Discussing the Big Bang in terms of time, as we typically understand time, is difficult. It will not do any good to look at your watch or think in small fractions of a second. Stop-motion photography will not work this time. Those times are infinitely large compared to Planck time (~ 10-43 seconds, which is a one divided by a one with forty-three zero after it). Theoretically, Planck time is the smallest timeframe we will ever be able to measure. So far, we have not even come close to measuring Planck time. The best measurement of time to date is of the order 10-18 seconds.

What is so significant about Planck time? The fundamental constants of the universe formulate Planck time, not arbitrary units. According to the laws of physics, we would be unable to measure “change” if the time interval were shorter that Planck time. In other words, Planck time is the shortest interval we humans are able to measure, or even comprehend change to occur. Scientifically, it can be argued that no time interval is shorter that Planck time. Thus, the most rapid change can only occur in concert with Planck time, and no faster. Therefore, when we discuss the initiation of the Big Bang, the smallest time interval we can consider is Planck time.

The whole notion of Planck time, and its relationship to the Big Bang, begs another question. Did time always exist? Most physicists say NO. Time requires energy changes, and that did not occur until the instant of the Big Bang. Stephen Hawking, one of the world’s most prominent physicists and cosmologists, is on record that he believes time started with the Big Bang. Dr. Hawking asserts that if there was a time before the Big Bang, we have no way to access the information. However, an argument can be made that time pre-dates the Big Bang. How is this possible?

If we consider the Big Bang is the result of a quantum fluctuation in the Bulk, energy changes are occurring in the Bulk. This implies time exists in the Bulk and pre-dates the Big Bang. This begs the question: is there any evidence of a Bulk and other universes? A growing number of scientists say YES. They cite evidence that our universe bumped into other universes in the distant past. What is the evidence? They cite unusual ring patterns on the cosmic microwave background. The cosmic microwave background is leftover radiation from the Big Bang, and is the most-distant thing we can see in the universe. It is remarkably uniform, with the exception of the unusual ring patterns. Scientists attribute the ring patterns to bumps from other universes. Two articles discuss this finding.

  • First evidence of other universes that exist alongside our own after scientists spot “cosmic bruises,” by Niall Firth, December 17, 2010 (http://www.dailymail.co.uk).
  • Is Our Universe Inside a Bubble? First Observational Test of the “Multiverse.” ScienceDaily.com, August 3, 2011.

Obviously, this is controversial, and even the scientist involved caution the results are initial findings, not proof. It is still intriguing, and lends fuel to the concept of there being other universes. This would suggest time, in the cosmic sense, transcends the Big Bang. As impossible as it would seem to prove other universes, science has founds ways of proving similar scientific mysteries. The prominent physicist, Michio Kaku, said it best in Voices of Truth (Nina L. Diamond, 2000), “A hundred years ago, Auguste Compte, … a great philosopher, said that humans will never be able to visit the stars, that we will never know what stars are made out of, that that’s the one thing that science will never ever understand, because they’re so far away. And then, just a few years later, scientists took starlight, ran it through a prism, looked at the rainbow coming from the starlight, and said: ‘Hydrogen!’ Just a few years after this very rational, very reasonable, very scientific prediction was made, that we’ll never know what stars are made of.” This argues that what seems impossible to prove today might be a scientific fact tomorrow.

A theoretical case argues that cosmic time in the Bulk pre-dated the Big Bang. Eventually we may be able to prove it. It is reasonable to believe time for our universe started with the Big Bang. This is our reality. This is consistent with Occam’s razor, which states the simplest explanation is the most plausible one (until new data to the contrary is available). For our universe, the Big Bang started the clock ticking, with the smallest tick being Planck time.

We are finally in a position to answer the two crucial questions. First, what made the big bang go bang? Second, how long did the infinitely dense energy point exist before it went bang?

Why did the Big Bang go bang?

The Big Bang followed the Minimum Energy Principle, “Energy in any form seeks stability at the lowest energy state possible, and will not transition to a new state unless acted on by another energy source.” The infinitely dense energy point, which science terms a “singularity,” sought stability at the lowest energy state possible. If it was “duality,” as argued in Chapter 2, the collision of the infinitely energy-dense matter and antimatter particles would represent the unstable infinitely energy-dense state. Therefore, the arguments presented apply equally to a “singularity” or “duality.” Being infinitely energy-dense, implies instability and minimum entropy (ground-state entropy). Thus, it required dilution to become stable, which caused entropy to increase. The dilution came in the form of the “Big Bang.” Since we were dealing with an unstable infinitely energy-dense point, the Big Bang went bang at the instant of existence. The instant of existence would correlate to the smallest time interval science can conceive, the Planck time. This process is continuing today as space continues its accelerated expansion.

This gives us a reasonable explanation of why the Big Bang went bang. It argues that it went “bang” at the exact instant it came to exist.

This post is based on my book, Unraveling the Universe’s Mysteries (2012), available from Amazon.