Does Universe Iterate Through Infinite Numbers of Big Bangs?

  • Researchers created nearly 5,000 simulations to find evidence of conformal cyclic cosmology. 
  • The probability of finding new points (Hawking Points) in cosmic microwave background is less than 1/5000.

Roger Penrose, a mathematical physicist, sees quantum mechanics in a different way. He is definitely not a big fan of the concept that universe underwent a quick phase of exponential expansion in its early stage. Instead, he has his own cosmological model in the framework of general relativity, named Conformal Cyclic Cosmology.

According to this theory, the universe iterates through an infinite series of “aeons”, each of which begins with a stage that resembles a big bang, then forms normal galactic structures, and then cools down as stars die. Finally, the only thing that is left is evaporating black holes and radiation.

A small alteration to particle physics speculated by Penrose, enables him to connect the end of one aeon to the dawn of another, and all things start fresh with the next big-bang. This connection of aeons introduces a new field — erebon — which makes up the dark matter that decays throughout the next aeon.

If Penrose is right, there must be some left-over data from past aeon in the cosmic microwave background. He searched for low-variance rings in the cosmic microwave background, and suggested that it was caused by collisions of supermassive black holes in the previous aeon. However, no solid evidence was found in this search.

Conformal cyclic cosmology 

The New Signals

Now, Penrose is trying to look for points in the cosmic microwave background at the regions where supermassive black holes evaporate in the prior aeon. His team has named these points Hawking Points as a tribute to Stephan Hawking.

He believes that when you connect two aeons (the end of the previous one to the inception of ours), you squeeze the black holes’ radiation, which creates a vague point where the cosmic microwave background temperature is moderately raised.

There could be one million of such Hawking points in the total cosmic microwave background. In this study, Penrose covered one-third of the sky that gave 20 temporary evidence. The rest remains quite uncertain: too weak to be examined.

Reference: arXiv:1808.01740 | Backreaction

The team looked for these signals by creating fake cosmic microwave background in simulations and then trying to observe Hawking Points. So far, they have carried out approximately 5,000 simulations but none of them has shown similar characteristics to those of real cosmic microwave background.

Conformal cyclic cosmology | Credit: Tdsdave/YouTube 

The authors also mentioned that in this cosmological model there should not be a cosmic microwave background polarization signal similar to the one BICEP was searching for.

Although the team didn’t observe any positive signals, Penrose believes that there must a polarization agreeing with Hawking Peaks because primordial magnetic fields from galactic clusters in past aeon could certainly generate B-modes.

Considering those clusters contained a supermassive black hole which could have engulfed numerous others, we can anticipate concentric rings centered on those locations.

Read: What’s Outside The Universe? Is Multiverse Theory True?

Well, irrespective of confirmation of conformal cyclic cosmology, these anomalous points provide a crucial new input to the universe. They are very difficult to observe, but they find a natural explanation in the existing inflationary picture.

Written by
Varun Kumar

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