Two researchers, Ahmed Farag Ali at Benha University and the Zewail City of Science and Technology in Egypt and Saurya Das at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, believe they have solved the puzzle of what happened in the singularity (an eminently dense and incredibly tiny mass) which is thought to be the beginning of the universe.
Moreover, they claimed to have proved by quantum equations that something must have come before it. If correct, they will have answered one of the greatest enigmas in theoretical physics. The new model also challenges the notion of a Big Crunch, which says that the universe will eventually collapse in on itself and return to the state of a new singularity
However, by doing so, Ali and Das are directly challenging the orthodox theory upheld by the majority of scientists, who believe that the universe began 13.8 billion years ago after the singularity exploded, creating everything which exists.
If their model proves correct, it will fill a great hole in Einstein’s theory of general relativity which, while capable of explaining what happened after the Big Bang, still cannot account for what happened inside the singularity, nor what existed before it. So far, standard physics has has been incapable of answering these questions.
Ahmed Farag Ali of Benha University and the Zewail City of Science and Technology in Egypt told Phys.org that “The Big Bang singularity is the most serious problem of general relativity because the laws of physics appear to break down there.”
Das, the co-author of the paper published in Physics Letters B, says that their work resolves the riddle of the Big Bang and the inconsistencies in general relativity by proving that the universe is infinite.
The model also suggests that there is no need for dark energy or dark matter to resolve the unanswered questions about the nature of the universe. Instead, it postulates that the universe is filled with a quantum fluid and this could be made of the yet undiscovered gravitons, which are speculated to be massless particles mediating the force of gravity.
However, this is not some fringe study. Their research is based on sound theoretical physics. In particular, they followed the work of one the greatest theoretical physicists of the 20th century, David Bohm. He endeavored to replace classical geodesics (the shortest path between two points on a curved surface) with quantum trajectories.
According to Phys.org, “Ali and Das applied these Bohmian trajectories to an equation developed in the 1950s by physicist Amal Kumar Raychaudhuri at Presidency University in Kolkata, India. Raychaudhuri was also Das’s teacher when he was an undergraduate student of that institution in the ’90s.”
Ali and Das’ model avoids singularities because of the major difference between classical geodesics and Bohmian trajectories. “Classical geodesics eventually cross each other,” says Phy.org, “and the points at which they converge are singularities. In contrast, Bohmian trajectories never cross each other, so singularities do not appear in the equations.”
The researches explain that “In cosmological terms the quantum corrections can be thought of as a cosmological constant term (without the need for dark energy) and a radiation term. These terms keep the universe at a finite size and therefore give it an infinite age,” which “agree closely with current observations of the cosmological constant and density of the universe.”
In an another paper, Das and Rajat Bhaduri of McMaster University, Canada, have given more credence to the new model. They propose that gravitons are able to form a Bose-Einstein condensate at temperatures which the universe has had throughout its existence.
The physicists are now planning to analyze their findings in more detail, which includes repeating their research.
Phys.org quotes Das as saying “It is satisfying to note that such straightforward corrections can potentially resolve so many issues at once.”