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No. 28: Jul-Aug 1983

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The better, bigger big bang

Astronomers are ever more discomfitted by the Big Bang hypothesis for the creation of the universe. The reasons are several:

  1. The observed universe is extremely homogeneous, even though theory says that distant parts of the universe could never have been causally connected;
  2. No satisfactory explanation exists for the density fluctuations that had to occur for galaxies to be formed; and
  3. The universe seems to be flat, not curved, and the Big Bang does not explain why.

Paul Steinhardt and Andreas Al-brecht, at the University of Pennsylvania, have developed a radically different Big Bang -- a two-stage one, with hot and super-cooled states. The three objections listed above are neatly disposed of in the new version, but at the cost of a radically new view of the cosmos. The "new" universe is about 10100 times as big as the 12 billion light years assigned to the cozy universe we used to know -- and it is presumably correspondingly older.

This means that the portion of the cosmos we see is only a negligible fraction of the whole -- a fraction that just happens to be homogeneous. Somewhere, way out beyond the farthest quasar, things could be -- well -- different!

(Anonymous; "A Bigger, Better Big Bang," Astronomy, 11:62, February 1983.)

Reference. Our Catalog volume Stars, Galaxies, Cosmos brims with challenges to the Big Bang. For details on this book, visit: here.

From Science Frontiers #28, JUL-AUG 1983. 1983-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987