Stephen Hawking has been the Albert Einstein of our time. He became recognized as a prominent physicist who popularized the mysteries of the universe. But his thinking resulted, unlike the thoughts of Einstein, neither in mass destruction weapons nor in any products used in our daily life. And the universe seems more mysterious now at his death than when Einstein died. While another such superstar in science is highly unlikely, perhaps instead a skunkworks project team will in near-future get fame from pioneering research at those frontiers on which some light is shed in the following lines.
Many physicists believe, like Hawking and Einstein, in the possibility of explaining all the physical forces by means of “a theory of everything”. Considered the holy grail of physics, it would be something to celebrate like the first steps in 1953 on the highest peak of Mount Everest and in 1969 on the surface of the Moon. However, the Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg has expressed a common opinion of the leading authorities: “The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless”. Einstein had to abandon a static model of the universe and Hawking abandoned a dynamic model with a nice symmetry for an oscillation back and forwards in time. Presently, a pointless universe is proposed as existing either in an infinite series as described by Roger Penrose. Paul Steinhardt and others or in a multiverse as described by Andrei Linde. While time has been described as an illusion in line with the view that the universe seems pointless, a wave interpretation of its flow makes everything less mysterious. Physicists describe elementary charges as having infinite existence if left alone and the same goes for photons. A continuous-wave model is applicable on both these elementary particles so why not try it also on corresponding yet to be discovered elementary particles of gravity? Could that open a door to make all the physical forces described by a unified field theory as sought in vain by Einstein and others? I showed some years ago in an article entitled Beyond Higgs how to motivate an extended use of the Einstein-Planck equation so as to develop a wave theory of time, WTT. It offers a key to interpret the nature of dark matter and of the huge difference in strength between electromagnetic forces and gravitation. And it makes the so-called big number coincidences derivable instead of “explained” by anthropic reasoning. Like a ring, Einstein’s static model of the universe was limited but endless and definitively not pointless. A rolling ring can be used to describe a continuous wave (CW) that is sinusoidal and that will in the following lines be used to do what has been said to be impossible, namely to describe time itself. In a most simple CW model of a cosmic flow of time tc, a small measure of time dtc varies with regard to a reference measure of time dtr as expressed by the equation dtc/dtr = sin (2π tc/T) where T is the wave period and dtr is equal to the positive peak value of dtc. If the cosmic expansion with time is chosen to be described by means of a reference flow of time tr as represented by atomic clocks, it shows the positive acceleration expressed by the estimated value of Einstein’s cosmological constant Lambda used today for describing the apparent accelerated expansion of space. That acceleration is predicted by the equality between the ratio dtc/dtr and, as derived from the sine wave function above, the ratio between 2 and the sum of exp(2π tr/T) and exp -(2π tr/T). The cosmic expansion is conceivable, however, without any atom clocks generating the reference time tr. In order to interpret the intrinsic nature of the cosmic expansion, it is, therefore, logical to apply the cosmic flow of time tc instead of the reference time tr making the positive acceleration an illusion and the physical existence of a force counteracting gravity and represented by Lambda simply an unnecessary assumption. Einstein described the gravitational force as curved spacetime. WTT interprets that curvature as due to the CW nature of time where the period T is in the order of 10 exp 20 seconds in the context of a yet to be discovered elementary particle of gravity and 10 exp -20 seconds in the context of the elementary charge controlling the atomic clocks. In a more developed version of WTT, the two-dimensional CW model of time tc becomes a three-dimensional CW model related to the Everett many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics asserting the objective reality of the universal wavefunction and challenging the view that the universe is pointless.
Stephen Hawking passed away on March 14th which is dubbed as Pi Day and that happens to be Albert Einstein’s birthday. The International Mathematical Union had recently proposed it to be declared by Unesco as the International Day of Mathematics.
Hawking was born on January 8th, 1942. It happened to be the date of the 300th anniversary of Galileo’s death. Following the footsteps of another genius – Sir Isaac Newton – the chair of Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge in England has been held by him. He was offered to be knighted and granted the title of “Sir” but declined the honor. Hawking became a winner of many prizes, among them the 2013 Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics set up 2012 to be the most lucrative prize ever established in science, and the Crafoord Prize, astronomy’s equivalent to of the Nobel prize that he did not receive.
Like Ludwig Boltzmann, Hawking wished a tombstone adorned with his most famous equation. In combination with Boltzmann’s constant k, Einstein’s speed of light c, Planck’s constant h, and Newton’s gravitation constant G, it connects the black hole entropy S to the surface area A of the black hole event horizon. This equation between these fundamental quantities in physics is a fine example of mathematical beauty. The supreme example is Euler’s equation between the most fundamental numbers in mathematics: Euler’s number e, pi, and the imaginary unit i.
In Hawking’s famous book A Brief History of Time, he admitted having made a big mistake like Einstein who claimed that the biggest mistake of his life was to introduce the cosmological constant. Hawking’s idea was at first that the universe oscillated with a nice symmetry between expanding and contracting phases. He applied a cosmological model in which the contracting phase looked like the time reverse of the expanding phase. However, his colleagues proved soon to him that disorder would continue to increase during the contraction. Perhaps the last word is not said in this matter. His idea of oscillation with a nice symmetry is – like Einstein’s cosmological constant – worth a second chance in a new cosmological model. Hawking was optimistic: “All we need to do is make sure we keep talking… My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all.”
As a young man thinking about marriage, Hawking was told that he could expect to die in less than five years. All kinds of support and a strong will added more than fifty fruitful years to his life. Considered by many to be the Einstein of our time, a speech synthesizer and a wheel-chair contributed to making him known to the millions.
Hawking leaves three children and two remarried ex-wives. During his funeral on March 31st, I have been writing these lines inspired by the view of Stockholm’s Observatory Hill in front of which I have lived and worked since 1985. To the left, the human curiosity is represented by the Old Observatory built 1753, and to the right, a sculpture erected 1939 shows the centaur Chiron raising himself from the ground. Today, it symbolizes in my eyes the triumph of mind over matter and the now buried man’s outstanding life.
The topic of this article has interested many thinkers. One of them is the world renowned emeritus professor Stephen Hawking at Cambridge University who claims that the concept of time has no meaning before the beginning of the universe. He states that to ask what existed before the Big Bang is like asking what is South of the South Pole and that the universe has created itself as a one-shot product of quantum fluctuations. According to him, there was nothing before the big bang. However, Sir Roger Penrose, emeritus professor at the University of Oxford, winner of the Copley Medal and the Wolf Prize in Physics which he shared with Stephen Hawking, believes that the Big Bang is one of perhaps an endless succession of Big Bang events where quantum fluctuations in the remote future of a previous cosmic aeon has produced the Big Bang of our aeon.
Along with professor Vahe Gurzadyan of the Yerevan State University in Armenia, Penrose states that images of cosmic microwave background radiation received from NASA show imprints that are older than the Big Bang. According to the new theory of “conformal cyclic cosmology” described in his book Cycles of Time, black holes will eventually consume all the matter in the universe. When they have finished, all that will be left in the universe is energy which will trigger the next Big Bang and the new aeon.
Anyway, Big Bang is merely a name for a theory that describes but does not explain the cosmic expansion, like Dark Energy is a name for a theory describing but not explaining the apparent acceleration of the same expansion. Sir Fred Hoyle coined the term “Big Bang” to ridiculate the idea of a sudden beginning for the universe. He developed a theory of such a continuous creation that the density of matter in the expanding universe remains unchanged. While his “steady state theory” is now abandoned, the present Dark Energy hypotheses build on ideas of continuous creation and of unchanged density. Another version of a steady state theory is proposed by C. J. Masreliez at EST Foundation. According to him, time has no beginning and progresses in discrete increments of the expanding spacetime.
An eternal succession of discrete increments of time as proposed by Masreliez or of Big Bang events as proposed by Penrose represents thinking of time as moving only in one direction. It makes me remember the endless sequence of turtles in an old story incorporated in Hawking’s book A Brief History of Time: A well-known scientist (some say it was Bertrand Russell) once gave a public lecture on astronomy. He described how the earth orbits around the sun and how the sun, in turn, orbits around the center of a vast collection of stars called our galaxy. At the end of the lecture, a little old lady at the back of the room got up and said: “What you have told us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise.” The scientist gave a superior smile before replying, “What is the tortoise standing on?” “You’re very clever, young man, very clever,” said the old lady. “But it’s turtles all the way down!”
Global sustainability seems to depend on whether we move fast enough from linear to circular thinking. A sustainable model of the universe should be circular as in The Wave Theory of Time (WTT). Predicting the apparent acceleration of the cosmic expansion, WTT was proposed by me for publication in Nature before that discovery in 1998 but became first published by the Swedish Mathematical Society in the autumn of The International Year of Astronomy 2009. It describes the beginning of the cosmic expansion as merely a zero-crossing point in a continuous wave of time. The Planck-Einstein equation is assumed to connect a very low-frequency continuous wave to the rest mass of an elementary particle for gravitation and the rest mass of the elementary charge to a very high-frequency continuous wave. It is the huge ratio between these frequencies that determines the difference in strength between gravity and the electromagnetic force.
Hawking proposed once that the flow of time changes direction at a future peak of the cosmic expansion. He regretted that proposal later and called it a big blunder. According to WTT, time flows in opposite directions for subsequent half periods of the above-mentioned continuous waves. Our present direction of time is positive by definition so before the Big Bang existed “Negative Time”. That is my short answer!
The Swedish Mathematical Society published in May 2017 an article with equations found in the above-mentioned text published in 2009. The following lines are an extract of that article translated into English with reference made to the graph below. They describe the WTT circular model of the universe and of time flowing in alternating directions.
It is a generally accepted view that about 14 thousand million years ago the universe had a start 1 of expansion called the Big Bang, that the expansion is related to a variation in the metric of space and has started from nothing, and that this expansion has a positive acceleration at the present point of time 2 as shown by the graph rotated 90 degrees clockwise. Some scientists predict a prolonged phase of accelerated expansion 3 until all the elements of the universe break apart. Other scientists propose that quite soon the positive acceleration could cease and turn negative resulting in a phase of contraction 4.
The expansion and contraction phases 3 and 4 are marked with arrows between which a mathematical model is shown. The model describes the shift from positive to negative acceleration by means of exponential expressions using the natural base e raised to the power of x and to the power of -x. The contraction results in an end 5 as shown by the graph rotated another 90 degrees clockwise. A hasty interpretation would be that the birth of the universe in the Big Bang is followed by its death with everything disappearing in a Big Crunch.
It is a fact, however, that the above-mentioned mathematical model is derivable from a most fundamental mathematical model of repetitive phenomena, namely the sine wave model. Rotating the graph another 90 degrees clockwise, the shape of the sine wave is shown by the dashed line. If the variation in the metric of space is expressed as a ratio between a measure dtc of cosmic time tc and a measure dtr of reference time tr where dtr is proportional to the second defined by atomic reference clocks and dtc is proportional to the metric of space as determined by the constant speed c of light, then the equation dtc/dtr = sin (2π tc/T) makes x in the above-mentioned exponential expressions equal to 2π tr/T where T is the repetition period of the sine wave.
In the graph, the end 5 is followed by a new start in a phase that is shifted 180 degrees with respect to the start 1 and that results in new expansion and contraction phases. The two mathematical models have a common peak 6. According to the equation above, the measure dtc alternates between positive and negative values so the cosmic time tc flows in alternating directions inside the dashed line. Curved spacetime describes gravitation and the primary cause behind the curvature can be interpreted by describing simply the cosmic time tc as flowing in a closed loop. Its repetition period T determines the mass of omnipresent elementary particles of gravitation which provide an interpretation of Dark Matter. As to the positive acceleration in the expansion of space, it is here derived from the sine wave model without any assumption of Dark Energy as dominating in the universe and causing a stronger force than gravitation. That assumption can one day be viewed as the cause of the greatest bubble in the history of science.
A more detailed answer than given above to the question in the headline is that there were Dark Matter and Negative Time before the Big Bang.