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What if the universe had no beginning?

Are you seeing the stories this week suggesting that the Big Bang didn’t happen? According to astrophysicist Brian Koberlein – a great science communicator at Rochester Institute of Technology with a popular page on G+ – that’s not quite what the new research (published in early February 2015 Physics Letters B, has suggested. The new study isn’t suggesting there was no Big Bang, Koberlein says. It’s suggesting that the Big Bang did not start with a singularity – a point in space-time when matter is infinitely dense, as at the center of a black hole. How can this be? Koberlein explains on his website:
The catch is that by eliminating the singularity, the model predicts that the universe had no beginning. It existed forever as a kind of quantum potential before ‘collapsing’ into the hot dense state we call the Big Bang. Unfortunately many articles confuse ‘no singularity’ with ‘no big bang.’
The new model – in which our universe has no beginning and no end – comes from Ahmed Farag Ali at Benha University in Egypt and coauthor Saurya Das at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada. Their paper looks at a result derived from Einstein’s theory of general relativity known as the Raychaudhuri equation. Koberlein says:
Basically his equation describes how a volume of matter changes over time, so its a great way of finding where physical singularities exist in your model. But rather than using the classical Raychaudhuri equation, the authors use a variation with a few quantum tweaks. This approach is often called semi-classical …
The upshot is that this work eliminates the need for an initial singularity of the Big Bang. That is, it eliminates the need for a single infinitely dense point from which our universe sprang some 13.8 billion years ago. More via EarthSky.

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