Quote of the day—Ethan Siegel

  • The Big Bang teaches us that our expanding, cooling universe used to be younger, denser, and hotter in the past.

  • However, extrapolating all the way back to a singularity leads to predictions that disagree with what we observe.

  • Instead, cosmic inflation preceded and set up the Big Bang, changing our cosmic origin story forever.

Ethan Siegel
October 13, 2021
Surprise: the Big Bang isn’t the beginning of the universe anymore
[Data exists back to about one second from the beginning.of the universe! Prior to that it’s speculation. The Big Bang from a singularity hypothesis doesn’t match some of the early data. Cosmic inflation is a better match.



9 thoughts on “Quote of the day—Ethan Siegel

  1. Neat, but I didn’t see what triggered the big bang. Need to read more of those articles.
    I’d also like to see an explanation sometime why there is more matter than antimatter, or alternatively, why that is at least the case near here.

  2. I would like to see the whatever it is, that compressed all the matter that is, into something that small?
    I’ve built a lot of rock crushers in my time. Some over a 100′ tall. Some that would fit on the back of a tractor PTO.
    The external forces required to accomplish such a feat? Or an internal attraction that would draw it together that tightly? Only suspend believe that such a thing could happen.
    The one thing for sure in all of it is, a lot of people are going to live and retire very comfortable, trying to figure it out.
    The problem I see is we live in a finite world. Where all things have a beginning and an ending. So we naturally try to stuff all we see into it?
    It has to start and end to make it understandable in our simple, primal minds.
    But in reality. No such thing might have happened.
    Please forgive my suspicions of people spending billions using mechanical inventions trying to figure out what happened, (according to most of them), all by itself.
    Perhaps it would help if scientists started calling themselves theoreticians?

  3. all of this simply confirms the absolute limitations on human knowledge and capacity to know. absolutely nothing is confirmed by this “big bang” stuff. it is just speculation based upon limited capacity to know and understand.

    accept it.

    • Yep, we as a society refuse to acknowledge that there are limits to knowledge that no amount of science can breach. Just look at COVID modeling. I was using partial differential equations to model predicator prey and hydrological processes in the 70s and 80s. Interesting, but just broad averages based on statistics and probability distributions just like COVID modeling today. Mostly useless for detailed prediction with at best only crude what if answers.

      Even if we were to vastly expand data acquisition, it would only expand the horizon. Primarily because the processes have fat tailed non-normal probability distributions that makes things like averages and variances non existent. Read The Black Swan.

      PS You can always compute an average or variance, but that does not mean that it is real.

  4. p.s. and, as far as “data” existing to go back to 1 second before ….. . utter and absolute nonsense.

    • One second after the start of the expansion.

      No. It’s not nonsense. Every time you look at the stars you are looking at data of things that happened hundreds if not thousands of years ago.

      Read up on “background microwave radiation” as a start. That is extremely old data and it has been confirmed by thousands of scientists.

  5. All this debate does is demonstart just how little we know about the universe. We can speculate and hypothesize plenty but it’s very unlikely we will ever know with 100% certainty how the universe orginated nor how it will end. But we do learn occasionally useful things by trying to figure it out.

  6. Thinking aboiut Dan’s comment (above), some years back, when we were driving Humvees and Abrams all over Iraq some intelligence type mentioned that the people think differently there, so differently that maybe we cannot understand just how they think.

    Perhaps a similar sentiment also applies to the universe; we’ve learned a lot in our few thousand years observing it, and no doubt will continue to learn more. Will we ever learn “that last secret” that explains everything? We’ve got about 5 billion years to continue the hunt before our sun burns out (assuming we don’t continue humanity’s journey somewhere else), so maybe, maybe not. In tne meantime, it’s a quite engaging pastime searching for it, and who knows what else may be discovered along the way.

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