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The Big Bang Theory in a nutsell

06 July 2012, 11:36
So much floundering and grasping at straws from the religious folk after the Higgs boson discovery. Rather than going into that, let's rather focus on what some people have been saying about the Big Bang Theory and how it's, basically, a load of rubbish. Beep! You are the weakest link. No, not missing link.

The biggest problem with getting real awareness of the BBT out there is one of language and education. Not everyone is a super-science-geek. I thought I would have a go at explaining it in layman's terms. Maybe this topic can finally be laid to rest, although I doubt it. There will always be people who are creationists, yes, those folk who believe everything was made in seven days and Eve came from Adam's rib. I am not saying all religious folk believe this - but there are many who do.

Let's start with the usual attack on BBT or evolution - the claiming by religious people that both are simply "theories" and cannot be proven or disproven. Actually, a scientific theory can be disproven. If data comes in that irrefutably shows that a particular theory is wrong, it is thrown out. A really good example of this is  Einstein's cosmological constant theory. That was disproven and Einstein was appalled that he had made such a mistake. Something like the BBT, despite how well the LHC performs and supports the theory, is hard to scientifically prove - science requires experiments to be repeated before they become fact. We cannot, yet, create a universe to prove we are right.

The origins of the universe have been the subject of religious, philosophical, and scientific discussion and debate since man first developed a brain with which to contemplate it. People who have tried to uncover the mysteries of the universe's development include famous scientists like  Einstein,  Hubble and Hawking. The most widely accepted theory for the origins of the universe is the Big Bang Theory. There is no evidence to show the theory is flawed - just like evolution.

Although the big bang theory is well known, it's also widely misunderstood. A common misconception about the theory is that it describes the origin of the universe. That's not quite right. The big bang is an attempt to explain how the universe developed from a very tiny, dense state into what it is today. It doesn't attempt to explain what initiated the creation of the universe, or what came before the big bang or even what lies outside the universe.

Another misconception is that the big bang was a kind of explosion. That's not accurate either. The big bang describes the expansion of the universe. While some versions of the theory refer to an incredibly rapid expansion (possibly faster than the speed of light), it's still not an explosion in the classic sense.

The theory makes several predictions, many of which have been proven through observational data. As a result, it's the most popular and accepted theory regarding our universe's development.

Many people think that the big bang is about a moment in which all the matter and energy in the universe was concentrated in a tiny point. Then this point exploded, shooting matter across space, and the universe was born. In fact, the big bang explains the expansion of space itself, which in turn means everything contained within space is spreading apart from everything else. The illustrations below should help a little.

When we look at the night sky, we see galaxies separated by what appears to be huge expanses of empty space. At the earliest moments of the big bang, all of the matter, energy and space we could observe was compressed to an area of zero volume and infinite density. Cosmologists call this a singularity.

What was the universe like at the beginning of the big bang? According to the theory, it was extremely dense and extremely hot. There was so much energy in the universe during those first few moments that matter as we know it couldn't form. But the universe expanded rapidly, which means it became less dense and cooled down. As it expanded, matter began to form and radiation began to lose energy. In only a few seconds, the universe formed out of a singularity that stretched across space.

One result of the big bang was the formation of the four basic forces in the universe. These forces are:
1. Electromagnetism
2. Strong nuclear force
3. Weak nuclear force
4. Gravity

At the beginning of the big bang, these forces were probably all part of a unified force. It was only shortly after the big bang began that the forces separated into what they are today. How these forces were once part of a unified whole is a mystery to scientists. Many physicists and cosmologists are still working on forming the Grand Unified Theory, which would explain how the four forces were once united and how they relate to one another.

So, while investigation is ongoing, there has been no scientific or astronomical discovery of new data that repudiates it.
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