Wednesday, April 20, 2005


Is the "Big Bang" just so much hot air?

An atom-smashing fireball experiment has physicists puzzling over existing theories about the moments after the "Big Bang" that scientists say created the universe. Researchers conducted the experiment over the past three years at the Energy Department's Brookhaven National Laboratory in Long Island, New York.

Thousands of collisions of gold atoms took place in the laboratory's Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider facility. The goal was to create a charged gas that was more than 1 trillion degrees, up to 150,000 times hotter than the sun's core. This was the climate scientists believe followed the Big Bang.

Instead, the collisions created pinprick-size fireballs with matter that behaved like a high-temperature liquid, rather than a gas, for its infinitesimally brief existence, the team reported Monday.

"It's a big puzzle and a big surprise," Brookhaven's Dmitri Kharzeev says. The results were reported at the American Physical Society meeting in Tampa and are scheduled for publication in the journal Nuclear Physics A.

Read between the lines here, folks. What is not being said is that IF the experimental model is valid – and that’s a big IF – then the universe did not come about in the way that science has assured us for years is the case. No superheated expanding gas cloud. In other words, the “Big Bang”, which we have been assured explains the formation of the universe, didn’t happen the way scientists have described it…if it happened at all. The experimental results are at odds with previous research, and theoretically constructed models of the formation of the universe:

Their earlier findings suggested that the atomic collisions created a primordial concoction known as "quark-gluon" plasma. But rather than behaving like a charged gas, or plasma, and moving about on independent paths, subatomic particles inside the collisions moved collectively in response to pressure variations, like liquids.

Trying to duplicate the moments that followed the Big Bang, the scientists used the high-powered collisions between heavy gold atoms to separate quarks and gluons from their proton and neutron containers. The scientists expected them to mingle as a continuous, charged gas, but that does not appear to have happened.

Instead, the team is left with an intriguing discovery that they say will affect how physicists consider the first moments of the Big Bang. Kharzeev said physicists are still pondering how the early universe really developed if matter behaved as a liquid rather than a gas.

In other words, the scientific explanation for the formation of the universe – big bang, plasma, gas cloud, gradual formation of solid particles – is wrong on virtually all the details. Which leaves one to ponder, is that theory right about anything?

There has been a disturbing trend, as America has pushed toward a European-style “secular only” public face, to place “science” on a pedestal, and accept as scientifically established fact any theory which has gained wide acceptance. “Global Warming” is one of these theories. The Big Bang is another. When I was a kid, it was always referred to as “the Big Bang theory”. Somewhere over the course of the years, the “theory” got dropped and the “Big Bang” became the “official true version of the formation of the universe.”

So now we have an experiment, intended to validate and elucidate the “Big Bang Theory”, which instead seems to indicate that the theory has serious flaws. Hey, can we get a refund on those new textbooks we just ordered for our school district?

But it’s not always a bad thing for scientists to be wrong. Prior to the collider experiments dire warnings had been issued about the potential theoretical results:

A few observers had expressed fears that the colliding atoms would create miniature versions of collapsed stars — tiny black holes that would consume Long Island, says Brookhaven's Sam Aronson. "But it's pretty clear that didn't happen."

WHEW! I'm relieved that these guys did not in fact create tiny black holes and that Long Island was not consumed. Now, if they could create a tiny black hole that would swallow up Pittsburgh, they would be on to something.

(The title to this post links to the original news article.)

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