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  • Space Ponder Writers

The Universe May Be Older Than 13.8 Billion Years

Updated: Jan 22

The Big Bang theory posits that the universe began from a singularity, a point of infinite density and temperature. This beginning implies a moment where all the energy and matter in the universe came into existence. If energy cannot be created, then the emergence of all energy in the universe at the Big Bang appears to be a direct violation of the conservation law.

The apparent contradiction between the Big Bang and the conservation of energy suggests that our understanding of the universe and the laws of physics is incomplete. It highlights the possibility that the laws of physics as we know them may have different applications or interpretations at the extreme conditions of the universe’s inception.

However, we do acknowledge that the law of conservation of energy is a principle that holds true in the context of the space-time fabric of our universe. The Big Bang theory deals with the very inception of space and time.

At the moment of the Big Bang, the conventional laws of physics, as we understand them, may not apply. This includes the law of conservation of energy. In other words, the rules that govern our universe post-Big Bang might not be applicable to the conditions of the universe at the point of its creation. We also acknowledge that there are hypotheses that posit the total energy of the universe might be zero, with positive energy (matter) being balanced by negative energy (gravity) , meaning that no net energy was ‘created’ at the beginning of the universe.

It’s also worth noting that the Big Bang theory is a model that best explains the observations and data we have about the universe, such as the cosmic microwave background radiation and the expansion of the universe. However, it is one of several models, and like all scientific theories, it is subject to change with new evidence. There are alternative models and theories, like the cyclic universe or quantum gravity models, that attempt to address these fundamental questions in different ways.

The universe that doesn’t break this law is called a Cyclic Universe.

One newly developed addition to the cyclic models is by nonother than physicist Sir Roger Penrose and entails that the universe going through many big bangs, not just one, from the infinite past. Though, Penrose is not the father of a Cyclic Universe. Such a universe is also called an Ekpyrotic universe. The original ekpyrotic model was introduced by Justin Khoury, Burt Ovrut, Paul Steinhardt and Neil Turok in 2001.

Steinhardt created the name based on the Ancient Greek word ekpyrosis (ἐκπύρωσις, “conflagration”), which refers to a Stoic cosmological model in which the universe is caught in an eternal cycle of fiery birth, cooling and rebirth. This reminds me of the Chinese philosophy Yin and Yang.

One of these Ekpytoic universes is called CCC theory. The three key things of Conformal Cyclic Cosmology are conformal geometry, Hawking Radiation, and Hawking Points.

Current evidence: Hawking Points in the Cosmic Microwave Background.

Penrose’s Hawking Points, although a bit fringe, hint at a previous universe in the Cosmic Microwave Background, which might be remnant signals from supermassive black holes from a past era.

According to Penrose, as the universe increases in size, it enters a conformal phase where its size becomes irrelevant. Essentially, big and small lose their meaning. This allows the radiation from black holes that evaporated in the previous aeon to interact, forming quantum fluctuations that lead to a new “beginning” and a big bang. This is the same universe, and according to Roger, this process will repeat itself infinitely in the future.

Imagine the Angels and Demon surrealistic painting by M.C. Escher’s, which Penrose likes to use to illustrate the concept of conformal geometry as envisioned. The scene depicts a series of angels and demons. At the top of the painting, the characters appear large, but as the viewer’s gaze moves downwards, the characters seamlessly transition to appear the same size and shape, despite their varying distances.

This represents the idea that in a conformally cyclic universe, distances and scales become relative and interconnected, akin to how energy from evaporated black holes can interact closely, unlike in the Heat Death scenario. Here, the ever-expanding universe eventually becomes so vast that it ‘forgets’ its own scale, effectively resetting to a singularity-like state. The painting captures this mind-bending concept with intricate detail and a touch of Escher’s impossible geometry, where the rules of perspective and scale are defied, symbolizing the theoretical physics of a universe in constant, cyclical transformation.

So, this universe in this model is not 13.8 billion years old. It is more than trillions of years old. It’s eternal.

In this strange bubbly animation, this is quantum foam, the very things that lead up to the

big bang. The current model of the big bang contradicts the fundamental law of the conservation of energy by stating that there was a beginning. This outright breaks this fundamental law. You cannot have a beginning because energy cannot be created nor destroyed. A beginning means that energy was created. In fact, a catholic priest founded the big bang to support Creationism, hence there is a beginning.

Here’s a wee diagram here showing how the conformal rescaling would occur. As you can see the crossover into the new aeon is not a different universe at all but rather the exact same universe. And due to the conformal phase, the universe doesn’t understand what size all the energy is therefore able to interact.

If we look at this epic diagram of a black hole, Hawking Radiation is emitted. This won’t occur until the dark ages of the universe which will be in an extremely long time from now.

As we know the universe will be very dark hence the dark era of the universe which will be in “n > 101 . The current model of the universe will state that this is the end of the universe. But Penrose’s conformal phase allows the left-over radiation that evaporated from those black holes & can now interact once more and eventually over time, quantum fluctuation will arise again, and eventually a singularity.

The result is a new solution to Einstein’s equations, which Penrose takes to represent the entire universe, and which is composed of a sequence of sectors that Penrose calls “aeons”. So, we’re now at the singularity. This is not to say that the big bang never occurred, it certainly did, but it is a event in the history and in the future just like any other event in the universe.

In the aeon we’re in now, when the universe cools down in the dark era, the same will occur again. Penrose states that this has occurred in the infinite past and will continue into the infinite future.

In the 1930s, even Einstein came up with the idea that the universe could go through an infinite cycle of Big Bangs and Big Crunches way before the likes of Penrose and others did. The expansion of our universe could have been caused by the collapse of a previous universe — it sort of bounced back from the contraction of the universe before it. You could say our universe was reborn from the death of the universe before it.

If this is true, then our Big Bang was not a unique event; it was one insignificant bang among an infinite number of other bangs.

So, we have a different form of a cyclic universe which is the big bounce. The big bounce universe is a bit different to Penrose’s Cosmic Cyclic Cosmology because Penrose’s universe doesn’t collapse onto itself, rather it evades Heat Death through conformal geometry and the energy left over from the supermassive black holes gives rise to it. Apart from that, the big bounce is similar.

In Penrose’s cosmology, the universe is a great cycler, constantly recycling the universe’s content for ever and ever and ever.

In 2015, Gurzadyan and Penrose also discussed the Fermi paradox, the apparent contradiction between the lack of evidence but high probability estimates for the existence of extra-terrestrial civilizations. Within conformal cyclic cosmology, the cosmic microwave background provides the possibility of information transfer from one aeon to another, including of intelligent signals within the information panspermia concept.

From hurricanes, tornadoes, circadian rhythms, galaxies, wheels, seasons; the carbon cycle, rain; and many other cycles in nature.

All of this is more or less like some religious ideas as well. In Hinduism and Buddhism, the term “wheel of time” is a term that refers to the notion that time is cyclical, consisting of repeating ages that are cyclical over time. As with the idea of a cyclical universe, there is also something like the idea of a samsara in Hindu, Buddhist and Jain philosophy. The word “Samsara” is translated from Sanskrit as “continuous flow” and it refers to the cycle of birth, death and rebirth (rebirth is also called reincarnation in Buddhism).

As per Hindu philosophy, the universe was created by Brahman , the life of the universe is maintained by Vishnu, and the universe will at some point be destroyed by Shiva. There is no end to this process as it continues for eternity. The continuous creation and destruction of the universe as represented by the outward and inward breath of the cosmic giant Maha Vishnu, a supreme god beyond the comprehension of a human, is depicted in several stories found in the Puranas, an ancient collection of Hindu texts. In Hindu cosmology, each universe exists for over 4 trillion years.

And Chinese philosophical concept that describes opposite but interconnected forces. In Chinese cosmology, the universe creates itself out of a primary chaos of material energy, organized into the cycles of yin and yang and formed into objects and lives.

Closing remarks.

Whether or not Penrose’s’ theory or even hypothesis is true is still yet to be shown. It is still rather fringe and not accepted entirely by the scientific community. Nevertheless, it is one hypothesis that at least has some evidence to help with this apparent violation of the 1st law of thermodynamics.

A non-causal universe may just be natural after all, beginnings and endings are concepts and somewhat illusions. If we die, we will certainly lose our minds, but our bodies go back to where they came from. A star dies but then if it goes supernova, it’s not dead, it transforms into something else; elements, elements that eventually made us. So, it seems that this ongoing of transformation, birth, death, are a fundamental feature of the universe.

We acknowledge that the law may not even be broken in the first place, noted on the first page. Even if the law is not broken, we write this essay out of curiosity and to help us seriously ponder this.


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