Big Bang, Crunch, and Location
Name: Tony L.
In Stephen Hawkins "A Brief History Of Time" he talks
about black holes and infinite gravity distorting space-time, and also
discusses the "big bang" and "big crunch". Is it not possible that if
gravity has such an effect on space-time, that the "big bang" and "big
crunch" occupy the exact same point in space-time?
When discussing the "Big Bang", which is a quantum mechanical /
relativistic model, you need to be prepared to encounter non-intuitive
concepts. This is not easy, because scientists almost always reason by
analogy. A very simple example is the hydrogen atom. We talk about electron
being in various "orbitals". This is an analogy to planets moving around the
sun, hence the name"ORBITal". There are numerous other examples. For systems
that are quantum mechanical / relativistic you must always keep in mind that
intuitive analogies are not only incomplete, they will lead one into
paradoxes and contradictions. An example where this occurs in Young's famous
"double slit" experiment (See: "Schrdinger's Kittens" by Gribbin for a
detailed discussion without the mathematical scaffolding. The only
alternative is to let the mathematics lead us from premises to conclusions
and predictions and test and compare them against / to experimental results
I'm not a cosmologist, but in all the readings I have done on the "Big Bang"
the intuitive question like , "Where did it happen?" or what was there
"before" the "Big Bang" are meaningless. The "Big Bang" created space-time.
It is a mathematical singularity -- like dividing by zero. In a sense it
occurred everywhere at "the same time". A quote attributed to Richard
Feynman puts things in perspective, "If anyone says they 'understand'
quantum mechanics, they do not understand the problem!!!"
Experiments and predictions of theory have forced theoretical cosmologist to
reconsider previously unthinkable assumptions -- like:
Can things travel faster than the speed of light (inflation)? Was the speed
of light (in a vacuum) ever different
than it now is? Why does the electron have the mass, charge, and spin it has
rather than some other value? The same question can be asked of all other
"fundamental things". Do parallel Universes exist? Are time and space the
only "dimensions" that govern the Universe? Is the force of gravity always
attractive? If so, why? A "perfect vacuum" is full of all sorts of particle
pairs (virtual particles) that are created and destroyed on a very short
time scale so that (at present) they cannot be detected? Does an electron
(or other Q.M. particle) have to be observed to exist? If so, what does
"observed" mean? What comprises "observation"? How does the "uncertainty
principle" fit into all of this?
In short, the closest answer to your question is, "Yes and No!!" Not very
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Update: June 2012