My Quest: The Big Bang Theory

How did it all began?? Well it isn’t the easiest question to answer but I think we humans have a pretty good idea about it. Whenever you try to find the origin of something we have no option but to go backwards. But when that something is our Universe we need to backward a lot and when I say ‘a lot’ I mean billions of years. So inorder to find an answer we need to go backwards and fast, inorder to do that we rely on the fastest travelling thing we know ‘LIGHT’

We all have heard about the BIG BANG, the point where everything began but how do we really know that’s the way it was?? After all nobody was around that time to see that happen.
What makes the Big Bang Singularity Theory so widely accepted??
Simple, because it makes sense and it is modeled as per every law of physics we know.
I must say I was pretty convinced too (I still am but…..).

History Of The Universe

Click To View Full Size Image | Image Courtesy: NASA/GMAT Science Team

The two major events that I would like to highlight here are pretty well separated from each other with respect to time but both did just one thing. Support the Big Bang Theory.

1. Edwin Hubble’s Discovery

2. Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP)

Both the above events were more than extraordinary and its implications made us change the way we looked at the universe. We have more than enough reasons to be convinced about a fact that ‘the universe is expanding’. This fact for me remains as one of the most profound conclusions ever all thanks to Hubble’s discovery. Every single galaxy is drifting farther and farther apart. Run this picture back in time and all the math points to a single moment of an infinitely small, infinitely dense beginning to our Universe. Scientists have a name for this initial state — A singularity. Before this Big Bang, there is nowhere and no-when. There is literally nothing before this beginning. Run the clock forward from that singularity, and the starting gun is the Big Bang — A colossal explosion of energy and matter that gave birth to everything we see in the sky today. It also created space and time.

Things were pretty hot then as different things (matter, radiation etc.) started to shoot out in direction directions the Universe slowing began to cool down. Gravity brought clumps matter together and stars were born. And so on and so forth then they explode and after billions of years we get a planet like EARTH.

I found the WMAP project very very interesting and it was the project that forced me to go deep into CMBR (Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation). It was an attempt to get as far you possibly could and try to get a glimpse of that first moment when light filled the universe. Looking at the microwave background just doesn’t mean the obvious it means we are looking back in time out in space. The time when the universe was 300,000 years old (or was it 380,000 years ummm?).  That’s the time universe began to cool down and electrons and protons could combine with each other to form hydrogen which is transparent to light hence allowing light to pass. In simple terms you are taking a picture of a baby who is 2 years old and try to figure out how he was at birth. And then use that baby picture to compare it with how he looks now. The exciting part is going back from the baby picture which could possibly lead us to what exactly were the first moments of the Big Bang. The phase from the bang and 380,000 years is according to me the most important phase WHY?? Because we don’t know anything about it.
The thing which I found strange was the just order of the baby picture of the universe. The temperature variations found in the baby picture were very minimal and rather than looking chaotic to me that picture was very ordered, homogeneous, and smooth. To this day whenever I look at that picture I find it so beautifully craved and creatively ordered.

Click To View Full Size Image | Image Courtesy: NASA/GMAT Science Team

NASA/WMAP Science Team: Official Website

But if time and space started in a cataclysmic explosion of energy, wouldn’t the Universe be uneven and messy in all directions?

Trying to write the answer to this question in a few lines is an insult to question itself considering the fact that some of the beautiful minds have devoted their life understanding the uniformity observed in the universe which I think is a huge problem in the field of cosmology. But even if we are able to measure the scale of the question I think we are doing pretty OK.
Why is the problem huge? Every direction has the same intensity to 1 part in 100,000. And that means that the Big Bang was unbelievably uniform. That’s the difficult part because conventional explosions just don’t behave that way.

Arise, Inflation. The idea of inflation can serve as an answer to this question of uniformity. This idea was based on gravity playing a crucial role but this time acting repulsively creating a gigantic acceleration in the uniform expansion of the universe. So there is a possibility that it could have happened in the very early universe too. Even a tiny part of repulsive gravity material is enough and Big Bang then starts to do the repulsive-gravity effect.

Cosmic inflation takes place right after a pop from nothing into something. About one trillion, trillion, and trillionth (Did I say it thrice?? Then it’s OK) of a second afterwards, a force field takes all the highly compressed space created in that first singular moment, which is still almost infinitely small…And drives it out. A tiny fraction of a second later, the Universe had doubled in size 100,000 times.

This idea of inflation has now essentially become the standard version of cosmology, and it makes a number of predictions which have been confirmed, so it agrees very well with what we see. With the addition of inflation, the Big Bang theory became a cohesive three-act play.

Act I:

A singularity pops into existence out of nowhere and no-when, containing in one single dot all the energy that will ever be in our Universe.

Act II:

Inflation suddenly takes hold — An unimaginably rapid expansion of space smoothly spreading out that energy, bringing order to the Universe. It’s now a massive soup of evenly expanding plasma.

Act III:

The Universe cools. Matter starts to clump together under the force of gravity, eventually forming stars, galaxies, and planets.

If you ask me I don’t completely agree with the above three acts hence I am not that big fan of the singularity. The first act bother me just because it says everything started out of nowhere and no-when I mean no one wetn that far to get that answer Did they??
The next two acts are good enough. The very beginning opens a great window for faith and the whole concept of God which I find intriguing comes into existence, but I can’t digest the fact that everything came out of one dot which just mysteriously appeared thanks to the almighty.

There was one great line which I came across it goes something like this,
‘A singularity just means that we don’t understand the theory well enough’

There were many alternatives to act one because physicists all over the globe were coming up with their version of what could have happened and infact there was a whole chunk of beautiful minds going against the most widely accepted theory which was exciting for me as an enthusiast.
There are theories that excited me and which gave a better Act 1 and even a pretty decent idea of what could have happened before everything started to happen. Will talk about them later.

There are some evergreen arguments for the Big Bang Theory (The Periodic Universe, incompatibility of the theory with various religions, the first hand argument on the creator etc.)
The Big Bang Theory is a theory which satisfies everything even GOD (religious?). No wonder few people have a problem with it but having said that this theory gave us windows to see the universe the way it seems and even in the way it doesn’t.  For many people it has made easier to understand the original simple argument that had become difficult to understand during the past few centuries because of being shrouded by skepticism about its validity put forward in the name of science itself. Otherwise, the actual argument is not dependent upon this theory. Hence the theory, in spite of all its preaching value for religions, is a scientific theory, not a religious theory, doctrine or basic tenet of faith. BBT paved a new way for the human race to get closer to and understand the universe they live in and many if not all attempts to define a theory of everything has been in some way or the other influenced by this great ‘scientific’ theory.

The Big Bang Theory

We still might not know what exactly happened before the beginning, But what we know for sure is that………..SOMETHING DID.

– Ravi Sadrani

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2 thoughts on “My Quest: The Big Bang Theory

  1. There is no such thing as time before the big bang, because there was no time before the big bang. Nice post man. I really liked it.

    • Ravi Sadrani says:

      That’s the safest bet Isn’t it? There is another way to look at it — Quantized time. Beginning of our time could have been an end of some other time..Maybe our singularity was after an other singularity. There are many interesting theories about What happened before the beginning. Thanks for the comment. Glad you liked it 😀

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