Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cosmology’s Inflation Debate: Why the Big Bang Theory may be Flawed

Paul J. Steinhardt explains in his “The Inflation Debate: Is the theory at the heart of modern cosmology deeply flawed?” from the April, 2011 issue of Scientific Americans that indeed, the universe may not have rapidly expanded following the big bang. This rapid expansion is termed cosmic inflation, and many have, until now, thought of it as a fact, not a theory. However, this theory is now under great debate. The cosmic inflation theory argues that the shape and consistency of our universe are both the result of a rapid expansion of space immediately after the big bang.

The reason for this debate is that the circumstances for which inflation can occur are very unlikely. In a sense, that is what makes this theory so interesting, and people generally like interesting things. Some scientists may have gone along with this idea because they felt that such an amazing phenomenon as the big bang required an unbelievable explanation to explain it. Another piece of the cosmic inflation theory that is being put under the microscope is how it is believed to be never ending, with no certain endpoint, having no real forecasts as to what the universe will look like in, say, a hundred years.

Scientists all over the globe are currently working to solve whether this mutinous idea that the cosmic inflation theory is rubbish actually has some truth to it. There are many different proposals in the works that deal with either fixing or replacing this inflation theory. It will surely be interesting to see what these scientists come up with as the new working theory to explain the events following the big bang.

Posted by Derek Melzar (2).


  1. Since nobody has yet commented on my blog post, I chose to end it with a couple additional questions - as my "response" - that I find very interesting; they are below:
    Our universe is one that is "open," and many theorize that, prior to the big bang, the universe was "closed," causing the big bang when it closed in on itself into a singularity. And so, if - before the big bang - our universe was "closed," what was the origin of that? Did the expansion of the universe reach the end of time and space, or perhaps collide into another "universe?" I find these questions very intriguing, and the answers nearly unknowable. And, I will say that, if someone has a comment on these questions relating to creationism, that is fine with me as well. Answering these questions is nothing like the "chicken and egg" problems, but far more difficult, as a "closed" universe cannot directly result from an "open" universe, unless some sort of "outside force" acted upon it; this "outside force" could be anything from another universe to a/the creator.

    Posted by Derek Melzar

  2. Apparently there is an alternate theory for universal expansion, by which the universe is goes through an infinite cycle of expansion and contraction. By this thinking, the universe expands gradually to the point at which there is no potential for entropy, and the universe then undergoes a period of contraction. This would replenish matter and radiation to the universal system, and allow for additional cycles of expansion and eventual contraction to occur. Although this doesn't make a tremendous amount of sense to me (I admittedly have no grasp of physics), this is apparently a contested topic within physics, and is backed by several researchers/theorists. According to many backers, the notion of a cyclic universe conforms well into the "superstring" theory of the universe, by which there are nine to ten spatial dimensions, etc. etc. For me to try to explain it would be awful to read and decipher, but here is a link to an article which may clarify/understand the idea to a greater extent than I could:

    Hopefully you'll find it interesting!
    -Luke Brewer

  3. Luke,

    Thank you. I am looking forward to reading that article.

    Posted by Derek Melzar

  4. I have long since doubted Inflation as a theory, discounting it on the impossible attributes of it's expansion. He who shouts loudest wins theory might just as well be used. Perhaps we should look back not at the Big Bang but at the Focal Point. When the pure Vaccuum of space was broken by the resonant frequency of the Universe. As the wave grows it shrinks not in 2D but 3D (Quantum) as it rips apart or breaks it breaks along a line that all fractures at a similar time (+/-), creating a web. In this web grew the status of the Big Bang eventually lighting up the darkness of a near pure vaccuum.