OK, so what’s this about no big bang theory? Rumor has it that this popular TV show may be cancelled. OR it could be replaced by the Universe Has Been Around Forever Theory.
The big bang theory came about as a consequence of general relativity. The related mathematics predicted this “singularity.” A singularity can mean a kink in a graph or something very out of the ordinary. In case of the big bang singularity where prior to the big bang all mass was concentrated at a single point, the laws of Physics break down at the point of explosion. The math only explains events immediately afterward—nothing spot on or before the singular explosive event.The math also predicted the big bang occurred 13.8 billion years ago and physicists blessed it as the beginning of the universe. They see the possibilty of another singularity called the big crunch coming along, in which case, all mass would collapse back into a point, and we could start all over again.
This break down of physics related to the big bang bothered physicists and now two physicists (no, not Sheldon and Leonard, but Ahmed Farag Ali and Saurya Das) have used quantum corrections to the mathematics around general relativity to construct a new model in which the universe has no beginning nor end. The kinky singularities have been smoothed out, and according to the model, we need not worry about becoming all smashed together someday. It should be noted that the big bang resolution was an unintended consequence of the corrections. The corrections were motivated by improving the model. It is interesting that tweaks could lead to such momentous conclusions.
What are quantum corrections? Whenever you see a noun modified by “quantum” it means that quantum physics/mechanics is involved. Quantum physics is the study of tiny matter: molecules, atoms, sub-atoms. The application of the relevant mathematics is weird. At the level of the tiny, laws dictate that both position and velocity cannot be measured accurately at the same time. (Uncertainty principle) Thus, probability models are used and physicists view a particle being in all possible states at the same time. How odd is that? Even odder is that when they reach in and measure a tiny guy, it scampers to a particular state. Huh?
The model may even account for dark matter and dark energy. Physicists label what they can’t find as dark. I have a dark cell phone and iPad. I know they exist but often can’t find them.
Postscripts: Quantum physics may be abstract theory, but important applications include lasers, transistors, semiconductors, microprocessors, medical imaging, and more. Now quantum computers are so fast we may be able to handle problems that overwhelm yesterday’s computers as well as threaten cybersecurity.
Finally, I have a confession to make. While my hubby loves The Big Bang Theory, I’m not a fan. I don’t like the stereotypical portrayal of physicists as geeky. The ones I know are cool.