30 March 2014
The formation of the universe is a controversial subject. There are many theories that remain the subject of debate. The universe is defined as the totality of existence. There is evidence that the universe began as long as 15 billion years ago in an event dubbed “The Big Bang”. Scientists have agreed when the universe began, however they disagree on how it actually started. This paper will discuss the controversy over how the universe began and the many different theories that have been discovered and rejected and why “the big bang” theory has been the face of the beginning of the universe.
Alan Guth described Inflation as an instantaneous initial expansion, which exceeded the speed of light, which “describes the propulsion mechanism that drove the universe into the period of tremendous expansion that we call the Big Bang.” The term Big Bang was actually originated as an insult by a physicist that did not like the theory. The theory of the Big Bang is that the universe was formed between 10-20 billion years ago from a cataclysmic explosion of a small volume of matter at an extremely high temperature and density. The Big Bang is the prevailing model regarding the early development of the universe. More than 80 years ago Edward Hubble, the namesake of the Hubble Telescope, showed that the universe is expanding. He demonstrated that objects in space are not moving outward, but that space is becoming bigger over time. With this in mind, the distance between two galaxies is growing even if neither galaxy is moving at all through space, due to expansion of the galaxy.
The origination of the universe has puzzled scientists for the last thousand years with news coming from just these last couple weeks bringing us closer to finding the answer. We may actually be seeing what happened in the first billionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second of the universe. This discovery will need to be verified by similar experiments, but it does mean that the birth of the universe can be studied. The results of these studies will take us beyond the reach of earthly particle accelerators like the Large Hadron Collider and provide information about the physics of matter and energy. On March 17, 2014 there was a press conference held by the leadership of the Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization (BICEP2) experiment announcing their discovery of proof of gravitational waves, which were predicted in Einstein’s theory of General Relativity. The waves were generated by a near - instantaneous expansion of the universe by 50 factors of 10, or a factor of 100 million, trillion, trillion. These waves were predicted by the theory of inflation, which had been developed 30 years ago by Alan Guth, Andrei Linde, and others.
Assuming existing or similar trends will continue, the application can be extended backwards. Scientists have known for a long time that the universe was once smaller by many factors of 10. All of the mass and energy of the entire universe squeezed into such small volume would have been much more dense and hotter. The universe expanded over time with the energy density going down, causing the temperature to cool. This idea of the Big Bang led to the assumption that cool relic radiation should be visible now.
During the 1990’s, analysis of tiny hot and cold spots in cosmic microwave background radiation showed why Inflation (Big Bang) explains why the universe has a very “flat” geometry. For the universe to be flat, there are many variables, but it must be a precise balance. Depending on the curvature (weak or strong), there are an unlimited number of ways to be open or closed, but to be flat that is the equivalent of balancing a knife on its edge. Inflation, at the beginning would have to have stretched fabric of space until no curvature remained at all. If you inflated a beach ball to match the size of the