While searching Discover, I ran up against this from Perimeter Institute cosmologist Neil Turok, “Will We Discover That the Universe Had No Beginning and Has No End?” (October 2010):
In the conventional picture of the origin of the universe, the Big Bang is the beginning of time. This is one of the greatest mysteries in science, and I’ve spent the last few years trying to work out how to make sense of the moment when, in that picture, the universe emerged from a point of infinite density and temperature—what’s known as the initial singularity. I’m exploring the idea that the singularity was not the beginning of time. In this new view, time didn’t have a beginning, and the Big Bang resulted from a collision of branes, sheetlike spaces that exist within a higher-dimensional reality. These collisions might happen repeatedly, creating an eternal, cyclic universe. We are now close to having the first mathematically and logically complete, consistent description of the passage of a universe through a singularity.
The thing is, we’ve been close to the eternal cyclic universe for the better part of three millennia. That’s what the ancient Greeks assumed we were living in. It was the evidence that turned left when the theory turned right.
I wonder how the “first mathematically and logically complete, consistent description of the passage of a universe through a singularity” will fare against that.