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The enigma of origins: what was there before the Big Bang ?

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The story of our Universe begins some 13.8 billion years ago, when a tiny sphere of energy, unimaginably hot and dense, suddenly expanded. This is the essence of the conventional Big Bang story, a theory whose beginnings date back to the 1920s. Over the decades, this narrative has gradually been refined, particularly during the 1980s, when cosmologists put forward the hypothesis of a phase of dazzling expansion of the universe, a phenomenon called inflation.

However, this theory raises a most dizzying question: what reality preceded this phase of inflation ? A question all the more complex as our gaze, however keen it may be, comes up against an insurmountable cosmic boundary. Indeed, the first moments of the Universe remain veiled from our eyes, hidden behind a curtain of primordial light. This cosmic veil, the result of an event called “recombination”, marks the limit of our vision of the primitive Universe. Occurring approximately 380,000 years after the Big Bang, this crucial moment saw the first atoms form, finally allowing light to travel freely through space. This primordial light, the oldest vestige of our observable Universe, reaches us today in the form of the cosmic microwave background.

Thus, despite our incessant quest to unravel the mysteries of origins, we remain confronted with this fundamental limit: the impossibility of “seeing” the Big Bang itself.

Exploring the origins before inflation

In the beginnings of our cosmos, a singular form of matter, endowed with’ colossal energy, would have reversed the effects of gravity, causing an exponential expansion of the universal fabric in an infinitesimal amount of time. This brief phase of inflation, first conceptualized in the 1980s, proves essential for elucidating the apparent homogeneity and isotropy of the universe on a large scale. In other words, it is thanks to this phenomenon that our cosmos today presents such a uniform and smooth appearance . However, new research suggests other theories to explain the shape of the Universe.

According to this theory, the universe would have experienced a dizzying rapid expansion, increasing its dimensions tenfold by a factor of millions of billions in a fraction of a second. This dazzling expansion would have erased all the initial irregularities, giving the universe its current homogeneous appearance. Nevertheless, if inflation explains the structure of the universe as we know it, it raises a fundamental question: what was the trigger for this inflation and what happened upstream ?

To date, no device has been designed to directly observe events prior to inflation. Current observations of the universe can only go back to the period of inflation itself. However, mathematicians and theoretical physicists rely on Einstein's theory of general relativity to sketch out plausible scenarios going as far back in time as possible. General relativity, associating gravity with the curvature of space-time, offers a theoretical framework conducive to exploring the initial conditions of the universe.

Singularities: mathematical illusions or physical realities?

Recently, Ghazal Geshnizjani of the Perimeter Institute, Eric Ling of University of Copenhagen and Jerome Quintin of the University of Waterloo published an article in the Journal of High Energy Physics, looking into this question. They mobilized advanced mathematical concepts to determine whether the dawn of the Big Bang was similar to two phenomena that we already know :

  • The heart of a black hole: a place where the laws of physics as we know them no longer work and where we cannot really describe what happens there.
  • The event horizon: the surface of a black hole where nothing can escape.

Even if they don't have really settled on the question, their work has shed light on several plausible scenarios, depending on the initial conditions of the Universe.

At the heart of black holes lies an enigmatic region, the singularity, where the density reaches such colossal proportions that our conceptions of the Universe collapse. The researchers postulate that the pre-Big Bang state could be similar to this fascinating phenomenon. In the hypothesis of a primordial cosmos dominated by matter, such as stars and planets, rather than by energy, this initial singularity would likely be a curvature singularity. This would imply an original universe where the density and curvature of space-time reached infinity, rendering our physical laws obsolete.< /p>

However, the scenario would turn out to be radically different in a universe where dark energy predominated, with little presence of matter. In this case, the predicted singularity could only be a coordinate singularity, comparable to a border drawn on a geographical map. This mathematical illusion, far from being an insurmountable barrier, could be dissipated by a simple change of perspective or measurement system. Thus, light rays would easily cross this boundary previously perceived as insurmountable.

The work of Geshnizjani, Ling and Quintin thus demonstrates that the nature of the singularity is intrinsically linked to the primordial conditions of the Universe. Their findings therefore suggest two scenarios: a true curvature singularity if matter dominated the early universe, or a mathematical illusion if dark energy predominated, potentially offering a glimpse beyond of the Big Bang.

Ultimately, we still do not have a single and definitive answer to this big question ; This research only outlines a range of possibilities. These may one day serve as theoretical bases for future investigations, which will perhaps elucidate the initial conditions of the universe and definitively unravel the mystery of the pre-Big Bang. The possibility that we will never achieve this is also possible, cruelly reminding us of the limits of both our tools and our current models of understanding.

  • The history of our cosmos began with the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago, followed by a phenomenon of rapid expansion called inflation.< /li>
  • Currently, new research is exploring whether the Big Bang singularity is a curvature singularity (like at the center of a black hole) or a coordinate singularity (an illusion mathematical).
  • However, these recent observations do not provide us with a definitive answer; rather, they plot probabilities.

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Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116