Signals from a Prior Universe?



“I believe we exist in a multiverse of universes,” says theoretical physicist, Michio Kaku,“ underscoring the intriguing debate over the past decade among some the planet’s leading cosmologists and physicists, including 2020 Nobel-Prize laureate, Roger Penrose, about signs that a prior universe that may exist in the ancient afterglow from the Big Bang.

“Modern thinking, says Kaku, “is that time did not start with the big bang, and that there was a multiverse even before the big bang. In inflation theory, and in string theory, there were universes before our big bang.”

Staggering Implications of Infinity

“If space is truly infinite,” observes Dan Hooper, head of the Theoretical Astrophysics Group at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, in At the Edge of Time, expanding on the multiverse theory, “the implications are staggering. Within an infinite expanse of space, it would be hard to see any reason why there would not be an infinite number of galaxies, stars, and planets, and even an infinite number of intelligent or conscious beings, scattered throughout this limitless volume. That is the thing about infinity: it takes things that are otherwise very unlikely and makes them all inevitable.”

The LIGO Scientific Collaboration and Virgo Collaboration revealed that scientists have detected 39 new gravitational-wave discoveries on October 29, 2020 –more than three times as many gravitational waves, than their first two runs combined. Gravitational waves were first detected in 2015 and are ripples in time and space produced by merging black holes and/or neutron stars.

“Gravitational Wave Noise” –Signs of a Prior Universe?

The great question Penrose asks based on LIGO’s recent detection of gravitational waves, is: “Is a cyclic cosmology lurking in LIGO noise?” The provocative idea that concentric rings of uniform temperature within the cosmic microwave background — the radiation left over from the Big Bang — might, in fact, be the signatures of black holes colliding in a previous cosmic ‘aeon’ that existed before our Universe, writes Edwin Catlidge for Nature in “No Evidence of Time Before the Big Bang”, was posited by Vahe Gurzadyan of Yerevan Physics Institute in Armenia and theoretical physicist Roger Penrose of the University of Oxford in 2010. They argued, reports Catlidge,  “that collisions between supermassive black holes from before the Big Bang would generate spherically propagating gravitational waves that would, in turn, leave characteristic circles within the cosmic microwave background.”

Is a “Phantom Universe” Hidden in the Cosmic Microwave Background?

“Roger Penrose has always been willing — if not happy — to hold views that lie well outside of the scientific mainstream,” observes Dan Hooper, in an email to The Daily Galaxy. “He did this in the 1960s when he — correctly — argued that massive stars would ultimately become black holes. More recently, he has expressed skepticism about the conventional view that our very early universe went through an era of cosmic inflation, during which space expanded exponentially. Instead, he speculates that the Big Bang may not have been the beginning of our universe at all.”

Big Bang Not the Beginning of Time

Penrose has argued that extinct universes exist that were filled with ghost black holes that are hidden, embedded in the Cosmic Microwave Background map –a phantom universe– and may have harbored alien civilizations from an eon that preceded the Big Bang, when our universe began to rapidly expand and will continue to expand until all of its matter eventually decays. This process restores uniformity and sets the stage for the next Big Bang and a new one universe will be born.

The proof of his idea are what Penrose calls Hawking Points: the corpses of black holes from before the Big Bang that outlived their own universes but are now at the end of their lifespans, leaking radiation as they fade into nothing, reports The Penrose Institute.

Hawking Points –Corpses of Black Holes from a Prior World

“So our Big Bang began with something which was the remote future of a previous aeon and there would have been similar black holes evaporating away, via Hawking evaporation, and they would produce these points in the sky, that I call Hawking Points,” Penrose added about his hypothesis he coined “conformal cyclic cosmology“(CCC).

The Next Googol Years

According to Penrose’s hypothesis, “our universe is expanding and as it cools over the next googol (10100) years the black holes will start to glow in the night sky. Although this ‘glow’ is extremely faint – a temperature much less than one ten millionth of a degree above absolute zero – it will last for perhaps a googol years, and when viewed from the next aeon these glowing black holes – Hawking Points – will be amongst the largest continuous energy sources in the CMB night sky. The reason we do not see these points without computer analysis is they are very faint and the early universe has scattered them over a large area. What once was a point is now a disk around five times the diameter of our moon.

“Careful analysis of the night sky,” observes Penrose, “has found 30 of these points in the cosmic microwave background map. Five of these points coincide with previously discovered concentric circles in the CMB sky. Interestingly one of the points coincides with the observation window of the BICEP 2 observatory opening up the ability to examine coincidences with the magnetic field patterns which CCC would also predict at Hawking Points.”

Eerie Implications of Hawking Points –“Corpses of Black Holes from Before the Big Bang”

New Evidence for a Cyclic Universe

In 2018, reports Physics World in “New Evidence for a Cyclic Universe”, Penrose released new evidence in support of CCC: “Rather than rings of near uniform temperature, he has instead identified patches within the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) that are much hotter than the surrounding region. The idea is that these hot spots could be due to the (mainly electromagnetic) radiation given off during the Hawking evaporation of supermassive black holes in the previous aeon.


Hawking Points

Image of the CMB Sky with Hawking Points (Daniel An, Krzysztof A. Meissner and Roger Penrose, BICEP2 Collaboration, V. G. Gurzadyan)

The Challengers

The view that the early Universe may be full of mysterious circles doesn’t mean we’re seeing evidence of events that took place before the Big Bang has, as one would expect, been challenged by a several independent studies.

To verify their earlier 2010 claim, Gurzadyan examined seven years’ worth of data from NASA’s Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) satellite, calculating the change in temperature variance within progressively larger rings around more than 10,000 points in the microwave sky. And indeed, reports Nature, he identified a number of rings within the WMAP data that had a temperature variance that was markedly lower than that of the surrounding sky.

“Fathomless Dark Creations of the Universe” –Sir Roger Penrose, the Man Who Proved Black Holes Exist

All three groups challenging the Penrose conjecture reproduced Gurzadyan’s analysis of the WMAP data, and “all agree that the data do contain low-variance circles. Where they part company with the earlier work is in the significance that they attribute to the primordial circles.

“The result obtained by Gurzadyan and Penrose does not in any way provide evidence for Penrose’s cyclical model of the Universe over standard inflation,” says James Zibin of the University of British Columbia.

“Absolutely Trivial”

Gurzadyan reports Nature, dismisses the critical analyses as “absolutely trivial”, arguing that there is bound to be agreement between the standard cosmological model and the WMAP data “at some confidence level” but that a different model, such as Penrose’s, might fit the data “even better”.

“We have found some signatures that carry properties predicted by the model,” Gurzadyan concludes.

Massive Black Holes at the Big Bang –“May Harbor Alien Universes With Different Laws of Physics”

Mirroring Penrose’s model of ghost black holes of an extinct universe, is Alexander Vilenkin, professor of physics and director of the Institute of Cosmology at Tufts University and author of Many Worlds in One: The Search for Other Universes. “If our universe is just one of an infinite number,” says Vilenkin, ” then once inflation stopped in ours, pockets within it that had been inflating would have then collapsed into black holes. The longer each pocket inflated, the more massive the black hole.”

Many of these universes collapsed and formed black holes. If the black holes are big enough, they may have inflating universes inside of them, and these expanding universes would be connected to the visible universe by wormholes. Infinite ‘bubble universes,’ filled with alternate versions of ourselves or nothing at all, might exist right alongside our own, according to Vilenkin, who introduced the idea of quantum creation of the universe from a quantum vacuum in 2015. Universes that may be ruled by different laws of physics.

The Daily Galaxy, Max Goldberg, via Nature, Penrose Institute and Physics World –New Evidence for a Cyclic Universe by Roger Penrose

Image credit top of page: Shutterstock License

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