While many of us may be OK with the idea of the big bang simply starting everything, physicists, including Hawking, tend to shy away from cosmic genesis. “A point of creation would be a place where science broke down. One would have to appeal to religion and the hand of God,” Hawking told the meeting, at the University of Cambridge, in a pre-recorded speech.
For a while it looked like it might be possible to dodge this problem, by relying on models such as an eternally inflating or cyclic universe, both of which seemed to continue infinitely in the past as well as the future. Perhaps surprisingly, these were also both compatible with the big bang, the idea that the universe most likely burst forth from an extremely dense, hot state about 13.7 billion years ago.
However, as cosmologist Alexander Vilenkin of Tufts University in Boston explained last week, that hope has been gradually fading and may now be dead. He showed that all these theories still demand a beginning.
It’s interesting that Vilenkin would be bearing this news. A trip through the files turned up:
“Welcome to the Multiverse: in Alexander Vilenkin and Max Tegmark, “The Case for Parallel Universes: Why the multiverse, crazy as it sounds, is a solid scientific idea” (July 19, 2011).
Also A. Vilenkin, “Birth of Inflationary Universes,” Physical Review D 27 (1983): 2854, and A. Vilenkin, “Creation of the Universe from Nothing,” Physical Letters 117B (1982): 25–8.
Change of mind, it seems.
Follow UD News at Twitter!