Did the Big Bang Actually Happen?

Did the Big Bang Actually Happen?

Scientists took a massive step in their quest to scientifically prove the Big Bang Theory.

This is probably one of the most asked questions in human history. Did the Big Bang happen? Or is it a cooked-up assumption that tries to explain the origin of everything? The Big Bang Theory is the most widely accepted explanation for how everything came into existence. It paints an accurate picture of the birth of our universe. The idea of Big Bang is decades old however it was named “Big Bang” by a British Astronomer Fred Hoyle in 1949. Most scientists believe the universe is expanding every second. Most of the galaxies we have discovered are moving away from us, some at the speed of several hundred kilometers per second. This fits snugly into the concept that the Big Bang started it all.

Ever since that cosmic event, the universe has been expanding rapidly from a small singularity. As the universe continued to expand, it cooled to the point where electrons were able to combine with protons to form hydrogen atoms (the Recombination Period). In the absence of free electrons, the photons were able to move unhindered through the Universe. This explains why the entirety of the universe is uniform in its ‘structure’. After Einstein published his theory of Relativity, physicists have begun to view the universe as an ever-expanding and evolving entity.

In 1992, NASA launched a mission Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) to take ‘baby pictures’ of the universe. Later on, the COBE team announced that they had successfully mapped the primeval ‘hot and cold spots’ in the background radiation. Subsequent missions were launched in the years that followed and each delivered higher resolution images of radiations across the universe.

Despite the fact that the Big Bang theory has been accepted widely, it has never been proved. This may change soon because a team from Harvard University and Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics have come up with a new experiment to test a certain aspect of the theory. In a paper named “Unique Fingerprints of Alternatives to Inflation in the Primordial Power Spectrum”, the possibility of an answer to the long-running question “How can be something as colossal as the Universe be so homogenous?” might exist. Although none of this proves that the Big Bang theory is correct or not, it does line up with all the facts and data the astrophysicists have so far and seems to be a step in the right direction.

It is believed that the Universe was a small dense mass that exploded (Hence the ‘Big Bang’) and about 10-36 seconds after, the mass started expanding rather quickly. It is said that at the start, the expansion happened at speeds faster than that of light. It is still expanding to this day. Scientists believe that since the entire universe was created out of a single dense body, its properties are the same no matter how far it expands into the void. This is by no means the only explanation for proving the Big Bang concept but it signifies major progress. Abraham Loeb, a Senior Lecturer at Harvard University explained it by saying,

“Although many observed properties of the structures within our universe are consistent with the inflation scenario, there are so many models of inflation that it is difficult to falsify it. Inflation also led to the notion of the multiverse in which anything that can happen will happen an infinite number of times, and such a theory is impossible to falsify through experiments, which is the trademark of traditional physics. By now, there are competing scenarios that do not involve inflation, in which the universe first contracts and then bounces instead of starting at a Big Bang. These scenarios could match the current observables of inflation. The scale factor of the universe is affecting the rate by which a tape is being pulled as the clock leaves tick marks on it.”

This research is most likely a start of something groundbreaking in Cosmology. The team plans on detecting non-uniformities on a massive scale throughout the universe in order to initiate further research. As new theories about the birth of the universe begin to surface, alternative explanations can be ruled out slowly and one day we may have a perfect explanation of how our universe came to be.

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