Physicists at the University of Melbourne have proposed a new way of looking at the origins of our universe, suggesting that everything that is came not from a Big Bang, but a Big Chill. The team, led by researcher James Quach, suggests that rather than a highly compressed universe exploding outwards in a huge release of energy, the universe as we know it instead coalesced from amorphous energy into its current crystallized form, like water freezing into ice.
In a paper published this month in the journal Physical Review D, Quach’s team theorizes that rather than a compressed point of matter, the pre-universe was a roiling, super hot soup of energy. Once that soup cooled off sufficiently — about 13.7 billion years ago, give or take — it solidified and crystallized, giving us the three dimensions of space and one dimension of time that we’ve all been brought up with.
Crystallization is an imperfect process, though, a fact that could offer the team a chance to test their theory. Just as cracks can appear in an ice cube or flaws crop up in a diamond, the newly solidified universe would contain regions where the crystallization process didn’t take.
These regions would be marked by light and other cosmic particles reflecting off of them or travelling around them, as the laws of nature could be changed in areas that never fully crystallized into the stuff of the universe that we all know and love. The next step in research for the team is to go in search of these flawed areas while also hoping that no terrors from beyond space-time come bounding out of them — a real concern any time one goes searching for broken parts of the ancient universe.
(via space.com, image courtesy of NASA)
- The oldest gas clouds in the universe might have something to say about this
- As could these black holes that seem to predate the beginning of the universe
- Pulsars and black hoes act weird sometimes. We don’t really know what’s up with that