The Sydney Morning Herald
The team of researchers from the University of Melbourne and RMIT say instead of thinking of the start of the universe as being a big bang, we should imagine it as a cooling of water into ice.
‘‘Think of the early universe as being like a liquid,’’ Melbourne University theoretical physics researcher James Quach said.
‘‘Then as the universe cools, it ‘crystalises’.
‘‘The reason we use the water analogy is water is without form.
‘‘In the beginning there wasn’t even space, space did not exist because there was no form.’’
In all fairness to this theory, this is a move into a very different view of space and time, more metaphysical and arguably a more thorough approach to a big and rather relevant question, and related questions-
Where did space come from?
Was the universe a diffuse mass of “something” which coalesced into space and matter as we now know them?
There are some obvious Newtonian associations here. Einstein’s famous remark, “I’m sorry, Newton…” predicated his own theory, despite the fact that it’s a very closely related theory to Newton’s.
The new theory does have a few interesting points in it. There’s a problem, however, with “cooling”. Where did the heat come from? Newton, again, is in the way- You don’t get heat out of non-existence.
There’s also a problem with the fact that the universe, having “condensed”, is now accelerating away from itself at incredible speeds. Coalescence suggests something else. Flowing? Viscosity? Oil and water, different elements of space repelling each other?
There’s a certain lack of continuity in the article, which starts with Quantum Graphity and cracks in the universe, which form the basis of the condensation theory and its proof, respectively.
Mr Quach and his fellow researchers theorise that if Quantum Graphity ‘‘cracks’’ do exist, they will bend or reflect light, which, if observed through a telescope would support their predictions.
‘‘If they prove my predictions that’s really good evidence for the condensed matter model of quantum graphity in which case you can throw out all the other attempts.’’
Not quite so fast, Mr Quach. Assuming matter and space evolved from quantum or pre-quantum materials and their properties, light can be bent and reflected by other phenomena, to start with. Are there any criteria which specifically identify a crack?
There’s nothing wrong with the idea of cracks as such- even coherent organisms like trees have cracks created by stresses. The other obvious questions are why there should be cracks, and cracks in what form, specifically?
It may be that the article doesn’t express the argument properly, but following the logic from no space-condensation and heat loss- cracks
takes a bit of work.
I’m not going to knock these researchers. Unlike most of their peers, they’ve at least had the guts to look away from standard models. That’s a comparative rarity in the last 100 years. All new theories usually require some tweaking. Newton’s did, courtesy of Emilie du Chatelet, (he left out the “squared”) and Einstein’s, which has been a sacred cow for nearly a century, should, because it’s based on pre-Mandelbrot mathematics.
Whether or not this is an actual working model of how the universe began is debatable. At least it’s asking all the right questions and stirring up a stagnant, unthinking and unquestioning pond in the process.