Itâ€™s the last day of the year and this evening you will be contemplating resolutions for the New Year and whether another glass of champagne is really a good idea. So while you are in contemplative mood here is some food for really deep thought; the nature of the Universe.
Just recently there have been some studies released that question previous assumptions as to what was happening before the Big Bang which began the Universe. This has sparked debate and counter claims but we will leave all that boffin-barrage behind and confine ourselves for the moment to considering what is generally agreed about our Universal origins.
The generally accepted view among cosmology types is that around 13.7 billion years ago there was a bit of an event that we call the Big Bang. This was something that will put any fireworks show you attend this evening to shame; it was the exploding into existence of the Universe and space and time.
To explain the uniformity of the Universe, it is thought that immediately after the Big Bang the Universe went through an extremely rapid but brief period of expansion known as â€œinflationâ€ (donâ€™t get excited bankers; you canâ€™t raise interest rates because of this one). After this initial frenetic activity the Universe has continued to expand but at a more leisurely rate.
Some cosmologists though think that the uniformity of the Universe results from the tail end of a previous aeon prior to the Big Bang in which the Universe had expanded to a point where it had become infinitely large and extremely smooth (yes, thatâ€™s right, smooth). That big smooth aeon is postulated to have been born by another Big Bang which came from an earlier aeon and so on.
So what we are left with is an eternal and endless cycle of Universes being Banged into existence. Is this really an answer to anything though or is just words trying to define concepts about things which are beyond conceptualisation?
What we do know is that you will be nursing that glass of champagne (or green tea, depending on your predilections) this evening and as you do here is some fodder for your musing. Isnâ€™t the Universe, by definition, â€œeverythingâ€? If it is everything then what is beyond the Universe; what contains it? If there is something that contains it then the Universe isnâ€™t everything. Plus, if time is just a construct of the human mind to try and make linear sense of things then nothing really comes before or after anything else and so all of those Universes are actually Big Banging right nowâ€¦so why donâ€™t we notice? If time isnâ€™t a construct then what comes before everything began? If something comes before everything began then the beginning wasnâ€™t the beginning; was it?
Thatâ€™s enough contemplation; time to enjoy friends and family and share some love.
Have a magical 2011.