Evidence of a Past Universe? Circular Patterns in the Cosmic Microwave Background
Stephen Hawking has said: “We should look for evidence of a collision with another universe in our distant Past.” Some experts believe that what we call the universe may only be one of many. Is there any conceivable way that we could ever detect and study other universes if they exist? Is it even falsifiable?
This was a key question Hawking was was asked in an interview with the BBC. “Our best bet for a theory of everything is M-theory —an extension of string theory,” Hawking continued. “One prediction of M-theory is that there are many different universes, with different values for the physical constants. This might explain why the physical constants we measure seem fine-tuned to the values required for life to exist.”
It is no surprise that we observe the physical constants to be finely-tuned. If they weren’t, we wouldn’t be here to observe them. One way of testing the theory that we may be one of many universes would be to look for features in the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB) which would indicate the collision of another universe with ours in the distant past.
The circular patterns within the cosmic microwave background shown above suggest that space and time did not come into being at the Big Bang but that our universe in fact continually cycles through a series of “aeons,” according to University of Oxford theoretical physicist Roger Penrose, who says that data collected by NASA’s WMAP satellite supports his idea of “conformal cyclic cosmology”.
Penrose made the sensational claim that he had glimpsed a signal originating from before the Big Bang working with Vahe Gurzadyn of the Yerevan Physics Institute in Armenia. Penrose came to this conclusion after analyzing maps from the Wilkinson Anisotropy Probe.
These maps reveal the cosmic microwave background, believed to have been created just 300,000 years after the Big Bang and offering clues to the conditions at that time. Penrose’s finding runs directly counter to the widely accepted inflationary model of cosmology which states that the universe started from a point of infinite density known as the Big Bang about 13.7 billion years ago, expanded extremely rapidly for a fraction of a second and has continued to expand much more slowly ever since, during which time stars, planets and ultimately humans have emerged.
That expansion is now believed to be accelerating due to a scientific X factor called dark energy and is expected to result in a cold, uniform, featureless universe. Penrose, however, reports Physics World, takes issue with the inflationary picture “and in particular believes it cannot account for the very low entropy state in which the universe was believed to have been born – an extremely high degree of order that made complex matter possible. He does not believe that space and time came into existence at the moment of the Big Bang but that the Big Bang was in fact just one in a series of many, with each big bang marking the start of a new “aeon” in the history of the universe.”