Was The Universe Born From Nothing?Jan 29, 2022
don't think about anything, what do you see, you could imagine a vacuum, a region of the
universewithout matter or radiation, but go beyond, try to think of a true
nothingness, an absolute
nothingness, this nothingness is not only empty, but it also lacks space and time. In our everyday experiences this is difficult to imagine, but we have often struggled with the concept of nothing. The biblical creation story tells us that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, but what existed before God's creation at a time before time in one place. before space the bible simply does not say it and in fact our scientific theories and observations also tell us that our
universehas not existed for eternity, they tell us that 14 billion years ago it had a beginning, a fiery birth in a masculine strum of particles and energy and has been expanding and cooling ever since, so what came before cosmologists offer tantalizing possibilities, perhaps our universe was spawned from a previous existence, part of an endless cycle, or formed in the violent collision between two other universes, but perhaps the most disturbing answer of all is that our universe was
bornfrom nothing and if that is the case, how do you get something from nothing?
No electron is as real as one or two when the electric or magnetic fields are at zero, are the fields still there? These questions may seem strange, but by the beginning of the 20th century our notion of physical reality had become somewhat confused, Newton's rigid mechanical universe had been replaced, Einstein had turned space and time upside down with his theory of relativity. and experiments showed that the world of the very little ones was governed by a completely new set of physical laws in the world of atoms and electrons physicists did not speak of certainties but of probabilities probabilities governed by completely new rules the mathematics of mechanics quantum but that is not how we see the world our large scale macroscopic world is one governed by certainties by things by reason and logic nothing is nothing something is something and when you put your cup of coffee on the table it stays there every time, but The distant world of the very small, the strange quantum world in which something can be
bornfrom nothing and matter can pass through matter, has more effect on us and the entire universe than we might think.
To understand this, we will embark on a journey through time and space from the first moments of the universe to its distant future. We will unravel the meaning of quantum mechanics, explore its impact on the cosmos around us, leading us to the most important question of all: where did the universe come from? This video is sponsored by datacamp the fun way to learn about data asks how much data is there 7.5 octocecillion zettabytes in the entire universe? Much of the study of cosmology is about being able to process large amounts of information, and the data field is a great place to start if you want to become fluent in data from beginner to professional.
Use a gamified platform. system to get you up to speed on r python machine learning coding and many other very important job skills in our fast-moving world. In fact, there are over 350 courses to try. An example I've been playing with has been your course. Visualizing data with matplotlib is very useful when dealing with things as big as the universe and as long as time itself, so click the link in the description or pinned comment to see the first chapter of any course of data cab for free, unlock new career opportunities and master data today werner heisenberg had a nasty case of hay fever as a young physicist he had been trying to understand the rapidly changing landscape of early 20th century physics for months he had been trying to reconstruct the seemingly meaningless world of the atom who understood that in an atom electrons orbit around a nucleus, but if these orbits were like planets orbiting the sun, the atom would collapse in a fraction of a second and simply cease to exist.
So what rules governed the movement of electrons? Everything he had tried failed because his mathematics became unwieldy and unruly and now that the summer hay fever had hit his head and his stuffy nose was clouding he decided to escape seeking refuge on the small island of Heligoland located in the North Sea hoped that the fresh, salty air would clear his mind and so it was in small, isolated Heligoland while relaxing one night, he was hit by a revelation that totally changed our understanding of reality. It had all started in 1900 with Max Planck's desperate attempts to explain how hot objects glow.
He knew that in hot objects atoms moved and it was this movement that produced the rainbow of colors that he could see in classical physics. All possible movements were allowed, but to agree with the experiments, Planck added an unexpected new ingredient. : He restricted the movements so that the energies were present in different individual fragments and, by quantifying these movements, quantum mechanics was born in the 1920s this world of the very small the world of atoms and electrons had become a strange and complex place just like energy the orbits of electrons seem to be over quantized existing at specific distances from the nucleus and in 1925 owen schrodinger wrote his wave equation to explain quantum mechanics, objects like electrons were no longer in a particular place, but were blurred and scattered, described by something known as a wave function.
Heisenberg had become caught up in this heady mix of quantum theory like others he was trying to explain. bending well-established rules to explain how electrons orbited atoms, perhaps they underwent some small oscillations, something Heisenberg knew how to calculate, yet all the temperatures before his calculations failed to explain what the experimenters were telling him, except in the fresh sea air of Heligoland. New ideas quickly crystallized. He realized that we can never actually observe an electron in its orbit. What we see are the frequencies of light emitted as electrons from one orbit to another. So why bother trying to calculate the details of the orbit?
He decided what we should calculate. It is what we can really observe in our experiments. Heisenberg began working on mathematics without knowing how the electron moved precisely and that was when things became completely clear. His new math worked. The shape of the equations in front of him seemed strange, but a mathematician would do it. I have recognized them as matrices, although they are common in current physics. There was still a novelty in the 1920s. Heisenberg did not sleep that night, but instead set out on a walk before dawn. He sat and watched the first rays of the sun peek over the horizon from a rocky outcrop on the island as the day warmed he realized he had a new mathematical way of explaining the world of the very small but what a strange world he had found.
Heisenberg's mathematics agreed with Schrodinger's, they did not talk about where an electron is, only where it could be, and when it comes to the speed of an electron, the description is equally vague of how an electron jumps from one orbit to the next, it was unknowable, only the energy emitted when it did so and did not speak of the precise time that the electron would do. such a quantum jump only the chances of the jump occurring the quantum world was not a work of precision the quantum world was one of probabilities staring at his equations heisenberg realized that vagueness in position and velocity were in fact related saw that the more accurately we can discern the position the less certain we are of the velocity and if we try to determine precisely the velocity the more blurry the position is.
Imagine if you put an electron in a small box in the classical world, the electron would happily vibrate bouncing off the walls if you cool the The electron will move slower and slower. You can eventually cool the electron to absolute zero and it would remain at rest without moving, but the Heisenberg uncertainty principle means that in quantum mechanics this is strictly prohibited, since we know where the electron is confined within the electron walls. box there is a fuzzy limit to what we can know about its speed, no matter what we do, quantum physics prevents us from cooling an electron to absolute zero, no matter how hard we try, there will always be some residual motion on top of this, like the position and speed.
Energy and time are not precise things in quantum physics and, like position and velocity, how well one can be determined is related to how the other is determined, the energy of things can fluctuate over time. with small amounts appearing and disappearing on small time scales and very briefly. breaking the law of conservation of energy, this means that even empty space shakes up a residual energy in the vacuum that is always there, known as a quantum vacuum, which fills the entire universe as virtual particles appear and disappear from existence and therefore in the quantum world it is empty.
Space is not really empty. Nothing turns out to be anything. The Heisenberg uncertainty principle is a fundamental law of the universe and yet it seems disconnected from our reality on a large scale, but as we will see in the next stage of our journey, the physics of the very small. It has great implications for the cosmos from our existence to the birth of the universe itself to understand the role of quantum mechanics in the universe we are going to have to think about our sun for many years of human history the sun was a god to the ancients To the Egyptians, the son was the king of all the gods and father of creation, for the Greeks he was Helios, who rode his chariot daily through the sky, but what propelled the sun was only a ball of fire like the fires in the earth, it was not until mid. -1800 when science began to provide answers and began with Lord Kelvin, determiner of absolute zero and which gives its name to the units of temperature.
He was considering how old the sun was with the physics of the day. Kelvin deduced that our star was huge. ball of hot gas squeezed at high temperatures by its own gravity and there was little mass in the Sun to support it, it seems on the whole more likely that the Sun has not illuminated the Earth for a hundred million years and it is almost certain that it has not done so for 500 million years, while in the future we can say with the same certainty that the inhabitants of the Earth will not be able to continue enjoying the light and heat essential for their life for many more millions of years and fewer sources will be prepared that we do not know about now. .
In the great storehouse of creation, this estimate dismayed geologists and biologists; It simply left very little time for the erosion of continents or the evolution of animals, but Lord Kelvin did not know about the physics of the nucleus, in the 20th century physicists had realized that atoms had a defined structure - electrons Negatively charged nuclei orbit a nucleus composed of positive protons and neutral neutrons, but the atomic nucleus is tiny thousands of times smaller than the atom itself, so an immense force must be present to counteract the mutual repulsion of the protons crammed into the tiny nuclear volume.
Unimaginatively, physicists call this the strong force and if this force could be harnessed in nuclear reactions, energy would soon be unleashed. The experimenters collided atoms and released a large amount of energy. Finally, in 1920, Cambridge astronomer Arthur Eddington put two and two together and decided where the power lay. Inside the nuclei of atoms, stars, including our Sun, are primarily hydrogen, the simplest element in the cosmos. During the 1930s, physicists realized that starlight must be generated by nuclear fusion; this is when lighter elements like hydrogen are bonded by the strong force into heavier elements, but just How did this work?
There were clearly two forces to worry about: first, the strong force responsible for binding the nuclei together, but the strong force only acts over very short distances. Two nuclei must essentially touch each other for the strong force to bring them together as the nuclei are composed. of positively charged protons repel each other through electromagnetism for fusion to work in the sun. The nuclei must be brought together with enough force to overcome electromagnetic repulsion and for the strong force to take hold, but there is a problem: the core of a star is crushed at an incredibly high altitude. temperatures due to the weight of the star pressing downwards.
Astronomers have calculated that a newborn sun would have a central temperature close to 15 million kelvin, but at this temperature the collisions betweenprotons hydrogen nuclei are too soft electromagnetic repulsion keeps protons too far apart for fusion so how could the sun shine and this is where the little quantum world comes in? The answer was given by an enigmatic scientist George Gamau, born in Odessa when it was part of the Russian Empire. Gamow was a true scholar. His mind wandered from the birth of the universe through radioactivity and how DNA stores information, but for our story, what What matters is gamma's view on quantum mechanics.
He realized that we cannot treat colliding nuclei as solid balls of matter because of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. At the quantum level it's all confusing when two nuclei collide they are not simply separated by a certain distance, they are separated by many distances instantaneously and somewhere in this fuzzy mix they could be close enough for the strong force to do its thing. Working through quantum uncertainty the two nuclei overcome the electromagnetic repulsion barrier, allowing them to fuse and release their nuclear energy, this tunneling through seemingly impenetrable barriers is a feature of the quantum world and it is this that allows the sun shine Following these revelations, throughout the 1940s and 1950s, astronomers steadily discovered the secret lives of stars driven by The surge in nuclear research throughout World War II reconstructed the complex network of nuclear combustion, first from simple hydrogen to helium, then from helium to beryllium to carbon and then to heavier elements, but even with the help of quantum physics, nuclear reactions are fickle and very massive.
Stars are necessary to create heavier elements from carbon and oxygen, and even iron, only in their cores, crushed to immense temperatures and densities by their weight, can the extreme conditions necessary for this to occur occur. nuclear burning. These elements are essential for our existence in the universe but of course they are useless, locked and buried deep within stars, only at the end of a star's life can elements be released and, just as the seemingly tiny and macroscopic world irrelevant of quantum mechanics gives them light, it can boost them. These elements in the cosmos in a spectacular way the neutrino is a curious particle that has practically no mass or charge and, therefore, is invisible to all electric and magnetic fields.
He is also blind to the strong force that binds the nuclei of atoms together; in fact, only neutrinos feel that the weak force is the strangest of all the fundamental quantum forces postulated by Wolfgang Paulie in the 1930s due to its incredible elusiveness. It wouldn't be another 25 years until neutrinos were finally captured in an experiment. This is because with only weak quantum force interactions, The neutrino simply ignores most matter, it will happily travel through a light year of lead before there is a chance for it to interact with a single atom and, without However, they play a crucial role in supernovae, the death of massive stars in the immense crushing of a collapsing giant star.
Electrons are forced into protons and this radioactive decay spits out neutrinos. A large number of neutrinos try to escape from the star, but finding themselves in a super dense environment, they collide with the falling layers and, by sheer quantity, reverse the collapse and destroy the star. Throwing the various elements back into the cosmos clearly quantum physics is written into the functioning of the universe through its role in generating solar heat or recycling elements throughout the cosmos is essential to our entire existence, but it does not stop there, could quantum physics play? an even bigger role: do we just need to think about the quantum nature of the extremely small or is there a more important question we should be asking?
Is the entire universe a quantum object? In quantum physics, the wave function encapsulates all information in one object except two. Individual objects are not described by two individual wavefunctions, but rather we use a single wavefunction to encompass both. In fact, in quantum theory we can use a single wave function to describe any number of particles. This raises a big question, one of the biggest possible. write a single wave function to account for the quantum state of the entire universe a wave function to account for every particle of matter and every photon of light would be truly immense but at least theoretically possible consider the world of classical physics, imagine You could knowing the precise location and speed of each atom and photon at a particular instant, impractical but possible in theory.
With this information you could use the laws of physics to calculate where each particle will be in the future. This is because classical physics is deterministic and if the universe works like a clock, the future is completely written into the fabric of today. Quantum physics, on the other hand, is based on probabilities. Knowing the wave function today will tell me the wave function tomorrow, but not a single defined tomorrow, a whole series of possible tomorrows. Which of these follows the true future path of the universe? Physicists are not sure and in the 1950s Hugh Everett III proposed a radical solution to his many-worlds view and decided that there was no single future for the universe in this multiverse of universes.
In other versions of you in some universes you may have won the lottery, in others you may be a rock star or a famous actor, and of course in some you are absolutely identical. Everett's ideas were too radical for the time and unappreciated. He eventually left science, but the notion of a wave function for the entire universe did not abandon him, even Stephen Hawking wondered if a quantum universe could solve one of the great mysteries, that is, whether the universe had a beginning. Working with Jim Hartel, he deduced that in the early universe the quantum nature of time was indistinct and this time only really emerged when the universe became more distinct.
The singularity that haunted classical cosmology written in relativity simply did not occur because there was no real time in which it could have occurred, as you can imagine, not everyone is happy. With this picture, the debate continues and, in fact, that is far from the only way that quantum physics has been implicated in the beginning of our universe. To discover more, we must travel back in time to the first billionth of a second of existence in the 1970s. Physicist Alan Guth had a problem, he had something he needed to hide the magnetic monopoles. They are the magnetic equivalent of electric charges, and like electric charges, which can be positive or negative, these monopoles would be purely north or south, but this should seem strange to everyone.
The magnet you played with in school always had a north and a south, you never get just one north or just the south, so why was Gouth thinking about them and why did he need to hide them? Guth was and is a cosmologist and was thinking about the very early Universe in its super hot and super dense state, many physicists thought that the laws of physics should be simpler instead of there being four different fundamental forces. Theories suggested that there was a super force as the universe cooled and expanded, the super force fractured into the current. forces within this super force there should be no distinction between electricity and magnetism with electric charges, there should also be magnetic monopoles, but although there is abundant electric charge in the universe, there did not appear to be any monopoles, if this picture of super force was correct, these magnetic monopoles were necessary. be hidden and it was in 1981 that Guth found an intriguing solution: what would happen if the universe underwent a rapid burst of expansion when it was very young?
This rapid inflation of the universe would dilute the number of monopoles and perhaps with one monopole in the entire observable universe. universe would be undetectable by looking at their equations guth saw that this inflation could explain some other features of the universe in the first place why it appears to be so smooth when we look at the universe on large scales millions to billions of light years it appears to be the same everywhere , why should it be like this only with random fluctuations? Some regions should be denser, others less. Guth realized that his inflation blew up a small piece of space to the size of the universe around us and, because this little piece was so small, they have been quite soft and their softness gives us the softness of the heavens and here it is again where the quantum world rears its head this initial chunk of soft space would still have harbored a quantum vacuum within it Heisenberg's uncertainty would still have brought energy and matter out of existence and when the universe inflated, these tiny fluctuations would have frozen into existence. space when inflation ends, its energy is returned to the universe as matter and radiation and frozen quantum fluctuations would result in slightly more matter in one place than another.
The differences were minuscule, less than one part in a billion, but as the fires of cosmic birth dimmed, gravity began to play its part, small overdensities began to attract mats from their surroundings, clumps of matter and gas began to form. to accumulate until a few hundred million years ago. After the Big Bang they were dense enough to form the first stars. Quantum fluctuations frozen in the universe during inflation became the seeds of galaxies today and we still see them in all their glory written in the ancient light of the cosmic microwave background in this theory. The quantum world has shaped our cosmos, but there is still one more step behind.
Could we use quantum mechanics to address the fundamental question of where our universe really came from? The year is 1973 and the young physicist Edward Tryon is watching a lecture by Dennis Charmer, considered one of them. of the fathers of modern cosmology there is a pause in the lecture and suddenly, without warning, edward hears himself speak perhaps the universe is a fluctuation of the void there is a murmur of laughter in the room and siama continues his lecture but tryon was not there jokingly and in December 1973 he published an article with almost that exact title: "The universe, a fluctuation of the vacuum." Trion was trying to unravel the strange implications of the quantum vacuum, how energy in the vacuum can fluctuate over time, very briefly breaking the law of conservation of energy, and it was this that led him to wonder what the total energy content was. of the universe.
Clearly all the mass and motion would be an immense amount of energy, but there is also potential in gravitational and other fields, and this potential energy is negative, so he thought if you sum up all the energy in the universe maybe they balance out. and maybe the total is zero looking at heisenberg's uncertainty principle tryon realized that a zero energy fluctuation could last forever maybe the entire universe was just a quantum fluctuation of course this raises the immediate question of Where did this fluctuation occur that would leave us behind at the beginning? Where did quantum fields come from?
Of what came before them. We now know that in our quantum universe it is possible to extract something from nothing, but what could happen inside a true nothing outside of it. Despite this, time and space remain a question beyond the boundaries of science, although we cannot speak with certainty about what happened before. It's clear that in the first little moments of existence, quantum mechanics inevitably played a role, but what about the end of the story? time, the distant and unimaginably vast Universe 2 could be shaped by the quantum When the universe was young and energetic, it produced stars in abundance, half of the stars that will ever exist were created in the first billion years during In the last nine billion years, almost all the rest were created and as the universe ages its ability to create stars is rapidly declining.
In the future only the final five percent of stars will be born, but as we have seen stars do not live. forever massive stars live for millions of years stars like the sun can last billions in time, only the weakest stars will exist, weak red dwarfs, these small stars burn their nuclear fuel extremely gently, they can live for dozens of billions of years, but eventually even its nuclear fires extinguish and die, all that will exist. It will be a dark shell that will slowly lose its heat to the dying cosmos, of course the forces still operate and gravity will continue to squeeze and squeeze and without the constant flow of nuclear energy you would expect that gravity would crush the dead star out of existence. existence, butsomething stops this seemingly inevitable collapse and again the Heisenberg uncertainty principle is the source as the star cools and loses its energy at its heart.
Gravity squeezes electrons and protons closer together for any single electron. The space in which it can move becomes smaller and smaller in terms of quantum physics the electron is being restricted to a small volume and this means that our knowledge of the speed of the electron becomes larger and larger even at a temperature of absolute zero. Quantum mechanics ensures that the electrons keep moving, which means that the electrons now have a quantum pressure known as degeneracy pressure that stops gravitational collapse and that is why dead stars stay there in the dark for eternity but not on scales of immense time raises the question about the very stability of matter while protons appear eternal there are indications that they are not some scientists think that others undetected Hidden forces could exist in the universe on time scales of 10 to the power of 36 years.
Their presence could become evident. The action of these forces could cause protons to disintegrate into simpler particles, and eventually the matter of dead stars would simply melt into darkness once. They have disappeared, only black holes remain, at first glance they are just distortions in time and space, these may seem impermeable, but quantum physics ensures that their time is also limited. The culprit again is the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, in particular the fluctuation of energy in apparently empty space. It was Stephen Hawking who first realized that the quantum vacuum spelled doom for black holes. The mathematics of the quantum vacuum is quite complex and can be thought of as fluctuations in the quantum fields of all particles and antiparticles together.
A particularly strange aspect is that while the waves of particles move forward in time the waves of their antiparticles move backward in a random patch of vacuum these waves almost cancel each other out, but near a black hole there is no a random piece of vacuum that you can fall into, but is thus impossible to escape firmly separates the past and the future and this alters the state of the quantum waves in the vacuum some of the fluctuating fields no longer cancel out with this the virtual particles They become real particles by harnessing the energy of the black hole as the particles flow away the black hole constantly evaporates this is where we seem to reach the end of our cosmic journey but there is more to tell in 1958 physics was a rumor rumors circulated Individual mathematical physicists had known for decades that the language of curved spacetime and the probabilities of quantum mechanics were simply incompatible.
A theory of everything could open new doors to the universe. The proponents of this theory. Heisenberg and Paulie were giants of quantum physics. They were now part of the old guard rather than the young people who had discovered neutrinos and created the uncertainty principle, but perhaps together they had scenes through the mathematical fog and solved the problem. Paulie was invited to speak about this new theory at Columbia University. A group of physicists traveled from Princeton to hear the great man explain his ideas, but as the conference unfolded, everyone in the room realized that this was a lost direction.
The idea that all particles are actually different forms of a single truly fundamental particle could not be correct. Dyson said it was like witnessing the death of a noble animal; In fact, many great physicists have been obsessed by a theory of everything. Einstein was excited when Theodore Kaluza added electromagnetism to his general theory of relativity, but the enthusiasm waned when he realized that including quantum mechanics was complicated, However, Einstein did not give up on multiple attempts to derive a theory of everything before his death in 1955. His attempts that he wrote most of my intellectual descendants end up very young in the graveyard of disappointed hopes.
This search continues today and strangely looks Frustrated by scientific success, Einstein's general relativity remains the most accurate description of gravity, his GPS is testimony to this, and for the other forces, the strong, the weak, and electromagnetism, quantum physics is all that is required. This is also a surprisingly successful theory within its modern form known as quantum field theory. Quarks are ripples in the quark field. Photons are ripples in the photon field and electrons are waves in the electron field. The mathematics of quantum field theory tells us precisely the probabilities of how particles interact and what is precisely seen in the particles thrown by the collisions of the large hadron collider, but fundamentally the mathematics of relativity and quantum mechanics is simply incompatible in its current form they refuse to work together a new theory with new mathematics is essential therefore physicists have found themselves in a courtyard of theoretical games with no experimental clues to guide them, which of course has led to an explosion of ideas maybe the world is ultimately made of strings whose vibrations dictate that they are quarks or electrons, maybe loop quantum gravity is correct As the universe is woven with threads of space and time, perhaps we are fundamentally membranes floating in a sea of 11 dimensions or perhaps none of these are the true path to enlightenment, our centuries-old search for theory continues and we have no idea. of when it will end but let's pretend, let's imagine that we have our theory of everything, gravity and quantum physics written in a single language, what secrets of the universe would it have? reveal that the first place we will look at is black holes with just general relativity, all the mass in a black hole is compressed into a single point of infinite density and infinities really have no place in physical theories, the hope is that Within the theory of all this, infinity never occurs impeded by the action of the quantum and there is another infinity that pursues Einstein's relativity, infinity at the birth of the universe at the moment of creation, cosmic density was infinite and it is this infinity that that prevents us from looking before the big bang, prevents us from knowing where our universe finally came from, prevents us from knowing what came before, hopefully the theory of everything will open this closed door, perhaps reveal that we were born from a previous incarnation, a universe prior to ours, maybe we will.
We will discover that we are lost in the multiverse, just one universe among countless others, or perhaps we will open the door and find ourselves staring into an abyss, an aberration born of random fluctuation, our existence little more than a quantum dream against a backdrop of nothing endless. You have been watching the entire history of the universe. Don't forget to like, subscribe and leave a comment to tell us what you think. Thanks for watching. I'll see you next time.
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