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
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?
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
"...no 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
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
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