Far out cosmology: still Big Bang, not Big Bounce (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Thursday, May 25, 2023, 00:49 (386 days ago) @ David Turell

Time is is settled:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-universe-began-with-a-bang-not-a-bounce-...

"So which scenario is correct? The most widely accepted explanation for the history of the universe has it beginning with a big bang, followed by a period of rapid expansion known as cosmic inflation. According to that model, the glow left over from when the universe was hot and young, called the cosmic microwave background (CMB), should look pretty much the same no matter which direction you face. But data from the Planck space observatory, which mapped the CMB from 2009 to 2013, showed unexpected variations in the microwave radiation. They could be meaningless statistical fluctuations in the temperature of the universe, or they might be signs of something interesting going on.

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"In an LQC model, a precursor to our universe might have contracted under the force of gravity until it became extremely compact.

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"If that happened, says physicist Ivan Agullo of Louisiana State University, it should have left a mark on the universe. Agullo, who was not affiliated with either of the recent analyses, has proposed that the mark would turn up in a feature in the CMB data known as the “bispectrum,” a measure of how different portions of the universe would have interacted in a bouncing scenario. The bispectrum would not be apparent in an image of the CMB, but it would show up in analyses of the frequencies in the ancient CMB microwaves.

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"Although lots of other bouncing cosmos models may still be viable, the failure to find a significant bispectrum means that models that rely on LQC to deal with the anomalies in the CMB can be ruled out. It’s a sad result for Agullo, who had high hopes of finding concrete evidence of a bouncing universe. But Paola Delgado, a cosmology Ph.D. candidate at Jagiellonian University in Poland, who worked on the new analysis that was co-authored by Durrer, says there’s one potential upside. “I heard for a long time that [attempts to merge quantum physics and cosmology] cannot be tested,” Delgado says. “I think it was really nice to see that for some classes of models, you still have some contact with observations.”

"Ruling out signs of an LQC-driven cosmic bounce in Planck data means the CMB anomalies remain unexplained. But an even larger cosmic issue lingers: Did the universe have a beginning at all? As far as advocates of the big bang are concerned, it did. But that leaves us with the inscrutable singularity that started everything off.

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"But a critical flaw lurks in the idea of an eternally cycling universe, according to physicist William Kinney of the University at Buffalo, who co-authored the second recent analysis. That flaw is entropy, which builds up as a universe bounces. Often thought of as the amount of disorder in a system, entropy is related to the system’s amount of useful energy: the higher the entropy, the less energy available. If the universe increases in entropy and disorder with each bounce, the amount of usable energy available decreases each time. In that case, the cosmos would have had larger amounts of useful energy in earlier epochs. If you extrapolate back far enough, that implies a big bang–like beginning with an infinitely small amount of entropy, even for a universe that subsequently goes through cyclic bounces. (If you’re wondering how this scenario doesn’t violate the law of conservation of energy, we’re talking about available energy. Although the total amount of energy in the cosmos remains static, the amount that can do useful work decreases with increasing entropy.

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“'I feel like we’ve demonstrated something fundamental about the universe,” Kinney says, “which is that it probably had a beginning.” That implies a big bang occurred at some point, even if that event happened many bouncing universes ago, which in turn suggests that it took a singularity to get everything going in the first place.

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"Cosmologist Nelson Pinto-Neto of the Brazilian Center for Physics Research, who has studied bouncing and other cyclic models, agrees that the Planck data likely rule out a bounce under loop quantum cosmology, but he’s more sanguine on the question of a cyclic universe. “Existence is a fact. We are all here and now. Nonexistence is an abstraction of the human mind,” Nelson says. “This is the reason I think that a [cyclic universe], which has always existed, is simpler than one that has been created. However, as a scientist, I must be open to both possibilities.;” (my bold)

Comment: so the battle rages even though the evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of the Big Bang. My bold above tells the reason. Don't even let God's toe in the door!!!


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