Home Page Science Frontiers

No. 28: Jul-Aug 1983

Issue Contents

Other pages











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