Ask a Physicist: What happened before the Big Bang?

Credit: J.R. Gott & L.-X. Li

Greetings, true believers! My latest column is up at io9: What Happened Before the Big Bang? This one is a) extremely speculative, and b) largely excerpted from the “User’s Guide.” Of course, if you’d like to ask me completely new questions, I’m always open to it..

But please, no questions about lunar bases.

-Dave

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2 Responses to Ask a Physicist: What happened before the Big Bang?

  1. Lynwood Spinks says:

    You wrote: “At the end of the day, the Big Bang theory has the same basic problem as evolutionary theory. Both do a nearly perfect job in explaining how the universe (or life) changed when it first came about, but neither can explain how things really got started in the first place.”

    Re evolutionary theory, technically that ain’t necessarily so. Although the specific mix of “things” and environment required has not been replicated by scientists, conceptually evolutionary and bio-chemistry scientists can describe the sorts of things (like small amino acid precursors and prions – not Toyota Prii) and environment (like acidic liquids/ammonia and an electrically charged anaerobic atmosphere of nitrogen-containing molecules) – I probably have not described the details properly but I am too tired to look on Wikipedia, which is probably all it takes – that led to molecules which drew (or “metabolized”) energy and catalysts from the environment to self-replicate via chemical reactions. Once that happened (ok, maybe it took a zillion false starts before Dr. Frankenstein could shout “it’s aliiive!!”), evolution was off and running as random mutations led to some molecules that were better able to survive to self-replicate by metabolizing sources of energy and so on and so on and so on…. The natural selection algorithm is supremely elegant and powerful. Parenthetically and sadly, my intellect is neither.

  2. Lynwood Spinks says:

    Oops – in the last line I meant to say my “grammar”, not my “intellect”,… I think….

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