Most people believe that the universe began at the Big Bang, and that our universe is the only one that has ever existed. Others believe that the universe is cyclical, and that universes existed before ours: those universes, it is hypothesized, collapsed and were replaced by later universes.
When Georges Lemaître, a Belgian physicist and Roman Catholic priest, first began to develop the Big Bang Theory (in 1927), many scientists assumed the former – this is the only universe that has ever existed. In this view, it makes no sense to ask “what happened before the Big Bang?” as there was no before.
In more recent years, scientists have studied the possibility of a multi-verse. Our universe may not be the only one that has existed; perhaps others existed before our own, and others may exist after our own. Also, perhaps other universes – in some way removed from our own – simultaneously exist. In this view, one indeed may ask “what happened before the Big Bang?” as there was a time before our universe.
We have no direct evidence of other universes, although astronomical and physics evidence, as interpreted through theories like quantum mechanics and general relativity, may suggest that other universes may exist.
As such, some physicists have developed models of how our universe may have been created, perhaps from the destruction of a previous universe, or perhaps ours branched off from some other.
Mag Tegmark Article – the four types of multiverse are
LEVEL I: REGIONS BEYOND OUR COSMIC HORIZON
LEVEL II: OTHER POST-INFLATION BUBBLES
LEVEL III: THE MANY WORLDS OF QUANTUM PHYSICS
LEVEL IV: OTHER MATHEMATICAL STRUCTURES. Let us now explore the idea of mathematical democracy, whereby universes governed by other equations are equally real. This is related to the possibility that the physical world is a mathematical structure. It means that mathematical equations describe not merely some limited aspects of the physical world, but all aspects of it. It means that there is some mathematical structure that is what mathematicians call isomorphic (and hence equivalent) to our physical world, with each physical entity having a unique counterpart in the mathematical structure and vice versa.
Tegmark proposes that “mathematical existence and physical existence are equivalent, so that all mathematical structures exist physically as well. This is the Level IV multiverse. It can be viewed as a form of radical Platonism, asserting that the mathematical structures in Plato’s realm of ideas, the Mindscape of Rucker (1982), exist “out there” in a physical sense…. If this theory is correct, then since it has no free parameters, all properties of all parallel universes could in principle be derived by an infinitely intelligent mathematician.”
2016 Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Standards
Students will be able to:
* respectfully provide and/or receive critiques on scientific arguments by probing reasoning and evidence and challenging ideas and conclusions, and determining what additional information is required to solve contradictions
Next Generation Science Standards: Science & Engineering Practices
● Ask questions that arise from careful observation of phenomena, or unexpected results, to clarify and/or seek additional information.
● Ask questions that arise from examining models or a theory, to clarify and/or seek additional information and relationships.