Monday, April 24, 2006

Astronomers see the Big Bang in action

"Recently, NASA astronomers announced new evidence supporting the Big Bang theory, which states that the universe was once subatomic in size and, in only one trillionth of a second, expanded to astronomical proportions."

I have a few thoughts on this story.

First, if the universe was sub-atomic in scale at the moment of the Big Bang, then we must conclude that quantum effects ruled at the beginning of the universe, and not the laws of physics that we observe at our larger scale. On the quantum level, the laws of physics break down and quantum bodies are ruled by probability. For more information, ask your local nerd.

Second, if quantum effects were the rule at the moment of origin, then the universe must have existed initially as an infinite set of possibilities, rather than a simple "seed" from which our universe has grown.

Third, if the Big Bang proceeded from a "fuzzy" cloud of initial states, then the universe as we experience it, must be just one of an infinite set of possible universes that sprang from the same quantum cloud. The news story says that the universe, "in only one trillionth of a second, expanded to astronomical proportions." Another way to say this is that there is no way to pinpoint one singularity at the moment of origin. I'll try to explain this more in a later post, but briefly, look at the illustration above. The "truncated" flat portion of the cone should come to a point if there existed a specific "time and place" of origin. Instead, you see the beginning of the universe depicted as a large "circle" of possible initial states.

Fourth, if our consciousness can actively "select" individual realities from a set of possible quantum states (see previous entry), then perhaps we do not exist in one single universe, but rather we are continually traversing infinite probable universes. We simply are not equipped to understand or perceive the constant quantum shifts that we experience.

Fifth, no. I have not been smoking anything.

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