Cosmologists' view of the Big Bang.
The Big Bang theory has formed the basis of our understanding of the universe's origins since Georges Lemaitre first proposed it in 1927 ~ basing it on Einstein's widely accepted theory of general relativity. Now astrophysicists Maximo Banados and Pedro Ferreira have resurrected a theory of gravity from the early 20th century and discovered that it may hold an alternative to the Big Bang.
Banados and Ferreira have reconsidered the theory of gravity proposed by Arthur Eddington, a contemporary of Einstein. Although Eddington played a significant role in developing general relativity, during the following decades he became more interested in finding a theory to unify gravity and quantum mechanics. In 1924, he proposed a new “gravitational action” as an alternative to the Einstein-Hilbert action, which could serve as an alternative starting point to general relativity.
According to Banados and Ferreira, Eddington’s theory could lead to an entirely new view of the Universe that doesn't include a Big Bang, according to PhysOrg.com. The theory predicts that, depending on the Universe’s initial density, it may have loitered for a long time at a relatively small size before growing large enough to be controlled by standard cosmological evolution. Another possibility, depending on the initial conditions, is that the Universe could have undergone a bounce, resulting from the collapse of a previous Universe.
“Taking as a starting point what is a very old idea, we have ended up with a theory that has this very interesting property of not having singularities,” Ferreira, a professor of astrophysics at the University of Oxford, told PhysOrg.com. “It was unexpected and definitely not what we were looking for.”
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