Thursday, March 16, 2006

Sir Roger Penrose, in person

I had the honour last night of attending a lecture given by Sir Roger Penrose. The topic was what happened before the big bang. He has some pretty "crazy" ideas, and as he said, you have to be crazy to come up with theories in cosmology.

One quote that I enjoyed is: "Orbit ... a safer way to fall."

Other than that, I didn't understand much but the most basic stuff. The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics is taken as true, and thus at the big bang, things must have been very organized. But, the cosmic microwave background matches the blackbody radiation spectrum at 2.7 K, so matter must have been in thermal equilibrium at the time. Since matter was disordered, the low entropy of the big bang must have come from the constraints of space-time itself.

His pre-big-bang ideas deal with the universe expanding to infinity after all of the matter changes to energy, thus seeding the next big bang. Nothing survives, except gravity waves, which cause the non-uniformity in the matter and energy of the new iteration of the universe.

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