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How To Explain The Big Bang


This is no easy job, of course, and the explanation provided is not intended to be definitive, but offer one view, and be thought provoking. It appeals to string theory, as explained in the previous article.

String theory appeals to 11 Dimensions presently, as opposed to our traditional view of 3D space: up-down, left-right, in-out; or 4D if we include a time dimension.

Originally string theory (from here on, ST) had 10 Dimensions, but this resulted in many string theories, and the introduction of 11th Dimension reduced these all to the same one. This 11th dimension is infinitely long but very, very small across.

In this theory, a membrane stretches across the universe from one side to the other, a giant structure. Oor whole universe is a membrane. This idea might explain the big bang.

Gravity had always been a bit of a mystery - why was it so weak? It may not appear to be, but it is if you think about it. For instance, magnetism is very strong - if you take a tiny magnet, and a small pin, it will drag the pin to it from a fair distance. Yet the entire earth cannot stop us jumping or lifting objects with its weak gravitational force. It doesn't suck us in. Why is it so weak?

To answer this, appeal is made to the 11th dimension. If, in here, there is another membrane which is leaking gravity to our universe, then it can explain our gravity. It is a feint signal emanating from this other universe. So, in order to explain gravity, an appeal to a parallel universe is made, which were traditionally rubbished and avoided, at least, by respectable physicists.

These parallel universes, with their respective membranes, may be completely different - others will have life. If there are an infinity of such universes, then some have said that this means there will be an infinity of universes that contain life (though this is a fallacious argument - for instance if no other combination of constants could logically possibly create life then no other universes will contain life).

So this 11th dimension now sounds very strange - it is full of these other membrane universes; it is a multiverse. HOw can it explain everything - including one of the fundamental questions - the singularity that is said to have led to the Big Bang (which was neither Big nor a Bang, a bit of a misnomer there!)

To do this, we need to think of waves. This 11th dimension is turbulent, with universes moving through it. Sometimes they move apart, other times they collide, crashing into each other like huge waves. Membrane collisions could cause a big bang. The big bang would be the aftermath of the ecounter of the two parallel universes. But how could such a collision create the world that we know, with its stars and galaxies in clumps and clusters?

To do this, we look at the properties of the membrane, and if we drop the assumption that they are flat and perfect, but rather rippled then we can answer the question. Where the two membranes meet, they are not perfectly aligned, but two waves out of sync, and these ripples produce the clumps of matter. Therefore as an explanation of the birth of the universe, this theory seems acceptable.

In fact, we can take the laws of physics back on before the birth of the universe, back before the big bang and through the other side, which means that there was time before the big bang, where changes took place to a different world.

The singularity problem disappears. This radically new suggestion means that Einsteins' missing theory is found, and we have something approximating to a theory of everything. Membrane theory, then, could explain everything.

Of course, if this is the case, then it is a bitter sweet victory; for it means that we are nothing special. Rather, there is an infinity of membranes out there in the multiverse, many rather like ours no doubt, though we do not exist in them (certainly on conventional views of personal identity - that what it takes to be person x at time t, and the same person x at t2). So, big bangs may be occurring all of the time. Our universe co-exists with many others; we are merely one bubble floating in an ocean of other bubbles.

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By: Dan on Tue, Jun 11th 2002

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