What occurred before the big bang?
Date: Around 1999
What occurred before the big bang??
We do not know. There is nothing that we can now see that
we have identified as showing us something from before the
big bang . The big bang followed a time when matter was
so dense that we have no good theory about what it was like so
we have no idea about what was happening before a short time after
the big bang itself. The one thing we can measure is the background
infrared radiation (which was recently seen to be slightly non-uniform)
and this radiation only dates back toward the big bang to a time when
matter became low enough density for light to escape it. THis was a
long time after the big bang itself. There is a good book called
the First Three Minutes, by Weinberg that describes some of this. I
don't know if it is appropriate for your level and I don't know if it
is easily available. Let me know if this answer was helpful or if
you want more, (or less).
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Update: June 2012