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Forever and a Moment: The Length of Time

ExpectantlyIronic

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So it looks like Roger Penrose has found evidence supporting his view that the universe has existed for an infinite period of time. Nothing open and shut, and really we need to keep in mind that scant evidence was also discovered suggesting the universe is 2-dimensional not long ago, so I will reserve judgement on this one just the same; but it is interesting. It also goes along with what most secular scientists believed before the Big Bang theory was more-or-less proven, and coheres with there being a Big Bang. It just has it that there were many Big Bangs. I will say there is something very intuitive to time being infinite, at least to me. Though I think it requires some evidence to show that the universe is headed in a direction that will lead to another Big Bang. As far as I knew, the shape of the universe precludes it contracting, but it seems like Penrose's theory lays out a method by which the universe could take the course he proposes, even while evidence may be lacking that it will do so.

In any case, I was wondering which approach the people of GF favor: the view that time itself started with the Big Bang, which Stephen Hawking seems to favor; or the idea that time is without a beginning as advocated by Roger Penrose. Something else, maybe?
 
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Wade8813

Registered Member
I can't even conceptualize time having a beginning, whether from the Big Bang or created by God.

A large part of it is based on the terminology - if time started to exist, then there was a 'time' when 'time' didn't exist...??? How can there be something before time - doesn't the very word 'before' necessitate the existence of time?

Also, it seems to me that the occurrence of any event requires time - an event can't be set in motion without time passing.
 

Hiei

The Hierophant
That was an amazing article.

That thought is not entirely bonkers. The consensus among physicists is that particles began massless and got their mass subsequently from something known as the Higgs field—the search for which was one reason for building the Large Hadron Collider, a huge and powerful particle accelerator located near Geneva. Mass, then, is not thought an invariable property of matter. So Dr Penrose found himself speculating one day about how a universe in which all particles had lost their mass through some as-yet-undefined process might look. One peculiarity of massless particles is that they have to travel at the speed of light. That (as Einstein showed) means that from the particle’s point of view time stands still and space contracts to nothingness. If all particles in the universe were massless, then, the universe would look to them to be infinitely small. And an infinitely small universe is one that would undergo a Big Bang.


Uncommon sense

It is well known that fundamental physics is full of ideas that defy what humans are pleased to call common sense. Even by those standards, however, Dr Penrose’s ideas are regarded as a little eccentric by his fellow cosmologists. But they do have one virtue that gives them scientific credibility: they make a prediction. Collisions between black holes produce spherical ripples in the fabric of spacetime, in the form of gravitational waves. In the Penrose model of reality these ripples are not abolished by a new Big Bang. Images of black-hole collisions that happened before the new Bang may thus imprint themselves as concentric circular marks in the emerging cosmic microwave background.
I'm going with this. It just seems to make perfect sense to me. In order for there to be a big bang, it needs to be a universe that's both infinitely small. The only way for that to happen would be for particles traveling at the speed of light (since the closer to the speed of light you get, the more massive you become) to make the universe appear to be infinitely small. Or would they need to be traveling faster than the speed of light in order for the universe to appear to be infinitely small? I'm not sure, but I agree with Penrose.




Also, I think it's fascinating to imagine two black holes colliding, never really thought about that until the article pointed it out.
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I can't even conceptualize time having a beginning, whether from the Big Bang or created by God.

A large part of it is based on the terminology - if time started to exist, then there was a 'time' when 'time' didn't exist...??? How can there be something before time - doesn't the very word 'before' necessitate the existence of time?

Also, it seems to me that the occurrence of any event requires time - an event can't be set in motion without time passing.

According to the article they're basically saying that the universe has gone through probably an infinite amount of big bangs. The universe that we're living in now is just one of the many cycles of life that the universe goes through. It comes to life with the big bang and dies when the black holes consume everything they can and everything that wasn't eaten by the black hole becomes massless. When that happens, there's another big bang.

What happened before the first big bang? A previous big bang. :lol:
 
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Wade8813

Registered Member
According to the article they're basically saying that the universe has gone through probably an infinite amount of big bangs. The universe that we're living in now is just one of the many cycles of life that the universe goes through. It comes to life with the big bang and dies when the black holes consume everything they can and everything that wasn't eaten by the black hole becomes massless. When that happens, there's another big bang.

What happened before the first big bang? A previous big bang. :lol:
Right. There's two theories being put forward in the OP - Stephen Hawking's theory that time originated with the Big Bang, which makes no sense to me, or the theory that time is infinite, and there have been an infinite number of Big Bangs (which I can at least sort of intuit).
 
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