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Most everybody is familiar with the Big Bang—the notion that an impossibly hot, dense universe exploded into the one we know today. But what do we know about what came before?
In the quest to resolve several puzzles discovered in the initial condition of the Big Bang, scientists have developed a number of theories to describe the primordial universe, the most successful of which—known as cosmic inflation—describes how the universe dramatically expanded in size in a fleeting fraction of a second right before the Big Bang.
Theory - Controversies - Debates - Years
But as successful as the inflationary theory has been, controversies have led to active debates over the years.
Some researchers have developed very different theories to explain the same experimental results that have supported the inflationary theory so far. In some of these theories, the primordial universe was contracting instead of expanding, and the Big Bang was thus a part of a Big Bounce.
Avi - Loeb - Frank - B - Baird
Some researchers—including Avi Loeb, the Frank B. Baird, Jr. Professor of Science and chair of the Astronomy Department—have raised concerns about the theory, suggesting that its seemingly endless adaptability makes it all but impossible to test.
"The current situation for inflation is that it's such a flexible idea … it cannot be falsified experimentally," Loeb said. "No matter what result of the observable people set out to measure would turn out to be, there are always some models of inflation that can explain it." Therefore, experiments can only help to nail down some model details within the framework of the inflationary theory, but cannot test the validity of the framework itself. However, falsifiability should be a hallmark of any scientific theory.
Xingang - Chen
That's where Xingang Chen comes in.
A senior lecturer in astronomy, Chen and his collaborators for many years have been developing the idea of using something he called a "primordial standard clock" as a probe of...
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"However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?" Luke 18:8