Daily Mail


It was the discovery that shook the world of physics - back in March scientists using the Bicep2 telescope in Antarctica found evidence for the period after the Big Bang. Since that discovery, however, questions have arisen not only on its validity, but also its implications for science as a whole. And now if might force us to reconsider how the universe formed, with some suggesting the cosmos didn’t start with a Big Bang but rather a ‘Big Bounce’.

The theory was published in Physical Review Letters by a team of Chinese and Canadian researchers and follows up on previous work from other scientists, notably Martin Bojowald of Pennsylvania State University in June 2007. The Big Bounce theory states that our universe didn’t necessarily begin from a singularity, but rather ‘rebounded’ from the collapse of a previous universe.

And evidence for this apparently exists in the data from the Bicep2 experiment. One of the causes for contention from Bicep2 was that it disagreed with previous experiments for how light should scatter in the universe, reports Ars Technica. This meant either one of the experiments was wrong, or our theories for the universe were not quite correct.

The researchers in their paper ‘Evidence for Bouncing Evolution Before Inflation After Bicep2’ have suggested it may be the latter, if the Big Bounce theory holds true. The theory relies upon something known as loop quantum gravity (LGQ), which is a way of unifying quantum mechanics and general relavity, itself a manifestation of gravity’s effect on the universe.

In basic terms it states the universe can be seen like a fabric of ‘woven’ loop that gives space itself an atomic structure, like matter. Under LQG the gravity would become repulse as the universe became more dense, sort of like how a spring becomes harder to compress as it is squashed. So, if the universe did collapse, it would eventually expand again when it reached a particular size. This process of expanding is known as inflation, evidence for which was found by Bicep2.

In this model there would be no Big Bang as we know it, with the universe starting as an infitiely dense singularity, but there would have been a moment the universe expanded from a small size, itself a Big Bang of sorts. This would solve the question of what came before the Big Bang, as it would simply have been the universe contracting before reaching its smallest possible size, and then expanding again.