Uncommon Sense

March 29, 2022

Let There Be . . . Inflation (Cosmic, That Is)

Filed under: Reason,Science — Steve Ruis @ 10:38 am
Tags: ,

The current state of cosmological theory has some aspects to it that are, at a bare minimum, puzzling. Near the beginning of the Big Expansion, aka the Big Bang, a period of what is called cosmic inflation occurred, this is a label slapped on a period of rapid expansion of space-time. I am reading that some think that a period of cosmic inflation also occurred just before whatever triggered the Big Expansion. And, quite recently, we have learned that the expansion of the universe is accelerating. No explanations for these mysterious expansions has yet been provided, at least with any physical support. As usual, speculation abounds.

I can remember reading in high school a speculation that the universe was expanding, but the dominant force in the universe, gravity, had to slow that expansion and eventually cause the universe to contract. I was enthralled with this speculation, but alas, studies now show that the expansion if the universe is not only not slowing, but is speeding up. (I think I am “oh for whatever” in theories I took a liking to.)

And, why religious apologists haven’t claimed that their god is responsible for these expansions and accelerations of expansions yet (C’mon, God of the Gaps people, pick up the slack!), since we don’t have a physical explanations for these yet, one can still speculate.

So, if the universe can go through phases in which its foot is on the accelerator, could it also not be the case that it could go through phases with its foot on the brakes? Ah, didn’t see that coming, did’ja?

My theory lives! (Bwah, hah, hah!)

So, at some undetermined time in the future, the rate of expansion of the universe slows and gravity re-exerts its place as the dominant force in the universe. Instead of galaxies separating from one another over time, they then began to get closer. Closer and closer they get, until galaxies merge . . . and merge . . . and merge. (I have to wonder if entropy decreases during this phase as it increased during the expansion.) Then stars get so close they merge with other stars and black holes. On and on this goes until the universe is crunched (this phase of the universe’s life cycle was called “the Big Crunch”) into a tiny point. All matter is turned into energy and the tiny universe is immensely hot as well as being immensely small, just like the universe before the Big Expansion we currently observe. Then, Bam!, off it goes again.

This cycle continues over and over and over. Why? Because it can.

This is the likely scenario had no cosmic inflation occurred in the first place, or the rate of expansion of the universe had not accelerated. Since we do not yet have reasons for why those phases occurred, then an equally bewildering contraction seems possible.

Maybe our universe is in a universe growth chamber and the entities running it occasionally tweak the process to make to go in direction of their choice. “Reality” has shown us over and over that it can be weirder than we can imagine.

Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?
(Robert Browning)

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9 Comments »

  1. I am reading that some think that a period of cosmic inflation also occurred just before whatever triggered the Big Expansion.

    Inflation before the BB is really quite confusing.

    I know cosmologists love the idea of dark energy fuelling the rate of expansion, but it might be as a simple as the reduced gravitational forces on the filaments and clusters as the cosmic voids become larger and larger.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by john zande — March 29, 2022 @ 11:19 am | Reply

    • It is hard to discuss the merits of things when we don’t know what the fuck they are!

      I think the classic case is the “strong nuclear force” which is supposed to hold the neutrons and protons together in atomic nuclei. Scientist calculated how strong the force would have to be from how close together the protons are (being repulsive, don’t you know). And they cam up with a humongous strong force that only operated over very short distances, which makes no sense at all. A simpler explanation is that when the nucleus was formed, some of its mass was converted into energy and was radiated away and now, to get separated particles (or any subgroups of those particles), the activation energy is immense, so the nucleus is trapped because it can’t separate into smaller structures until the activation energy for that process is available (just like every other change on the planet). (Some do during nuclear fission events, which shouldn’t happen if this mythic force were in operation).

      I think dark energy and dark matter are both constructs like the strong nuclear force, where new phenomena are shoehorned into old paradigms in an effort to make them make sense. We’ll see if they are successful.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Steve Ruis — March 29, 2022 @ 12:19 pm | Reply

  2. Oh Steve! Why ponder all this when all you need to do is say “Goddidit”!!

    Like

    Comment by Nan — March 29, 2022 @ 11:49 am | Reply

  3. Ahhh, the Big Crunch. But wait, there’s more! We also have the Big Rip, the Big Freeze, or the Big Heat.

    My thoughts trend towards the Big Freeze making more sense. But who knows?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultimate_fate_of_the_universe

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by shelldigger — March 29, 2022 @ 5:45 pm | Reply

  4. Oh, I forgot the Big Bounce. Similar to the Big Crunch, but not as tasty.

    Like

    Comment by shelldigger — March 29, 2022 @ 5:48 pm | Reply

  5. This cycle continues over and over and over. Why? Because it can.” Such is the nature of everything. Nothing that can only happen once can ever happen at all. From life and death to fronts without backs—so it will go with the universe

    Like

    Comment by jim- — March 29, 2022 @ 10:43 pm | Reply

  6. Why the apologists haven’t tried claiming cosmic inflation as some kind of evidence is an interesting question, but the answer is simple, really. These are people who believe in gods, demons, witches, sorcerers, magic spells, fortune telling, ghosts, etc. They don’t exactly go out of their way to keep up with the latest developments in astronomy and cosmology.

    How the universe will ultimately end is a fascinating topic, though. At the moment we just don’t have enough information to reach a satisfying conclusion. Heck, there are still a few (a very few) scientists out there who are trying to explain away dark matter and dark energy by twisting around pre-existing theories of gravity and energy in new and interesting ways. Right now the “big freeze” seems most likely, at least IMO. A rather sad end to such a promising little universe. Just wasting away, huddled in a corner of the multiverse, slowly drifting into oblivion, huddled over a begging bowl, empty bottles of dark matter scattered around it while the other universes walk past, shaking their heads…

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by grouchyfarmer — March 30, 2022 @ 6:55 am | Reply


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