If the big bang marked the beginning of our universe, then what existed before it? The four-part documentary series titled Before the Big Bang explores various theories which seek to explain this intriguing mystery.
We know that hundreds of billions of galaxies exist in our universe, but what are the odds that other universes existed previous to our own? Top cosmologists, astronomers and assorted scientists are working feverishly on developing these answers. Together, their individual breakthroughs represent crucial incremental steps in the search for expanding knowledge of our universe.
The first segment - Loop Quantum Cosmology - illustrates one such journey for greater understanding. By challenging and broadening the tenants of Einstein's Theory of General Relativity, scientists hope to gain greater insights into the interactions between subatomic particles. Also introduced in this segment is the notion of the multiverse, an infinite plane of interconnecting alternate universes including and beyond our own.
The second segment - titled Conformal Cyclic Cosmology - calls upon the work of Professor Sir Roger Penrose, an influential physicist whose theories regarding the pre-history of our universe have received garnered equal measures of acclaim and skepticism. Utilizing the Second Law of Thermodynamics, Penrose has questioned the non-existent role that gravity played in the big bang. Could this point to a prior universe?
One of the most recent approaches to explaining existence prior to the big bang is also one of the most popular - a hybrid of the fields of string theory and cosmology. Featuring interviews with acclaimed cosmologists David Wands, Dr. Ali Nayeri and others, this branch of research serves as the central topic of the documentary's third segment, String Theory Cosmology, and explores how this approach might be better suited to explain the relationships between particles, forces and structures in the universe prior to its widely accepted origin.
Eternal Inflation and the Multiverse is the title of the fourth segment. The focal point is the work done by Dr. Alan Guth, Professor of Physics at MIT and the founder of the inflationary theory.
Adorned with intensely intelligent interview subjects and appealing 3D animations, Before the Big Bang makes an admirable attempt at simplifying a series of complex scientific theories. Regardless, the layperson may still find the material challenging in its immense scope and density.