Hey Bill Nye! Could a Black Hole Have Created the Big Bang?
Most likely not, though Bill's not ruling it out completely.
Bill Nye, scientist, engineer, comedian, author, and inventor, is a man with a mission: to help foster a scientifically literate society, to help people everywhere understand and appreciate the science that makes our world work. Making science entertaining and accessible is something Bill has been doing most of his life.
In Seattle Nye began to combine his love of science with his flair for comedy, when he won the Steve Martin look-alike contest and developed dual careers as an engineer by day and a stand-up comic by night. Nye then quit his day engineering day job and made the transition to a night job as a comedy writer and performer on Seattle’s home-grown ensemble comedy show “Almost Live.” This is where “Bill Nye the Science Guy®” was born. The show appeared before Saturday Night Live and later on Comedy Central, originating at KING-TV, Seattle’s NBC affiliate.
While working on the Science Guy show, Nye won seven national Emmy Awards for writing, performing, and producing. The show won 18 Emmys in five years. In between creating the shows, he wrote five children’s books about science, including his latest title, “Bill Nye’s Great Big Book of Tiny Germs.”
Nye is the host of three currently-running television series. “The 100 Greatest Discoveries” airs on the Science Channel. “The Eyes of Nye” airs on PBS stations across the country.
Bill’s latest project is hosting a show on Planet Green called “Stuff Happens.” It’s about environmentally responsible choices that consumers can make as they go about their day and their shopping. Also, you’ll see Nye in his good-natured rivalry with his neighbor Ed Begley. They compete to see who can save the most energy and produce the smallest carbon footprint. Nye has 4,000 watts of solar power and a solar-boosted hot water system. There’s also the low water use garden and underground watering system. It’s fun for him; he’s an engineer with an energy conservation hobby.
Nye is currently the Executive Director of The Planetary Society, the world’s largest space interest organization.
Jeremy Gibson: Hey. Jeremy Gibson from Vernon, Illinois. I had to write it out on a script so I can actually get the question right. What if the Big Bang is nothing more than the eventual explosion of a black hole when its energy is not enough to keep everything it has pulled in inside? In theory it is an exceptionally dense rotating ball of matter right?
Bill Nye: So Jeremy, that’s a great question. First let me point out that nobody knows, but secondly the people that work very hard on understanding the beginning of everything, the Big Bang. They have not come up with the idea that it was a single black hole. Just this week people discovered the star they’re calling Nasty, which created a disc a thousand times the diameter of the solar system. The scale of the thing is really hard to get. The reason I think that your idea about it being a single black hole is probably not right is the scale of it. There are at least 10 to the 85th atoms in the observable universe. Any black hole or star that we’ve come across is just not that big. Not even close to that big. We started talking about dozens of orders of magnitude, dozens of factors of 10. It’s just the Big Bang was a big deal. I mean you and I and everything that we can observe came from it as far as we can tell. So you may be right. And maybe this star Nasty will lead to a discovery that will inform your question. But right now, I think you’re just, you’re not appreciating how big everything is or how big everything must have been.
And then there’s this question, Jeremy, of the unknowable time. There’s a time according to sort of first-cut relativity. There’s a time we can’t know because of the quantum. Because the energy is either here or it’s not there. And so people just love to speculate about what happened in that moment. And maybe you will be the guy that discovers it. Maybe your question will give an astrophysicist an idea and he or she will go I’ve got it and we will all stay tuned. That’s a cool question Jeremy.
This week's #TuesdaysWithBill question comes from Jeremy in Illinois: "What if the Big Bang is nothing more than the eventual explosion of a black hole when its energy is not enough to keep everything it has pulled in inside? In theory it is an exceptionally dense rotating ball of matter right?"
The Science Guy sinks his teeth into this intriguing question. His answer? Most likely not, though that's not to say the idea should be completely ruled out. Bill's doubts stem from scale — an exploding black hole likely would not have been large enough to create you, me, Bill, Jeremy, and everything else out there. Then again, maybe some astronomer somewhere is on the verge of discovering that we're really just the byproduct of a black hole detonation. That'd be pretty cool, we think.
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