OUR universe rose from the ashes of a dying cosmos, thanks to a push from a ghostly force. So says a model supporting the idea that the universe was born not with a bang, but a bounce.
What’s more, the theory would do away with the popular notion that the infant cosmos rapidly ballooned in size during a period called inflation.
No, this theory originates at Princeton:
Inflation is more of an explanation than a predictive model of our universe, says Paul Steinhardt of Princeton University. So for about a decade, he and his colleagues have advocated the cyclic universe as an alternative. In their theory, a previous universe went through a phase of slow contraction, crunching space-time. Then something reversed the process and it expanded again to make a new universe.
So that’s it, then? Oh, wait:
Steinhardt admits that this bounce model has its demons. For one, the ghost field is just a placeholder, and the true nature of the one that gave us a push is as mysterious as whatever would have driven inflation. (New Scientist)
Okay. Someone. Fetch the vacuum cleaner.