It's time yet again to poke the bear and Ask ARSE! Today's question comes from A.S.S. - our exclusive Australian Space Society.
"Explain like I am dumb (because I am), what was time like before the big bang?"
The concept of "before" the Big Bang is a challenging topic that requires careful exploration of current scientific theories. According to the prevailing Big Bang theory, our universe began as an extremely hot and dense state about 13.8 billion years ago, expanding rapidly and cooling over time. However, trying to understand what happened before the Big Bang is not as straightforward as thinking about events in our everyday lives.
One reason for this complexity is that the Big Bang marked the beginning of space, time, and all the laws of physics as we know them. Prior to the Big Bang, these concepts, as we understand them, may not have existed. In essence, asking what happened before the Big Bang may be akin to asking what is north of the North Pole.
Current scientific understanding faces limitations when it comes to directly probing what happened before the Big Bang. However, some theories, such as the inflationary theory, suggest that our universe could be just one among many universes forming a vast multiverse. In this context, the Big Bang could be a result of a collision between universes or a cyclical event where universes continually form and collapse.
It's important to note that while scientific models and hypotheses provide fascinating insights into the early universe, conclusive evidence or a clear understanding of events "before" the Big Bang remains an open question and a subject of ongoing research and exploration in cosmology and theoretical physics. As our knowledge and technology advance, we may gain deeper insights into the origins of our universe and its potential connections to other cosmic phenomena.
But to answer your question, you need to frame your way of thinking like this:
What channel was playing before you turned the TV on? Before we even started broadcasting TV?
Time is the measure of sequential events. If you rewound time and hit fast reverse a few billion years, our best understanding is everything reverses back into one big ball of everything, before which there wasn’t anything. You hit play again and it all unravels. That’s the Big Bang.
How do we measure time? Ticks of a clock. Melting candles. Blinking stars. Oscillations of atoms. How would you measure time in an empty universe? No clocks, candles, stars, atoms. What would it even mean?
Time is framerate. It seems to run at different speeds in different circumstances. There’s no framerate before you boot up the game.
The section where we explain the above to 5-year-olds (and Flat Earthers).
Imagine that the universe is like a big balloon that started to inflate a very long time ago. The moment when the balloon started to blow up is what we call the "Big Bang." Before that, there was nothing, not even space or time as we know them.
It's like asking what happened before a party started. There was nothing happening before the party began, right? Similarly, before the Big Bang, there was nothing happening in our universe. Scientists are still trying to figure out if there was anything else before that, but it's a bit like a big mystery for now.
We know a lot about what happened after the Big Bang, and that's why we can learn many amazing things about the universe. But the time before that is still a big question that scientists are curious to explore. Isn't that fascinating? 😊
You’ve come this far…
Why not venture a little further into A.S.S. - our exclusive Australian Space Society.
And keep thrusting Australia into the deep unknown…