2014 Yetadel Lecture

Monday, Apr 21, 2014
4:00 pm
Location: Steward Observatory
Room: N210

Sir Roger Penrose
Emeritus Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics
University of Oxford

Seeing Signals from Before our Big Bang?
Current cosmology presents the following picture: the origin of the entire universe was a vast explosion known as the "Big Bang", immediately followed by a brief period of exponential expansion called "inflation"; after this was a more sedate expansion which continued nearly until our current epoch, but now a second phase of exponential expansion, driven by "dark energy" is taking over.

In this talk I present a modified extension this picture whereby the universe consists of an infinite succession of "aeons", each of which started with its own "big bang" and ultimately continued to an exponential expansion to infinity - so our own Big Bang was not actually the ultimate beginning, but was the continuation of a previous aeon. Instead of having an inflationary phase, each aeon's ultimate exponential expansion plays a role that appears like inflation in the next.

I shall endeavour to explain how this confusing picture actually makes good geometrical and physical sense. Moreover, we see how signals can even pass through from one aeon to the next providing observational effects, some of which we do appear to be actually seeing, coming from an aeon preceding our own.

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