The Origin of the Universe (the Big Bang)




The Formation of the Universe

The Big Bang

The Shape and Boundaries of Reality

The Future of the Universe



Books make many statements as though they are facts, as opposed to theories

See page 605 in book for a good example

Much based on mathematical models which no normal mortal can hope to understand

The processes discussed happened a long time ago

These represent theories based on current levels of understanding

There are no direct methods to observe the formational process of the universe

All methods are essentially indirect and involve some major assumptions

So, let's keep the uncertainty factor in mind

Before we start - a couple things to keep in mind

What is matter?

Sub-atomic particles to elements

How far can we see?

Space vs. nothing


The Formation of the Universe (Ch. 35, pg. 605)

There are two possibilities

1) Everything always existed like it is today, and time has no beginning

Almost nobody believes this one

We see far too many changes in the reality around us

Even in our extremely limited time frame

2) The universe (and time) began at a specific moment, and has been evolving and changing ever since

Most favor this possibility

We are still faced with two possibilities

Created by either divine or natural forces

If we accept divine creation end of discussion

But maybe not - even God appears to have set up guidelines by which things work

I like a combination of the two

Natural processes clearly seem to be operating

But what got it all started?


The Big Bang

Observation indicate that everything is moving away from everything else

Rapid expansion of all matter

Implies that all matter must have started at a common center

Interpretation suggest that "the entire universe was compressed into a single infinitely dense point"

Where was this point, and what was it in?

Space vs. nothing again?

Anyway, according to the theory, this point exploded (kaBoom)

The Big Bang

Marks the beginning of the universe and the start of time

" ordinary explosion."

"This explosion instantly created the universe. Matter, energy, space and even time came into existence with this single event."

Assume 15 to 18 billion years ago

But this date is hotly contested

Evolution of universe after the explosion has been described in great detail

100 billion degrees Celsius at moment of explosion

DIGRESS TO: Fahrenheit, Celsius, and Kelvin scales

Rapid expansion and cooling

Down to 10 billion degrees after 1st second

Too hot for atoms or matter as we know it

"Universe consisted of a mixture of radiant energy, electrons, and extremely light particles called neutrinos. Protons and neutrons also began to form."

"After 1.5 minutes" the temperature had fallen to 1 billion degrees

Simple atomic nuclei began to form

Still too hot for atoms

Continued to expand and cool "for the next million years"

"When the temperature dropped to a few thousand degrees, atoms formed and, in a sense, the modern Universe was born."

"With time, matter collected into galaxies, and within the galaxies stars were born."

This covers a lot of ground!

Stuff like this is only a "progress report," not dogma


The Shape and Boundaries of Reality

REVIEW: Space vs. Nothing

What do we see when we look out into space

As it was, not as it is (a profound difference)

And "as it was" isn't even consistent

Is there really matter in all directions?

Or is the universe like a balloon with all the substance on the outer membrane

And the interior essentially devoid of matter

If you buy into the concept of the Big Bang this makes sense

Therefore, only in a few directions is there really stuff to see

All the rest contain "ghost images" of what was AT DIFFERENT TIMES IN THE PAST

What about other universes

Could they exist (sure)

Could they not exist (sure)

Could they be like us (sure)

Could they be different (sure)

Could the "laws" of reality work the same (sure)

Could the "laws" of reality work different (sure)

Imagine being on the actual "edge" of our universe

With "space" on 3 sides and "nothing" on the fourth

What would this be like?

What would you see at night at different times of the year?

If the universe is expanding, and if there are others...

Imagine the first glimpse of an approaching universe

Space where there used to be nothing


The Future of the Universe

Again, one of two possibilities exist

1) Open Universe

Not enough matter to overcome the initial velocities and cause gravitational collapse

The galaxies will continue to expand "forever"

All stars will eventually use up their fuel and burn out

Universe will then be cold and dead, forever

Not very many like the idea of this, but, hey, it's a LONG way off

2) Closed Universe

The expansion will continue slow until the gravitational attraction of the matter will cause the universe to reverse and collapse in upon itself

The Big Crunch (or Big Suck, if you prefer)

This would really change our views of reality!

This could lead to a new Big Bang, and another universe in the future

Were there others in the past?

How long has this been going on, and how could we ever find out

Theoretical stuff - impossible to prove or disprove

Astronomers are attempting to calculate the total mass of the universe

The most recent calculations favor the "open universe" theory

The hopes for the Closed Universe theory rest on the amount of "Dark Matter" which exists

Recent interpretations indicate that there may be far more dark matter than previously thought