File photo: Death of physicist Stephen Hawking, who leaves the stage during an announcement of the Breakthrough Starshot initiative with investor Yuri Milner in New York April 12, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
All the evidence shows our universe emerged from a single event: an explosion generally known as the Big Bang.
What preceded is a mystery.
But it has large consequences.
It is about the fate of the universe.
We know that the space is expanding. We can see that in the way all the galaxies around us are moving out. But how far can it extend? What happens then?
Will the universe just boil away into the void as the parts further from each other?
Or will it reach a kind of tipping point, where the room turns around and starts to contract on itself?
The late Stephen Hawking had his own ideas. Now astronomers may have discovered one of the critical telltales who could prove that the notions of where to be.
The leading theory of the birth of our universe has a problem: the evidence does not back up.
At its core is the idea that a quantum particle of infinite gravity and density — similar to the singularity at the core of a black hole and suddenly was ratified. Then crack, the blow-up in a baby-universe in a fraction of a second.
It seems to fit. It is also a neat solution for most astronomical observations.
But such an event should have left visible signs.
The way the universe fizzed in the existence may reveal something about where it came from.
There must be a regular, predictable gravitational waves rippling through the cosmos.
We have not yet found.
Then there is the question of the entropy (a technical term for the way in which things tend in the direction of messy disorder in the time).
Why is the universe is a bubbling melting pot of disorganized subatomic particles strewn about in a uniform layer? How did subatomic particles bind themselves in atoms, molecules, gas, dust and stars?
Physics tells us that this happened, the early universe must have had, even a lower entropy than we do now. But how?
You can’t unbreak an egg. But that is exactly what the cosmic inflation.
Black holes are so large, and so infinite strange that traces of them survive the end of the universe.
At least, that is the proposal of a research team from the University of Oxford and the University of Warsaw and the New York Maritime College.
But such a great idea requires huge evidence.
Something on a cosmological scale.
Enter supermassive black holes.
And an idea put forward by Hawking and Oxford mathematical physicist Sir Roger Penrose.
Their theory — conformal cyclic cosmology — suggests our universe is not the first. Nor is it the last.
“In the cyclic cosmology,” 87-year-old physics legend Penrose says, “there is no beginning and there is nothing lost.”
Big Pony still happen.
They are followed by the creation of the cosmos as we know it.
Then, things eventually cool down. Galaxies fly apart. The stars die.
The universe is almost empty — which is dominated by the energy and radiation, not from.
Only black holes survive.
“If the universe goes on and on, and the black holes gobble up everything, at a certain point, we are only black holes,” New York Maritime College mathematician Daniel says. “What is going to happen is that these black holes will gradually begin to gradually shrink.”
The black holes themselves evaporate.
That is, Stephen Hawking is the most important discovery was that black holes are actually bleeding from mass and energy by emitting gravitons and photons. It is the so-called Hawking-radiation.
What is left behind is nothing. And everything
“The thing about this period is that massless gravitons and photons do not really have the experience of time or space,” says One.
“And so it begins again.”
LOOK TO THE SKIES
An idea left over from the quantum-soup was the opening moments of our universe, is the radiation left over from the big Bang — the cosmic microwave background.
It still contains the patterns printed on it at the moment that time began.
And that can, under the influence of a previous time — the universe before our own.
Slight traces can be produced by the concentrated Hawking radiation of the last dying black holes.
They are called Hawking Points.
Now Penrose believes that he has found.
The cosmic background radiation (CMB) in card is charged. But it is a mess.
Studying it is like looking for patterns in the clouds.
It is a point Hawking himself wryly highlighted, pointing to what seemed to be initials imprinted in the universe itself!
So, just as seemingly random clouds in larger weather patterns, Penrose and his colleagues set about creating a model of the universe that would reveal the larger patterns within.
Our images of the cosmic radiation background are vague. They are also often overexposed by the near stars and galaxies.
But a third of the night sky is relatively clear.
Thus, the researchers have calculated what they would expect to find as Hawking Points were there — and the attempt to match them with what we know. This was then compared with 8000 different simulated universes in an attempt to make sure that they are not simple illusions.
They found about 20 different ‘bright’ patches.
They are not the old black holes themselves.
Instead, they agree with the idea that huge clouds of Hawking radiation from the dying black holes would carry over from one world to the next.
The visible bubbles in the cosmic background radiation are tempting. But they are not yet definitively fixed.
So they are not yet proved themselves.
Some physicists claim that they are not adequately eliminated in the prospect, they are just the product of random scattering.
Others say that if cyclical cosmology was true, then there must be tens of thousands Hawking Points clearly in our airspace.
And as ‘flares’ in the structure of our universe might actually indicate something else.
It could be the point at which a number of individual, simultaneous, universe ‘dents’ in our own.
There is also a large unexplained jump in the theory of logic: how does a cold, empty universe suddenly flare in a new, high-energy universe?
But Penrose — who admits his idea is radical, yet still be convinced.
He even believes that he knows will come next.
“The next universe will be like that of us, but only in the overall appearance, not in detail, of course,” Penrose says.
This story was previously published in the news.com.au.