From: Andy Soos, ENN
Published August 21, 2012 01:40 PM

The Big Bang Freeze

The Big Bang theory is the prevailing cosmological model that explains the early development of the Universe. According to the Big Bang theory, the Universe was once in an extremely hot and dense state which expanded rapidly. The Big Bang theory of creation implies a big explosion. The start of the Universe should be modeled not as a Big Bang but more like water freezing into ice, according to a team of theoretical physicists at the University of Melbourne and RMIT University.

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"Ancient Greek philosophers wondered what matter was made of: was it made of a continuous substance or was it made of individual atoms?" Lead researcher on the project, James Quach said "Current theorizing is the latest in a long quest by humans to understand the origins and nature of the Universe."

"Thousands of years later, Albert Einstein assumed that space and time were continuous and flowed smoothly, but we now believe that this assumption may not be valid at very small scales.  A new theory, known as Quantum Graphity, suggests that space may be made up of indivisible building blocks, like tiny atoms. These indivisible blocks can be thought about as similar to pixels that make up an image on a screen. The challenge has been that these building blocks of space are very small, and so impossible to see directly."

James Quach and his colleagues believe they may have figured out a way to see them indirectly.

"Think of the early universe as being like a liquid," he said. "Then as the universe cools, it crystallizes into the three spatial and one time dimension that we see today. Theorized this way, as the Universe cools, we would expect that cracks should form, similar to the way cracks are formed when water freezes into ice."

RMIT University research team member Associate Professor Andrew Greentree said some of these defects might be visible.

"Light and other particles would bend or reflect off such defects, and therefore in theory we should be able to detect these effects."

The team has calculated some of these effects and if their predictions are experimentally verified, the question as to whether space is smooth or constructed out of tiny indivisible parts will be solved once and for all.

The Big Bang was initially quite hot and then it cooled.  Whether "cracks" can be found will show that the underlying structure is not quite what has been assumed.

For further information see Quantum Graphity.

Universe image via Wikipedia and NASA.

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