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The universe keeps dying and being reborn, claims Nobel Prize winner
Sir Roger Penrose claims our universe has been through multiple Big Bangs, with more coming.
- Roger Penrose, the 2020 Nobel Prize winner in physics, claims the universe goes through cycles of death and rebirth.
- According to the scientist, there have been multiple Big Bangs, with more on the way.
- Penrose claims that black holes hold clues to the existence of previous universes.
Sir Roger Penrose, a mathematician and physicist from the University of Oxford who has just shared this year's Nobel Prize in physics, claims our universe has gone through multiple Big Bangs, with another one coming in our future.
Penrose received the Nobel for his working out mathematical methods that proved and expanded Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity, and for his discoveries on black holes, which showed how objects that become too dense undergo gravitational collapse into singularities – points of infinite mass.
As he accepted the Prize, Penrose reiterated his belief in what he called "a crazy theory of mine" that the universe will expand until all matter will ultimately decay. And then a new Big Bang will bring a new universe into existence.
"The Big Bang was not the beginning," Penrose said in an interview with The Telegraph. "There was something before the Big Bang and that something is what we will have in our future."
What proof does the physicist have for this theory he dubbed "conformal cyclic cosmology" (CCC) that goes against the current Big Bang dogma? He said he discovered six "warm" sky points (called "Hawking Points") which are all about eight times larger than the diameter of the Moon. The late Professor Stephen Hawking, whose name they bear, proposed that black holes "leak" radiation and would eventually evaporate. As this might take longer than the age of the universe we are currently inhabiting (13.77 billion years old), spotting such holes is very unlikely.
Penrose (89), who collaborated with Hawking, thinks that we are, in fact, able to observe "dead" black holes left by previous universes or "aeons". If proven correct, this would also validate Hawking's theories.
The physicist's 2020 paper, published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, offers evidence of "anomalous circular spots" in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) that have raised temperatures. The data revealing the spots came from Planck 70 GHz satellite and was confirmed by up to 10,000 simulations.
Hot spots in Planck CMB data.
Credit: ESA and the Planck Collaboration
Penrose's 2018 paper pinpointed radiation hot spots in the CMB as possibly being produced by evaporating black holes. A 2010 paper by Penrose and Vahe Gurzadyan from the Yerevan Physics Institute in Armenia found support for cyclic cosmology in the uniform temperature rings within the CMB. The scientists proposed then that the rings were caused by signatures of gravitational waves from colliding black holes in a universe that preceded ours.
These ideas are controversial within the cosmologist community, with some pointing to the difficulty of conforming an infinitely big universe in one aeon to a super-small one in the next. This would necessitate making all particles lose mass as the universe gets old.
For another fascinating Penrose theory, check out his views on the quantum-level origins of our consciousness.
Roger Penrose - Did the Universe Begin?
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Some mysteries take generations to unfold.
- In 1959, a group of nine Russian hikers was killed in an overnight incident in the Ural Mountains.
- Conspiracies about their deaths have flourished ever since, including alien invasion, an irate Yeti, and angry tribesmen.
- Researchers have finally confirmed that their deaths were due to a slab avalanche caused by intense winds.
a: Last picture of the Dyatlov group taken before sunset, while making a cut in the slope to install the tent. b: Broken tent covered with snow as it was found during the search 26 days after the event.
Photographs courtesy of the Dyatlov Memorial Foundation.<p>Finally, a <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s43247-020-00081-8" target="_blank">new study</a>, published in the Nature journal Communications Earth & Environment, has put the case to rest: it was a slab avalanche.</p><p>This theory isn't exactly new either. Researchers have long been skeptical about the avalanche notion, however, due to the grade of the hill. Slab avalanches don't need a steep slope to get started. Crown or flank fractures can quickly release as little as a few centimeters of earth (or snow) sliding down a hill (or mountain). </p><p>As researchers Johan Gaume (Switzerland's WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF) and Alexander Puzrin (Switzerland's Institute for Geotechnical Engineering) write, it was "a combination of irregular topography, a cut made in the slope to install the tent and the subsequent deposition of snow induced by strong katabatic winds contributed after a suitable time to the slab release, which caused severe non-fatal injuries, in agreement with the autopsy results."</p><p>Conspiracy theories abound when evidence is lacking. Twenty-six days after the incident, a team showed up to investigate. They didn't find any obvious sounds of an avalanche; the slope angle was below 30 degrees, ruling out (to them) the possibility of a landslide. Plus, the head injuries suffered were not typical of avalanche victims. Inject doubt and crazy theories will flourish.</p>
Configuration of the Dyatlov tent installed on a flat surface after making a cut in the slope below a small shoulder. Snow deposition above the tent is due to wind transport of snow (with deposition flux Q).
Photo courtesy of Communications Earth & Environment.<p>Add to this Russian leadership's longstanding battle with (or against) the truth. In 2015 the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation decided to reopen this case. Four years later the agency concluded it was indeed a snow avalanche—an assertion immediately challenged within the Russian Federation. The oppositional agency eventually agreed as well. The problem was neither really provided conclusive scientific evidence.</p><p>Gaume and Puzrin went to work. They provided four critical factors that confirmed the avalanche: </p><ul><li>The location of the tent under a shoulder in a locally steeper slope to protect them from the wind </li><li>A buried weak snow layer parallel to the locally steeper terrain, which resulted in an upward-thinning snow slab</li><li>The cut in the snow slab made by the group to install the tent </li><li>Strong katabatic winds that led to progressive snow accumulation due to the local topography (shoulder above the tent) causing a delayed failure</li></ul><p>Case closed? It appears so, though don't expect conspiracy theories to abate. Good research takes time—sometimes generations. We're constantly learning about our environment and then applying those lessons to the past. While we can't expect every skeptic to accept the findings, from the looks of this study, a 62-year-old case is now closed.</p><p> --</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a> and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Facebook</a>. His most recent book is</em> "<em><a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08KRVMP2M?pf_rd_r=MDJW43337675SZ0X00FH&pf_rd_p=edaba0ee-c2fe-4124-9f5d-b31d6b1bfbee" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy</a>."</em></p>
As patients approached death, many had dreams and visions of deceased loved ones.
One of the most devastating elements of the coronavirus pandemic has been the inability to personally care for loved ones who have fallen ill.
Research reveals a new evolutionary feature that separates humans from other primates.
- Researchers find a new feature of human evolution.
- Humans have evolved to use less water per day than other primates.
- The nose is one of the factors that allows humans to be water efficient.
A model of water turnover for humans and chimpanzees who have similar fat free mass and body water pools.
Credit: Current Biology
Being skeptical isn't just about being contrarian. It's about asking the right questions of ourselves and others to gain understanding.