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Monday, July 02, 2007

What happened before the Big Bang?

New discoveries about another universe whose collapse appears to have given birth to the one we live in today will be announced in the early on-line edition of the journal Nature Physics on 1 July 2007 and will be published in the August 2007 issue of the journal's print edition.
The idea that the universe erupted with a Big Bang explosion has been a big barrier in scientific attempts to understand the origin of our expanding universe, although the Big Bang long has been considered by physicists to be the best model. As described by Einstein's Theory of General Relativity, the origin of the Big Bang is a mathematically nonsensical state -- a "singularity" of zero volume that nevertheless contained infinite density and infinitely large energy. Now, however, Bojowald and other physicists at Penn State are exploring territory unknown even to Einstein -- the time before the Big Bang -- using a mathematical time machine called Loop Quantum Gravity. This theory, which combines Einstein's Theory of General Relativity with equations of quantum physics that did not exist in Einstein's day, is the first mathematical description to systematically establish the existence of the Big Bounce and to deduce properties of the earlier universe from which our own may have sprung. For scientists, the Big Bounce opens a crack in the barrier that was the Big Bang.
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