'I opened a bottle with Stephen Hawking to celebrate our eureka moment' – Prof. Thomas Hertog

'I opened a bottle with Stephen Hawking to celebrate our eureka moment' – Prof. Thomas Hertog
A new model by Stephen Hawking and Thomas Hertog says that the universe is more uniform and simpler than scientists had previously believed. Credit: ESO/T. Preibisch, licensed under CC BY 4.0

A theory developed with the late Professor Stephen Hawking stating that the universe is more simple and uniform than current models suggest was so shocking that it had to be sat on for a while before it was released to the world, according to co-author Professor Thomas Hertog from KU Leuven in Belgium.

He and Prof. Hawking used an obscure branch of mathematics called to study the Big Bang itself. In a paper published on 2 May, they propose that instead of there being infinite universes, there is actually a rather limited variety, all of which have the same laws of physics as our own.

What question are you and the late Stephen Hawking addressing with this theory?

"We are trying to get a model of the Big Bang. Why do we want that? Because we want to understand what kind of can emerge from the Big Bang, what kind of universe can come into existence, and what's special about our universe."

What is new about the model proposed in your paper?

"The prevailing theory of the Big Bang says that there are many Big Bangs, creating many different kinds of universes – which people called the multiverse. We are very much reducing that multiverse. Our new theory of the Big Bang makes our universe more unique again. So that's why it's different."

Does it bring us closer to the much sought-after 'theory of everything' – a master theory to link together all the physical aspects of the universe?

"It's one step in a much bigger programme to come to a fully-fledged view of the Big Bang based, ultimately, perhaps, on a theory of everything."

How does this theory comply with the notion of an initial singularity – a single point of infinite density which contained all the matter in the universe – at the Big Bang?

"With Einstein's Theory of Relativity, you can show that the universe had a beginning, that it had a Big Bang, but you couldn't show anything about how it had begun because the Big Bang was a singularity. We are introducing new techniques from string theory to be able to say something about that beginning so we're going beyond Einstein's theory."

"Loosely speaking, you could say that this is a theory of what used to be the singularity in Einstein's theory. It's a theory that describes how time emerges from something more abstract and timeless."

What was on the other side of the Big Bang?

"Absolutely nothing."

'I opened a bottle with Stephen Hawking to celebrate our eureka moment' – Prof. Thomas Hertog
Thomas Hertog and Stephen Hawking spent years collaborating on a new theory of the Big Bang. Credit: Stephen Hawking
Nothing we can know, or nothing that there is?

"I looked for something in my theory and I didn't find anything. There is no other side because we used the technique from string theory called holography, so everything which might exist before or on the other side is projected on to the surface at the beginning. There is literally nothing.

"In all my equations, the other side – or before the Big Bang as you would say – is just simply not there. There's no notion of time."

Is there a relic gravitational wave echoing out there from the Big Bang that we have not detected yet?

"The universe arises with a short burst of inflation in our theory and that comes together with gravitational waves. Their relics, as you say, should leave their imprint on the polarisation of the cosmic microwave background radiation.

"Gravitational waves had not been detected when we began this work. With future technologies and satellites we might hope to see gravitational waves from the Big Bang which are, in my view, one of the key observables we can use to test the .

"Those from the Big Bang are the holy grail of the field of gravitational wave astronomy. And the hardest ones to get."

What can studying the Big Bang tell us about the world today?

"We study the Big Bang in order to get a deeper understanding of what we see, how the laws of physics arise, why they are what they are and whether they're unique. That's the basic motivation for our work.

"All these features which characterise the world today, they didn't exist forever, they (crystallised) after the Big Bang when the universe expanded and cooled. So there must be some process, some physical conditions at the Big Bang which describe how this happened."

Describe the feeling you had when you realised that your observation changed the global picture of the universe? Was it a 'eureka' moment?

"With Stephen, yeah sure, we opened a bottle. A eureka moment is evidently very special and rare. This one happened a while ago. The result was, in a way, so shocking that we sat on it for a while and gathered more evidence and looked at the problem from different angles before we decided to go ahead and proceed towards publication."

Your work on holographic quantum cosmology is currently funded by the EU's European Research Council. What's next?

"Like every discovery (in) theoretical sciences, on the one hand it's a milestone, but on the other hand, it raises more questions than it answers. The model we propose must be worked out and refined, developed further. I'm curious to see where this will take us. Our paper ends with a conjecture and a lot of further development is needed, I believe, before we will know this is the way the universe came to be. So there's plenty of work to do."


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Citation: 'I opened a bottle with Stephen Hawking to celebrate our eureka moment' – Prof. Thomas Hertog (2018, May 3) retrieved 25 May 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-05-bottle-stephen-hawking-celebrate-eureka.html
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May 03, 2018
"He and Prof. Hawking used an obscure branch of mathematics called string theory to study the Big Bang itself. "

"An obscure branch" I suspect there will be a lot of push back on this statement.


May 04, 2018
All those to whom the Big Bang is the basis of the "knowledge" of the creation of the universe, they are people who do not possess the consciousness, because they have lost it because they do not know and do not recognize the existence of the Spiritual Entity of the Universe (SEU), which is the immense power of forming everything into material- the Energy Entity of the Universe (MEEU). Are people normal to say that everything came from nothing? Whoever believes in such a claim, and he came from nothing, and therefore nothing is known about his creation. Get away from such people. !!

KBK
May 06, 2018
In some esoteric literature involving systems of dimensional translation and transference, there are a total of 10 dimensions.

Modern humans are like a bug bouncing off a glass ceiling, in this given moment. Others, in prior times, have bounced off it before.

Hawking's idea are not new - delving into this has taken place at higher levels in the ancient past. Math does not define logic.

Just because something is beyond the reach of most modern humans does not mean those intellectual heights have not been scaled before. To add, they were well defined and well developed in the past....based on evidential trails of dimensional interactions.

As likened to the now, they were impossible to translate to the public knowledge base of the times - so they were kept away from the public.

Eg, Elon musk tells you, after much rumination, that this is not base reality and is a simulacrum. Logic and it's evidence states - he's billions to one correct on this.

Can you grok all this?

May 07, 2018
What is it about Cosmology that it brings so many nutjobs out of the woodwork to come to a science site & attempt to explain why the outlandish & weird is the norm.

For example, challenging a concept that 95% of the Universe is missing draws more foul mouthed name calling exchanges than anything that can appear here either in the submitted articles or the Comments. This I guess is what makes Cosmology so easy, just IMAGINE it's real & you've found a reason for living, reality be damned.

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