The Beginning Of Time


There was a period in history when the beginning of the world in which
we live in was a expressed through legends and myths, now, through the use of
increasingly advanced scientific equipment we can see that the universe is more
vast and complex than ever imaginable. The purpose of this paper is to bring
light to some of the modern beliefs regarding the origin of the universe by
answering a series of questions. What are the commonly excepted theories of the
evolution of the universe? What is meant by the "Big Bang Theory" and how does
it work? And how our planet and solar system developed from The Big Bang? This
paper will use scientific data to base the evolution of our universe around The
Big Bang.
At the present time there are two theories which are used to explain the
creation of the universe. The first theory is the infamous Big Bang Theory,
which will be detailed later. The second is the Steady State Theory. (Weinberg,
1977)
The later hypothesis was created to replace the common belief that the
universe was completely static. The expansion of the universe was discovered in
1929 when Edwin Hubble discovered that every galaxy in the universe was moving
away from each other, this meant that the universe was expanding. Hubble found
the movement of the galaxies by using a phenomenon known as the Doppler effect.
This effect caused bodies moving away from an observer to have a "red-shifted"
spectrum (the light spectrum of the body had been shifted closer to red) and
bodies moving towards an observer to be "blue-shifted" (Hawking, 1988)
The expansion was traced backwards through time to discover that all the
galaxies had originated from the same point. It was later believed that all
matter spawn from that "center of the universe" discovered by Hubble, by means
of some sort of enigmatic portal. Matter would collect outside this singularity
and form every moon, planet, and star known today.
The Steady State Theory was very attractive because it featured a
universe with no beginning or end. The theory meant that scientist had to
abandon the laws of conservations of mass and energy. It seemed plausible that
the aforementioned laws of physics could breakdown at a certain point but more
and more evidence gathered against the Steady State Theory, leading to unending
modifications to it. Until finally the theory was dropped completely with the
discovery of the smooth microwave background radiation (radiation so ancient it
had shifted right out of the visible spectrum into microwave radiation). A
smooth background to the universe suggested that it was hot and uniform - the
ideal conditions for the Big Bang. (Weinberg, 1977)
The Big Bang was almost exactly what it sounds like - a giant explosion.
During this explosion all the materials in the universe today (matter, energy
and even time) were expelled into a vacuum about 12 billion years ago. The
combined mass of the universe was interpolated to a point of zero volume
(therefore infinite density). It is impossible to predict what the universe
would physically be like because the density of the universe (infinity) cannot
be plugged into any physical equation. (Weinberg, 1977)
The history of the universe can, however, be traced back to a moment 10-
33 seconds after the big bang. At this moment the universe is filled with a sea
of various exotic particles along with electrons, photons, and neutrinos (and
their respectable anti-particles). At this time there are also a small number
of protons and neutrons. The protons and neutron are, in this very dense soup,
participating in sub-atomic reactions. The two most important of these
reactions are:
Antineutrino + Proton ----> Positron (anti-electron) + Neutron
Neutrino + Neutron ----> Electron + Proton In effect the protons are
becoming neutrons and vice-versa. The energies are so great that simple atoms
being formed fall apart immediately after coming together. (Silk, 1994)
As the universe expands, and loses energy the electrons and positrons
begin to collide, effectively annihilating one another, leaving only energy in
the form of photons and neutrinos. Appropriately fourteen seconds after the Big
Bang simple atoms are formed like deuterium (heavy hydrogen) and helium.
About three minutes after the incidence of creation, the universe has
sufficiently cooled to allow formations of helium and other light elements.
(Weinberg, 1977)
As it is proven by the cosmic background radiation, the universe was
uniformly smooth. A change had to have occurred, otherwise no celestial objects
would have formed and as the particles lost energy, they would simply decompose
into simpler particles. Something had to have caused the particles to group
together and form larger entities.