How to Know Once and For All if the Universe Began With a Bang or a Bounce

How to Know Once and For All if the Universe Began With a Bang or a Bounce

According to the Big Bang cosmological model, our Universe began 13.8 billion years ago when all the matter and energy in the cosmos began expanding. This period of “cosmic inflation” is believed to be what accounts for the large-scale structure of the Universe and why space and the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) appear to be largely uniform in all directions. science and space of universe science

However, to date, no evidence has been discovered that can definitely prove the cosmic inflation scenario or rule out alternative theories. But thanks to a new study by a team of astronomers from Harvard University and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA), scientists may have a new means of testing one of the key parts of the Big Bang cosmological model. science and space of universe science

Their paper, titled “Unique Fingerprints of Alternatives to Inflation in the Primordial Power Spectrum“, recently appeared online and is being considered for publication in the Physical Review Letters. The study was conducted by Xingang Chen and Abraham Loeb – a senior lecturer at Harvard University and the Frank D. Baird Chair of Astronomy at Harvard University, respectively – and Zhong-Zhi Xianyu, a postdoctoral fellow with the Department of Physics at Harvard University. science and space of universe science

science and space of universe science

To recap, in physical cosmology, the theory of cosmic inflation states that at 10-36 seconds after the Big Bang, the singularity where all matter and energy was concentrated began to expand. This “Inflationary Epoch” is believed to have lasted until 10-33 to 10-32seconds after the Big Bang; after which, the Universe began to expand more slowly. In accordance with this theory, the initial expansion of the Universe was faster than the speed of light. science and space of universe science

The theory that such an epoch existed is useful for cosmologists because it helps explain why the Universe has nearly the same conditions in regions that are very distant from each other. Basically, if the cosmos originated from a tiny volume of space that was inflated to become bigger than we can currently observe, it would explain why the large-scale structure of the Universe is nearly uniform and homogeneous. science and space of universe science

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