News from the world of maths: The Plus podcast: What happened before the Big Bang?

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

As part of our celebration of the International Year of Astronomy 2009 we brought you the article What happened before the Big Bang?, in which John D. Barrow tells us all about the bubbly multiverse we apparantly live in. Here is the podcast of this interview, so you can listen to these strange ideas with your own ears.

Listen to the podcast.

If this has whetted your appetite for astronomy, then why not take part in our online poll to nominate the next question we'll put to the experts.

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posted by Plus @ 8:51 AM


At 3:00 PM, Blogger Erika said...

Hello, I do not know if it is possible to ask to John D. Barrow about the possibility of having in each bubble a different collection of laws of physics. Because if it is the case maybe they will have different elements and in that way will need different characteristics of expansion to be able to develop a sort of live, even a kind of civilization, on them.

Thank You.
Erika Roldan.
Guanajuato, México.

At 3:08 PM, Blogger Erika said...

Hello, I will like to know if it is possible to ask to John D. Barrow if each of the bubbles can have its own laws of physics, without having to be the same as ours. Because if it is the case, it could be that the elements, or the equivalent of the elements in other bubbles, are different from the ones that we have. In which case the time to develop a sort of live of civilizations would depend of the characteristics of each bubble.

And I will like also to ask what kind of mathematical structure is used in modeling the multivers theory.

Thank You.
From:Erika Roldán.
Guanajuato, México.

At 9:02 AM, Anonymous The Plus Team said...

Dear Erika,

We asked Professor Barrow and here is his reply:

"Indeed, we know that in some theories of fundamental physics there is the possibility that important aspects of physics, like the strengths of basic forces or the masses of elementary particles, will fall out differently in the
different regions we have called 'bubbles'. Other local features, like the level of non-uniformity in the material density or the balance between matter and antimatter may also be different.

At present we don't believe there can exist atom-based life like ours except where things are very close to what we
observe in our 'bubble'.

String theory also allows the number of large dimensions of space to be different from one bubble to another. But we know that with more than three large space dimensions no atoms or planets or stars can exist. The attractive forces of nature fall off too rapidly with distance to hold things together. For example, in an N dimensional space the familiar 'inverse square' laws of gravity and electromagnetism become inverse (N-1) laws."

At 12:20 AM, Blogger unRheal said...

Wouldn't we be seeing the light from at least *some* of these other bubbles - not sure how likely it'd be that most of them don't give off any sort of "light" that we can detect, but it sounded like "foam" means sort of lots and lots of bubbles - surely some would...(?)
Also aside note - the (voice, mostly) volume was too low, I had to turn it up so high that when something else made a sound it blasted out! (ended up saving it and amplifying & compressing it, then finished playing it)

At 7:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Listening to the podcast some questions arose:

Isn't the foam explanation just another fairytale story similar to the concept of god or the existence of super big membranes (from string theory)? It does not seem to answer the question of the existence just outlines a possible way of thinking about it. Isn't it true that in essence he said that the "foam" exists eternally (according to the existing model) and that there is some eternal force/process in it that makes it to form bubbles of universes? The question remains where this energy and foam would come from? Some may say it randomly comes from NOTHING and then annihilates returning to NOTHING. Sometimes (randomly) the symmetry of the process is broken and then SOMETHING comes to existence for a while and that creates EVERYTHING else. The question then is what hellish IMPULSE would make the NOTHING to express itself as SOMETHING? Could that be a mindless GOD?

Kind Regard
George Spilkov
P.S. I would appreciate if John D. Barrow would comment on that. Thank you.