The big Bang Theory, which states that the universe was generated in a big explosion about 14,000 million years ago, supposed revolution in human thought. Although it took many years to be accepted by the scientific community, today the origin and development of the universe can only be understood thanks to this theory. Going beyond the Big Bang requires a lot of effort: what happened before that big explosion? In the so-called standard theory, the Big Bang not only is it the origin of the Universe but space and time are also born, so that there is no point in asking what was before him. In contrast, the mathematician and physicist Roger Penrose, proposes in his cyclical theory a model in which one universe (aeon) happens after another, in an infinite way.
To formulate it mathematically, Penrose uses so-called conformal geometry, a geometry that preserves angles but not necessarily distances. According to the mathematical physicist, the distances lose importance, since the universe grows several orders of magnitude of accelerated form. By choosing appropriate scaling factors, Penrose "pastes" the remote (or final) futures of each universe to the initial singularity of the next universe. This model explains fundamental issues, such as the initial unusually high entropy Observed
Is scandalous proposal (in the words of Penrose himself), it turns out to be mathematically consistent. But, in spite of this, it has not been taken into consideration by the main currents of cosmology, mainly because it does not explain what causes the change from one aeon to another, beyond that being mathematically possible; and also because it arises from theoretical considerations and not from observations.
However, recently Penrose, along with other authors, claims to have found evidence of his theory in the cosmic radiation background. This electromagnetic radiation observed throughout the universe was discovered in 1964, and was one of the strongest arguments in favor of the Big Bang theory: its almost homogeneous distribution and its temperature matched those expected in the Big Bang model.
Now, Penrose and his collaborators have discovered anomalous points in the radiation background. Their anomaly is that they are exceptionally hot, an order of magnitude greater than the average fluctuation. This does not fit well with inflation theory, which justly explains the homogeneity and isotropy of the universe.
The authors have named them Hawking points, in honor of Stephen Hawking. The recently deceased physicist discovered that black holes also emit radiation, today called Hawking radiation. Although it has never been detected, because it is too weak, within the field of theoretical physics no one doubts its existence, since it is based on the quantum theory of fields in curved spaces, which is confirmed by multiple observations in other areas.
Penrose considers that the anomalous points are created precisely by the accumulation of this weak radiation throughout the whole process in the previous universe (before the Big Bang).
These points, therefore, would be traces of past universes, which would support Penrose's theory. The cosmological community remains very skeptical. In the first place, the existence of these points is questioned, since the data was analyzed in the past by other scientists and until now nobody had identified them. We will have to maintain caution, but if its existence is confirmed, it will be a new advance to better understand the evolution of the cosmos, regardless of whether the Penrose model is correct or not.
Ernesto Nungesser He is a researcher at the Institute of Mathematical Sciences
Agate A. Timón He is responsible for Communication and Disclosure at the ICMAT.
Coffee and Theorems is a section dedicated to mathematics and the environment in which they are created, coordinated by the Institute of Mathematical Sciences (ICMAT), in which researchers and members of the center describe the latest advances in this discipline, share points of contact between mathematics and other social and cultural expressions, and remind those who marked their development and knew how to transform coffee into theorems. The name evokes the definition of the Hungarian mathematician Alfred Rényi: "A mathematician is a machine that transforms coffee into theorems".
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