No Big Bang?

It hasn't been a good month for the Big Bang Theory.  First, a much-ballyhooed interpretation of data that was supposed, in March of this year, to demonstrate left-over gravity waves from the primordial explosion now turns out to have been premature.  Now, a respectable mathematician claims to have demonstrated that the usual explanation for the formation of a black hole is internally inconsistent, thus potentially calling into question another assumption critical to standard Big Bang mechanisms.

It's not at all clear I'll live long enough to see results from the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA), whose "projected" 2034 launch date can't inspire much confidence, but that's the sort of detection device that may be needed before we can clarify the business of whether gravity waves can be detected and, if so, what they show about events almost impossibly distant in space and time.  Work proceeds apace, but the project presents some staggering challenges.  For one thing, the interferometer array is intended to follow a trailing-Earth solar orbit, which means it will be seriously out there, and not amenable to casual repair like the Hubble telescope.

As for black holes and "Hawking radiation," I've never known what to think; it's another area in which I'm curious whether things will get cleared up in my lifetime.  By "cleared up," of course, I mean nailed down to the point where the explanations can penetrate even to laymen such as myself.  In the meantime, the events of this month are generating spirited discussions about the human temptation to cling to elegant theories when, as one commenter put it, sometimes Nature makes us erase the blackboard.


Ymar Sakar said...

They'd have to actually go into a black hole or make one.

As of yet, there's no solid proof, just math and theory.

Sort of like global warming computer simulations.

If Evolution could actually create a new species or if global warming could actually terraform or unterraform a planet, the scientists would have a lot more credibility in this universe.

Newton and Ohm's law(s) are convenient because the normal person can actually test that stuff or create situations that use the rules.

james said...

Still going over the papers. I'll let you know if I understand them well enough to comment about the black-hole-bounce. So far not so good--I'm too rusty.

Texan99 said...

I was hoping you'd take this on!

james said...

My first impression is that there was some kind of mixup about reference frames. What a black hole looks like depends on where you are: falling into it--looks like nothing much, but from far away it looks like what you think of when you think of a black hole. Time gets very funny too.
In other words, I was thinking that she was mixing up the infinitely far reference frame with the reference frame seen by the edge of the star as it collapses. I'm not expert enough on Hawking radiation to calculate whether her description is wrong, but it doesn't match others. If I assumed it were correct, then my first guess was that the timeline for an infalling bit of star might see something like what she described, but an outside observer would see all this happen more and more slowly--effectively stopped, since a classic stellar size black hole radiates so slowly that you can't tell.

However, another blogger (a string theorist) considers the work junk from start to finish, and pointed out that the author was claiming to see patterns in the Cosmic Microwave Background that she interpreted as other universes in the multiverse interacting with ours. This latter detail doesn't inspire me with confidence in her work.

Texan99 said...

I've read that she's a strong proponent of the multiverse, for what that's worth.

james said...

I think the multiverse is a large pile of hooey myself, but if it helps you do calculations, fine. But when someone starts saying that one universe in the multiverse starts interacting with others via some utterly unknown mechanism, to make minor impressions on a Rorschach CMB pattern, I go into "Back away slowly" mode.