No. 88: Jul-Aug 1993
Humans favor tales with beginnings and endings, perhaps because we are mortal ourselves. The universe must, we suspect, have been created either naturally or supernaturally, and it will end either according to the Laws of Thermodynamics or by fiat on Judgment Day!
Some scientists, though, see other possibilities. In 1948, F. Hoyle, H. Bondi, and T. Gold proposed that the universe had no beginning and was, therefore, infinitely old. Originally, they hypothesized that, as the universe expanded, new matter was continuously created, and thus the density of matter stayed about constant in time. This Steady State Universe was kicked around for a while but ultimately consigned to the cosmological wastebasket.
Now, the idea is being revived as the prevailing Big Bang Universe runs into problems, which have been documented perhaps too thoroughly in past issues of SF. The revised steady state model has jettisoned the idea of continuous creation in favor of many discrete "creation events," which will doubtless be called "little bangs." They also fill space with small metallic needles which absorb microwaves and reemit the uniform microwave background. The new theory needs more work, but Hoyle and his colleagues write in the June 20 issue of the Astrophysical Journal:
"This paper is not intended to give a finished view of cosmology. It is intended rather to open the door to a new view which at present is blocked by a fixation with big bang cosmology."
(Crosswell, Ken; "Return of the Steady State Universe," New Scientist, p. 14, February 27, 1993.)
Reference. A substantial portion of our catalog volume Stars, Galaxies, Cosmos is devoted to questioning the Big Bang. Details here.
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