Mathematics of Eternity Prove The Universe Must Have Had A Beginning
MIT Technology Review
Cosmologists use the mathematical properties of eternity to show that although universe may last forever, it must have had a beginning
The Big Bang has become part of popular culture since the phrase was coined by the maverick physicist Fred Hoyle in the 1940s. That’s hardly surprising for an event that represents the ultimate birth of everything.
However, Hoyle much preferred a different model of the cosmos: a steady state universe with no beginning or end, that stretches infinitely into the past and the future. That idea never really took off.
In recent years, however, cosmologists have begun to study a number of new ideas that have similar properties. Curiously, these ideas are not necessarily at odds with the notion of a Big Bang.
For instance, one idea is that the universe is cyclical with big bangs followed by big crunches followed by big bangs in an infinite cycle.
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Another is the notion of eternal inflation in which different parts of the universe expand and contract at different rates. These regions can be thought of as different universes in a giant multiverse.
So although we seem to live in an inflating cosmos, other universes may be very different. And while our universe may look as if it has a beginning, the multiverse need not have a beginning.
Then there is the idea of an emergent universe which exists as a kind of seed for eternity and then suddenly expands.
So these modern cosmologies suggest that the observational evidence of an expanding universe is consistent with a cosmos with no beginning or end. That may be set to change…
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