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Yetanotheruser's avatar

What happened 14 billion years ago?

Asked by Yetanotheruser (14533 points ) June 1st, 2012

“Our whole universe was in a hot dense state,
Then nearly fourteen billion years ago expansion started…” Bare Naked Ladies.

When the Universe started expanding during the big bang, where did it expand to? Since the simple definition of “the Universe” is all that exists, was there a place for it to expand to?

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27 Answers

XOIIO's avatar

It expanded into nothingnes, creating somethingness.

Ltryptophan's avatar

Obviously, since pre dawn of time is something that is not based on the physics after the dawn of time, we are unable to comprehend that because we only can relate to the physics that started after the dawn of time.

josie's avatar

The expansion is what caused “space’”. The movement of matter is what caused time. Neither of those things existed until then.

digitalimpression's avatar

Like mold in a petri dish.. apparently the universe began to expand of its own accord based on some random algorithm that conveniently led to what exists today.

I’ve always been more curious about who or what put the petri dish there to begin with.

blueberry_kid's avatar

That’s the them song to The Big Bang Theory. Sorry, being a nerd, I had to point that out.

The expansion was space, I believe. The entire universe started growing, expanding, and planets formed with heat and gases swirling around, to then form planet Earth.

gasman's avatar

Space itself is what expands. There is no pre-existing space into which the universe expands.

ShadesOfWhite's avatar

Sorry, but I don’t believe the word existed 14 billion years ago.

Supacase's avatar

I want to understand how there was a big bang if there was nothing around to bang together and no space for it to exist in prior to its bang.

XOIIO's avatar

@Supacase You can’t, isn’t that obvious? You can’t understand something that we have no way of remotely understanding.

Supacase's avatar

@XOIIO Exactly. Yet so many people are certain this happened because it is science and science is believable because it is provable…

mattbrowne's avatar

A multiverse waiting for a quantum fluctuation to happen.

Rarebear's avatar

@mattbrowne Hypothetically. Not based upon any evidence.

deni's avatar

I thought the universe was 5 billion years old? Anyhow the reason the big bang is so hard to understand is that nothing existed before it, it expanded into itself, and is still expanding. All of space was the infinitely dense matter that is now our universe. TRIP.

deni's avatar

@Supacase It’s just a theory. It is clearly beyond what we can know for sure. Or at least what I can know for sure. I know for me, the more I learn about the big bang, space in general, our universe, the more I wonder if there is a higher power. I can’t understand how these things happened by themselves. I still do not believe in a God, but it does make you think.

XOIIO's avatar

@deni That’s the earth, and its 4.5

deni's avatar

@XOIIO Ah! The universe is really 14 billion?

Ltryptophan's avatar

Now, answer me this…I see a butterfly with beautiful wings, an accomplished aerial acrobat, do I think of the caterpillar it was? Do I lament not knowing the whereabouts of the empty pupa? Do you think the butterfly cares?

Perhaps we cringe at the prospect that what existed before time was even better than what we have now, or could help make now better…this answer, the true answer, is what we seek when myriad ways of bettering now are before us, within reach, and we trample them!

XOIIO's avatar

@deni Roughly, we don’t know for sure.

gasman's avatar

@deni: “It’s just a theory. That’s what creationists say about evolution, too. I respectfully disagree. “Theory,” in the scientific sense, means far more than “unproven hypothesis” or “pure speculation.” Big bang cosmology is settled fact.

It rests on three main pillars of evidence accumulated over the past 80 years or so: (1) Hubble’s Law of uniform expansion of the universe, discovered in the 1920s. As is often said, if you “play the movie backwards” then everything emerged from a cosmic pinpoint. (2) The cosmic microwave background (CBR) radiation, discovered in the 1960s, the “afterglow” of the big bang predicted by calculations. (3) The relative abundances of hydrogen and helium, with close agreement between observed numbers and predictions based on the Standard Model.

Taken together the massive amount of observations, and strong agreement with theory (by theory I mean a consistent & detailed explanation capable of making predictions of future observations), leads any reasonable mind to conclude that the big bang happened.

CBR was discovered when I was a kid. Before that, I remember, the big bang theory competed with the steady-state model of the universe, relegating big bang to mere hypothesis. In fact “big bang” was coined as a term of ridicule when the hypothesis was first proposed. After CBR the issue was largely settled. In the ensuing 50 years the case has become airtight.

Of course the exact nature of the big bang itself, or what might have preceded it, remains a deep mystery where speculation abounds. Nobody can answer the title question of this thread. But if you go where the evidence takes you, you must accept the big bang as fact regardless of how it came to be.

deni's avatar

@gasman I realize what it means in the scientific sense and that it means more than just “oh, here’s a thought” and I think it’s funny when creationists say that about evolution. Same could be said for gravity but nobody’s doubting that shit. In my personal little mind though, the big bang is just unfathomable. For me. I believe that it happened and I trust scientists research and yadayada, but I can’t fathom everything coming from essentially nothing. (I also realize it wasn’t nothing….but to try and imagine the big bang, in your brain, really, you just can’t do it.) Anyhow, I’m not disagreeing with you about anything. GA

gasman's avatar

@deni GA to you, too! Sorry I get carried away. Even after reading A Universe From Nothing by Krauss, I’m as perplexed as anyone about the universe’s origins. To be philosophical: Deep mysteries of science make life more satisfying, even if the answers aren’t forthcoming until long after our time.

deni's avatar

@gasman Absofruitly, I love the fact that it’s a mystery. I would hate to know for sure things like this. It’s what keeps life interesting and makes you feel so appreciative to exist, even!

mattbrowne's avatar

@Rarebear – I know. But isn’t every answer to this question speculation which is not based on evidence?

Yetanotheruser's avatar

@mattbrowne I guess that’s why it’s. called theory!

mattbrowne's avatar

@Yetanotheruser – Theory is an ambiguous term. In the context of science, theory means a successfully tested hypothesis. In a colloquial context theory means speculation.

Yetanotheruser's avatar

@mattbrowne Thanks for the reminder. I haven’t set foot in any scientific lab for 45 years, and my understanding of scientific method may be a little rusty. I guess in the colloquial context

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