In the new formulation, the universe has never been a singularity or an infinitely small and infinitely dense point of matter. In fact, the universe may have no beginning at all.
“Our theory suggests that the age of the universe could be infinite,” said study co-author Saurya Das, a theoretical physicist at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada.
The new concept could also explain what dark matter — the mysterious, invisible substance that makes up most of the matter in the universe — is actually made of, Das added.
Ahmed Farag Ali and coauthor Saurya Das at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, have shown in a paper published in Physics Letters B that the Big Bang singularity can be resolved by their new model in which the universe has no beginning and no end.
The age of the universe, as estimated by general relativity, is 13.8 billion years. According to the big bang theory the matter that exists today was once squished into an infinitely dense, infinitely tiny, ultra-hot point called a singularity. This tiny fireball then exploded and gave rise to the early universe.
The physicists highlight that their quantum correction terms are not applied in an attempt to specifically eliminate the Big Bang singularity.
“The Big Bang singularity is the most serious problem of general relativity because the laws of physics appear to break down there,” Ali told.
Das and his colleagues wanted a way to solve at least some of these problems. To do this, they examined an older way of visualizing quantum mechanics, called Bohmian mechanics. In it, a hidden variable governs the bizarre behavior of subatomic particles. Unlike other formulations of quantum mechanics, it provides a way to calculate the trajectory of a particle.
Using this old-fashioned form of quantum theory, the researchers calculated a small correction term that could be included in Einstein’s theory of general relativity.
In the new formulation, there is no singularity, and the universe is infinitely old. ‘As far as we can see, since different points in the universe never actually converged in the past, it did not have a beginning,’ said Professor Das. ‘It lasted forever. It will also not have an end…In other words, there is no singularity.’