Letter abstract


Nature Physics 3, 523 - 525 (2007)
Published online: 1 July 2007 | doi:10.1038/nphys654

Subject Categories: Astrophysics | Quantum physics

What happened before the Big Bang?

Martin Bojowald

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Was the Universe before the Big Bang of classical nature, described well by a smooth space–time? Or was it in a highly fluctuating quantum state? This is one of the most basic questions that we may ask once it is accepted that there was something before the Big Bang. Loop quantum gravity1, 2, 3 applied to isotropic models4 has shown that the quantum evolution of a wavefunction extends through the Big Bang5. Although a general demonstration is still lacking, this may suggest that calculations, and possibly future indirect observations, may allow us to see the Universe as it was before the Big Bang. Here, we analyse an explicit model with a pre-Big Bang era, indicating limitations that would imply that it is practically impossible to answer some of our questions. Assumptions (or prejudice) will remain necessary for knowing the precise state of the Universe, which cannot be fully justified within science itself.

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  1. Institute for Gravitational Physics and Geometry, The Pennsylvania State University, 104 Davey Laboratory, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802, USA

Correspondence to: Martin Bojowald e-mail: bojowald@gravity.psu.edu

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