point, maybe 999999999 sextillion years ago or 13 billion years ago dunno, but it can't just have been created from absolutely nothing or maybe we can just understand infinite because we are all short living lads.

12. Trying to use common sense to understand the origin of the universe is fruitless.There is a reason why astrophysicists spend so long in school studying mathematics.Even trying to wrap your head around a 4th physical dimension is hopeless.The consequences of existence can only be explored mathematically.We evolved in a universe with 3 physical dimensions and one of time and that is all that we can readily conceive with our brains.

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