The Universe in Mind - Dr. Chris Baddiley

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Cosmology Today

How big was the big bang ?


This is one of my popular talks and describes in detail the evolution of the universe from the beginning to now and the future.

It is in three sections, the slides from the first from the beginning onwards covering the period of inflation of incredibly rapid expansion which then settled down as the universe went into energy balance. Its expansion was then governed as is now, by a rate providing kinetic energy to exactly balance the negative energy of gravity from all its mass, making it look Euclidian flat. In the presence of gravity alone it would be curved like a sphere and eventually collapsed back on itself due to the huge negative energy of gravity itself. It is my belief that the overall energy is zero and always has been. Each phase change represented a change in symmetry, which releases energy to appear in the form of new families of particles and antiparticles in equal measure initially.

Cosmic Inflation The analogy is formation of ice crystals from water on freezing. The water has symmetry in all directions but the ice crystals have limited symmetry and release energy at the same temperature in in their formation. Each crystal leads to the formation of another one linked together, just like the cloning process of particles forming in the early universe. In the reverse process of the earlier analogy, it takes a lot of energy to turn ice at 0°C back into water ; or for example a kettle of water at boiled at 100°C into steam at the same temperature.

The initial rapid inflation insured that particles and antiparticles which normally are in reality all the time being created out of the vacuum for an instant before they self annihilate, had no chance of getting back together during that period. The particle antiparticle binding energies were stretched to the point of breaking and every time the energy went into creating more clones so filling the vacuum. That is the essential creation process. The Inflation period guaranteed any variation to be smoothed out except for very small quantum fluctuations which led to the formation of its present structure.

At all times since inflation, the overall energy is zero, each phase change released less and lessThe History of The Universe energy available for this process and eventually the electrical charge protons and electrons combined to form neutral atoms, at which point the universe became transparent with a final release of photon energy which is now seen through the Doppler shift of the expansion in microwaves as the microwave background radiation.

Discussing the structure of the universe, as the universe expands, chains and ribbons of galaxies, through their gravitational attraction ,hold back the local expansion meaning that the rest of the universe expands more rapidly leaving larger and larger voids between the Galaxy chains.

The talk continues with missing mass, dark matter, and possible acceleration. It concludes with various current theories, including multi-universes, dark energy, and especially the anthropic principle in which we are active participants and in particular how the universe is here because we are here to see it and how we as observers, appear to influence the outcome of events.

To view some of the slides from the talk click here....

For some more details on cosmology you can download these articles which were written for the Mathon Village magazine.


The stars are far brighter
Than gems without measure,
The moon is far whiter
Than silver in treasure.
-J.R.R. Tolkien (The Hobbit)