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brilliancesquared
2008-Dec-17, 06:23 PM
How does one describe the area surrounding the singularity at the moment prior to the big bang. Similarly what is beyond the extreme boundary of the universe as it expands into this area. I hear people say absolutely nothing existed before the big bang but how do you describe nothing?

NEOWatcher
2008-Dec-17, 06:37 PM
How does one describe the area surrounding the singularity at the moment prior to the big bang. Similarly what is beyond the extreme boundary of the universe as it expands into this area.
That's just it... The singularity was everything. There was no outside, and there is no outside now. So, the very question is un-answerable.


I hear people say absolutely nothing existed before the big bang but how do you describe nothing?
I don't think anybody can really say what existed before the big bang. Our theories can only cover the universe at a small fraction of time after.

Buttercup
2008-Dec-17, 07:10 PM
The absence of something. Which seems impossible; an opposite can't exist without the other. And now I'm getting a headache....

JohnD
2008-Dec-17, 08:26 PM
Recent article in New Scientist describes work on "Loop Quantum Cosmology", that offers a model in which a Universe 'bounces' back from contracting into a singularity, so that it does the Big Bang thing. So one Universe leads to the next.
.
Set your brains to 'boggle', and see: http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20026861.500-did-our-cosmos-exist-before-the-big-bang.html

John

kleindoofy
2008-Dec-17, 08:39 PM
A "nothing" doesn't exist in our existence, since everything within our existence "is." Our existence ends with the expanse of our universe, our being. If there is something "beyond," then we have no definition for it and it is not a part of our being. Any guess would be pure fantasy. Speculation is based on existing data, so for anything "beyond" our universe, there can be no speculation, no prognosis, no guess. It doesn't exist for us.

Jeff Root
2008-Dec-18, 06:24 AM
How does one describe the area surrounding the singularity at the
moment prior to the big bang.
The singularity of the Big Bang is the mathematically-predicted time
at which everything in the Universe would have been in the same
place, if such a thing were possible. Of course, such a thing isn't
possible. Instead, something happened which resulted in the Big
Bang, but we don't know what that something was. The ideas that
JohnD referred to may eventually lead to an understanding of what
the something was, or they might not. If not, maybe someone will
come up with another idea that will.

In any case, since the singularity is a hypothetical instant in time,
the notion of "the area surrounding the singularity" doesn't appear
to mean anything. If it does mean something, nobody knows what
it means. And if somebody did know what it means, they probably
still wouldn't know the answer to the question.



Similarly what is beyond the extreme boundary of the universe as
it expands into this area.
It isn't known whether a boundary exists. The conventional
wisdom is that there is no boundary -- that the Universe is finite
but unbounded. In order for that to be, I think the Universe must
be very much larger than the portion we can see, because the
portion we can see has no detectible overall "curvature". If the
Universe is finite but unbounded, its overall geometry must be
similar to that of the surface of a sphere: Curved overall so that
one could theoretically travel through space in one direction and
return to the starting point from the opposite direction. The
Universe could have such overall curvature, but in order for it to
be undetectible, the curvature must be very gradual, hence the
Universe would have to be very large -- much larger than we are
able to see.



I hear people say absolutely nothing existed before the big bang
but how do you describe nothing?
Why would you need or want to describe it?

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

astromark
2008-Dec-18, 08:03 AM
We have been in this place before... This question and its close relatives are like unwelcome friends... They keep coming back. Try and try we might, to explain this thing until it goes away. Back it comes with its big ugly dirty feet. . . :)

Welcome to the forum, 'brilliancesquared' ; The problem being that of perception.
Your question is a good one. It does not get answered here because we do not know .
Well, thats not true. Some of us would like to think we might know what and how. How do we explain it.? Not easly... ( knowing and thinking you know are not the same thing.)
In my attempt to put this clearly to you I will first offer this; 'IF' a singularity did exist prior to the massive expansion time did not yet exist. If time was not yet running does this help you perceive nothingness. No. I did not think it would. The complete lac of any measurable data. Nothing. No gravity, radiation, light. Do you can you understand nothing at all. The perfect vacuum. 0, zero, ... mark.

Tzarkoth
2008-Dec-18, 10:19 AM
It's a good question.

However, we can have no direct knowledge of what came before the big bang or what lies outside of the universe based on our current methods of observation or experimentation.

Mathematical models can be used to predict what came before, or what lies beyond, or even if the question makes sense, but until we can test these predictions a great many people can and will remain skeptical of their results.

There is hope, as continued use of the scientific method may eventually produce answers to these questions.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method says, Scientific method refers to bodies of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering observable, empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning. A scientific method consists of the collection of data through observation and experimentation, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses.[2]

Right now, we can only formulate hypothesizes.

megrfl
2008-Dec-18, 12:51 PM
How does one describe the area surrounding the singularity at the moment prior to the big bang. Similarly what is beyond the extreme boundary of the universe as it expands into this area. I hear people say absolutely nothing existed before the big bang but how do you describe nothing?

You may have missed this thread/post. Good stuff.

http://www.bautforum.com/universe-today-story-comments/82472-more-thoughts-now-math-what-came-before-big-bang.html

DrRocket
2008-Dec-18, 01:59 PM
How does one describe the area surrounding the singularity at the moment prior to the big bang. Similarly what is beyond the extreme boundary of the universe as it expands into this area. I hear people say absolutely nothing existed before the big bang but how do you describe nothing?

You are dealing with a prediction that is based on general relativity. Starting with the observation that the universe contains some amount of matter/energy and that the universe is currently expanding Hawking and Penrose applied general relativity to conclude that at some time in the past the universe existed in an extremely compact form. That application of general relativity results in the prediction of a singularity.

So what is a singularity ?

General relativity models space-time, the universe as a 4-dimensional Lorentzian manifold. A 4-dimensional manifold or 4-manifold is a topological space in which each point is contained in some neighborhood that is locally homeomorphic (meaning "looks exactly like" from a topological perspective) to ordinary flat Euclidean 4-space. In addition it is equipped with a quadratic form (called a metric) that gives each local neighborhood the geometric structure of the flat Minkowski space-time of special relativity. Globally those patches and local metrics fit together smoothly to form the complete 4-manifold which has a differentiable structure (allowing one to apply calculus) and that has curvature that is determined by the distribution of mass/energy.

An analogy is the surface of a sphere, the globe. It is a 2-manifold, that locally "looks like" the plane, as we know from our everyday experience. Local coordinates are analogous to our use of flat maps, which patch together into an atlas that describes the complete globe. But the entire structure has curvature.

The singularity that is predicted is a sub-manifold at which the model provided by general relativity breaks down. The curvature becomes undefined and the mathematical structure looses meaning. It is an indication that our understanding of the physics involved is insufficient to describe what is happening.

If one took a sphere and replaced a point, say the north pole of the globe, with a cusp, then at that point the spherical manifold would loose its property of smoothness and the differentiable structure would break down, and we would call that point a singularity.

What one has with the Big Bang is the occurrence in the mathematics of general relativity a singularity in space-time. Since space-time is a single structure that contains within its formulation our notions of both space and time -- intertwined and inseparable -- there is no notion of a "before" the singularity. Space and time simply have no meaning in that context. It is somewhat akin, to paraphrase Hawking, to asking what is south of the South Pole.

The difficulty in describing nothing before the Big Bang lies not in an inability to describe nothing, but in an inability to provide any meaning to "before".

McFluffy
2008-Dec-18, 05:01 PM
The difficulty in describing nothing before the Big Bang lies not in an inability to describe nothing, but in an inability to provide any meaning to "before".

Human beings do not perceive Time, we perceive the flow of cause and effect.
We have discovered ways to measure the flow of cause and effect by dividing it into sections (moments), and counting those arbitrary divisions using mental or mechanical constructs, and then we refer to it as "time", although what we are referring to is more like a mental abstraction, rather than the de facto phenomenon of time as referred to in theories of relativity.

The Big Bang is perceived by us as an effect, therefore our minds tell us that there must have been a cause, ie: there must have been something before the effect.

Wether our perception of cause and effect is an accurate interpretation of reality, or is merely a symptom of our condition as finite, linear beings living within an infinite, non-linear cosmos, is still (as I understand it) a matter for debate.

But whatever the result of such a debate, it is altogether understandable that humans require a causal before to the Big Bang effect.

mugaliens
2008-Dec-18, 08:45 PM
How do I describe "nothing?"

I use the word, "nothing."

DrRocket
2008-Dec-18, 11:24 PM
But whatever the result of such a debate, it is altogether understandable that humans require a causal before to the Big Bang effect.

If human beings require such a cause then human beings are doomed.

McFluffy
2008-Dec-18, 11:52 PM
If human beings require such a cause then human beings are doomed.

Would you care to elaborate on that statement?

DrRocket
2008-Dec-19, 12:02 AM
Would you care to elaborate on that statement?

Requiring that which does not exist is not a survival trait.

cosmocrazy
2008-Dec-19, 12:11 AM
Simply we want to know where we came from, how we came to be and why.

The term "nothing" in physical terms as we know it is exactly what Mugs said "nothing". The fact that we cannot comprehend it in a way threatens the way we perceive our purpose in the universe. We only perceive in reality a "before", a "present" and an "after". To imagine "nothing" in any of those moments is incomprehensible for human brains and perception.

McFluffy
2008-Dec-19, 12:16 AM
Requiring that which does not exist is not a survival trait.


After re-reading the post you quoted I can't find any ambiguity in my meaning, perhaps you should re-read it yourself.

Perhaps I should have used the word expect instead of require, but I feel we are getting bogged down in semantics.

Jeff Root
2008-Dec-19, 03:51 AM
Among other things, we know two things right now:

1) General relativity predicts a beginning to time.
2) That prediction is wrong.

Lots of people are trying to come up with a theory that can go beyond
general relativity to explain how the Universe got started. Maybe one of
the ideas that is already widely-known will turn out to work. Maybe some
new idea will work. Maybe nobody will come up with anything that works.

I have no doubt that there was a cause of the Big Bang. Whether it was
simultaneous with the start of time, or if time previously existed, is not
known and may never be known.

But just because the best existing theory predicts a start to time doesn't
mean that there was no time before the Big Bang. You assume that this
prediction of general relativity is correct, when we know that it isn't. We
just don't have any good replacement for that prediction, yet.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

astromark
2008-Dec-19, 06:33 AM
In light of 'Jeff's' last post. This would seem to be sensible. Time did not begin. It always has been there. Its just nobody cared.... until this universe came along.
I will except this as the mainstream view... until I am persuaded to modify my view. Which could happen any Minuit, or never. Thats what I enjoy most about having a scientific approach to these questions. Lets hope the research being undertaken by the LHC will answer some of these issues...

WaxRubiks
2008-Dec-19, 07:44 AM
I'll try to illustrate nothing....


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words



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sentence?

astromark
2008-Dec-19, 08:25 AM
Frog march would do better to turn the computer off... stair into that dark screen. you are getting sleepy... you are gettinggg... Zzzz.

NO ! That does not change the meaning of your long winded answer....
and, No its not nothing iether... I see a great deal of stuff in those apparently empty placess. Like Pyrex glass and electrically charged pixilatted dots ( lots of dots...) Hmmm Nothing is some thing other than some thing.:) Its been said.

WaxRubiks
2008-Dec-19, 09:08 AM
it wasn't exactly "long winded"......:(



anyway, I was trying to get at, that there could be any "amount" of nothing, it is only the something(in this case the words), that really counts.

McFluffy
2008-Dec-19, 11:06 AM
it wasn't exactly "long winded"......:(



anyway, I was trying to get at, that there could be any "amount" of nothing, it is only the something(in this case the words), that really counts.

Nothing, ie: zero, is vitally important in binary maths. Nearly all maths comes to that.

And speaking as a musician, nothing is vitally important in music as well.
Take all the nothing out of a piece of music and you end up with all the notes and beats running together, and all sense of rhythm and melody is lost.

"Nothing" can be very important.

astromark
2008-Dec-19, 12:19 PM
Oh dear... I must withdraw and apologize for frog march and fluffy... and rethink what nothing is...
No. I have changed my mind... and that is nothing of any consequence.

Jeff Root
2008-Dec-19, 01:38 PM
And speaking as a musician, nothing is vitally important in music as well.
Take all the nothing out of a piece of music and you end up with all the
notes and beats running together, and all sense of rhythm and melody
is lost.
I was thinking of saying the same thing when I read the post some
hours ago, but after thinking about it for a few seconds, realized that
it is pretty rare for actual silence between notes. There are almost
always some lingering echos of the last notes sounded until the next
note begins, except for very long pauses, like between movements.
And even then, of course, there are usually extraneous sounds from
the environment, including the musicians and audience, that prevent
the interregnum from being nothing.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

McFluffy
2008-Dec-19, 05:55 PM
I was thinking of saying the same thing when I read the post some
hours ago, but after thinking about it for a few seconds, realized that
it is pretty rare for actual silence between notes. There are almost
always some lingering echos of the last notes sounded until the next
note begins,

Echos aren't usually part of the music.



except for very long pauses, like between movements.
And even then, of course, there are usually extraneous sounds from
the environment, including the musicians and audience, that prevent
the interregnum from being nothing.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


Coughing, shuffling feet, cell phones ringing, and whatever other extraneous noises you care to mention are not usually part of the music either.


Music has a structure, anything with a structure is an arrangement of something and nothing.
Even if the structure is a solid sphere, the boundaries of the sphere are defined by the end of something and the beginning of nothing.

In fact wouldn't it be true to say that if there were no "nothing" in the universe then it would be impossible for life as we know it to exist?

If there were no gaps between the matter in the universe wouldn't it be a very hot, dense environment, inhospitable to organic life?
It strikes me that although the gaps between stuff are pretty dull, never the less they are highly significant.

Returning to the original point of this thread, I would define true nothingness as a total absence of any substances, forces or dimensions.

Jeff Root
2008-Dec-20, 12:31 AM
Echos aren't usually part of the music.
Yes they are.

Unless maybe you're referring to something made with MIDI as "music"?

And I intended the word "echos" as a catch-all term-- I really meant
more than just literal echos. I meant to include the vibrations that
continue to be detectible for some time after bowing the string or
blowing the horn has ended. Those sounds are part of the music.
Even MIDI music, when played through speakers, has reverberations
that depend on the speakers and the space they are in, that are as
important between notes as during.



Coughing, shuffling feet, cell phones ringing, and whatever other
extraneous noises you care to mention are not usually part of the
music either.
You can try to eliminate them, but if you fail, or delibrately let them
in, they become part of the music.

Just from what you've said so far, I can tell that jazz is not your genre.



Music has a structure, anything with a structure is an arrangement
of something and nothing.
No, it's an arrangement of something and something else.



Even if the structure is a solid sphere, the boundaries of the sphere
are defined by the end of something and the beginning of nothing.
No, the boundary is defined by the end of sphere and the beginning
of not-sphere.



In fact wouldn't it be true to say that if there were no "nothing" in the
universe then it would be impossible for life as we know it to exist?
I have no reason to think so.



If there were no gaps between the matter in the universe wouldn't it
be a very hot, dense environment, inhospitable to organic life?
Is a gap "nothing"? Is there nothing in a gap?



It strikes me that although the gaps between stuff are pretty dull,
never the less they are highly significant.
http://www.usask.ca/education/coursework/skaalid/theory/cgdt/horse.htm



Returning to the original point of this thread, I would define true
nothingness as a total absence of any substances, forces or dimensions.
In other words, just what Mugs said in post #12.

I agree. That is obviously not the case of what happens between
musical notes, even when what is being played is a rest.

Not that I consider 4' 33" to be "music". Performance art-- okay.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

astromark
2008-Dec-20, 12:52 AM
Hold the bus... Stop the train... There is news... well sort of... Out of the university of California a news release... and this subject has been targeted, tweaked, and maybe modified just a tad... Dark energy, yes that stuff thats more than 75% of everything is here and amongst us. Pulling us asunder. The fact that every square metre of the universe contains the same amount of dark energy. And I still can not show you some. or tell you what it is. looks like. Whatever... Not to leave dark matter out of all this. I can still not show you what that is or smells like.
So there we have it Dark Energy is amongst us. We are made of it... Does this startling revelation change anything about nothingness. Yes it does. Because now I can say that dark energy has overwhelmed gravity. Just ten years ago we new nothing of it... understanding expansion... this explains my wast expansion...No other forces are responsible for that. ( nice try mark ).

DrRocket
2008-Dec-20, 04:00 AM
Hold the bus... Stop the train... There is news... well sort of... Out of the university of California a news release...

Do you have a reference or a link for this news release ?

astromark
2008-Dec-20, 10:13 AM
I'm sorry, no. It was the eleven am news on 'radio lives' Saturday morning news...here in NZ. I did not catch the names mentioned... Followed by a discussion with Grant Christie. ( A local spokesperson for astronomical things on radio...) I am happy with that and will wait for clarification in astronomy news over the next week or so. There is no rush. I will go do a google search. Yes its there... typed in " dark energy" search news... BINGO.

McFluffy
2008-Dec-20, 01:00 PM
Jeff Root: Responding to your response would inevitably take this thread a very long way OT, however I do have a response which I shall PM to you.

DrRocket
2008-Dec-20, 10:16 PM
I'm sorry, no. It was the eleven am news on 'radio lives' Saturday morning news...here in NZ. I did not catch the names mentioned... Followed by a discussion with Grant Christie. ( A local spokesperson for astronomical things on radio...) I am happy with that and will wait for clarification in astronomy news over the next week or so. There is no rush. I will go do a google search. Yes its there... typed in " dark energy" search news... BINGO.

New Zealand must have a unique version of Google. I find no article describing recent work from the University of California (any branch) regarding dark energy and in particular the distribution of dark energy.

JohnD
2008-Dec-21, 01:09 PM
"It was the eleven am news on 'radio lives' Saturday morning news" !

Has no one found the NS article of any interest?
There's alot more to chew on there than a nebulous news item.

John

PS Oh, http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20026861.500-did-our-cosmos-exist-before-the-big-bang.html as I said before.

Ross PK81
2008-Dec-21, 01:18 PM
Easy. Nothing is no reality. So you can't even experience a black empty space (because that still is something).

astromark
2008-Dec-22, 06:15 PM
quote "New Zealand must have a unique version of Google. I find no article describing recent work from the University of California (any branch) regarding dark energy and in particular the distribution of dark energy." end quote...

The fact that NZ is a unique place is not wasted on me... we are well informed by un biased news feeds... Its not my fault you do not know what is news. What did you think I would say?... Do not ask me to substantiate what is available to me. How could I know what you do not? I can only suggest your search method is at fault.

I think we have reached that point in understanding; That 'nothing' is a concept unavailable inside this universe. but 'next to nothing' is the sum total of my understanding...:)mark

cosmocrazy
2008-Dec-22, 08:32 PM
but 'next to nothing' is the sum total of my understanding...:)mark


My understanding must very very very very.... close to nothing then. :lol:

BetaDust
2008-Dec-22, 08:45 PM
Easy. Nothing is no reality. So you can't even experience a black empty space (because that still is something).

Exactly. Nothing is Nothing. It's, zipp, nada. No universe, no space, no time, no nothing at all.

--Dennis