What Happened Before the Big Bang?

What Happened Before the Big Bang?

2010, Science  -   111 Comments
Ratings: 5.13/10 from 40 users.

What Happened Before the Big Bang?They are the biggest questions that science can possibly ask: where did everything in our universe come from? How did it all begin? For nearly a hundred years, we thought we had the answer: a big bang some 14 billion years ago.

But now some scientists believe that was not really the beginning. Our universe may have had a life before this violent moment of creation.

Horizon takes the ultimate trip into the unknown, to explore a dizzying world of cosmic bounces, rips and multiple universes, and finds out what happened before the big bang.

Neil Turok, Director of Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Canada, working with Paul Steinhardt at Princeton, has proposed a radical new answer to cosmology’s deepest question: What banged?

Answer: Instead of the universe inexplicably springing into existence from a mysterious initial singularity, the Big Bang was a collision between two universes like ours existing as parallel membranes floating in a higher-dimensional space that we’re not aware of.

One bang is followed by another, in a potentially endless series of cosmic cycles, each one spelling the end of a universe and the beginning of a new one. Not one bang, but many.

Sir Roger Penrose has changed his mind about the Big Bang. He now imagines an eternal cycle of expanding universes where matter becomes energy and back again in the birth of new universes and so on and so on.

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F McFuckerton
1 year ago

It still doesn’t answer the question

mike mathwig
7 years ago

never argue with a fool. those watching may start to wonder which one of you it is!
this goes for both sides of you guys.
kids these days. how they gonna act!

7 years ago

I have rarely read such an ungrammatical, misspelled, childish, narrow-minded and illogical pack of rubbish in one place in my life. A descent into idiocy.

8 years ago

There seems to be a rather large assumption here; that the Big Bang hypothesis is correct. This hypothesis was created by the monk Lemaitre to reconcile the observable universe with a creator.

It was embellished by Gamow (and others).

No one here, so far as I have read the comments, who mentions the much more likely hypothesis that the universe was always here and always will be.

I suggest that one looks at, for example, the Thunderbolts Project and discover that all 'activity' in the universe is a continuum of plasma (electro-magnetism).

Theories such as the Big Bang, rely on mathematics and fitting the territory to the map, not the other way around. Mathematics can not explain anything.

The more we use mathematics to explain in the inexplicable, the more we are led down a path that goes nowhere because it cannot be observed. Science should be observable not speculative.

Did billions of geld find the so-called 'God' particle? No.

Aaron Tribbett
9 years ago

The Big Bang from a single singularity sounds ridiculous if you ask me. There's no way the this entire universe came from a single...atom? molecule? I'm confused. But honestly, even if their are or were other dimensions, which I do believe exist...look even beyond that. Everything that is and was and will be came from a creator. This all doesn't come from matter or an evergy. The energy had to have been put there by something else. This is where mankind and science has become ignorant. It's all because of God. There is no other possible way. I'm not an active church freak, but I do believe there is a divine power that see things that we don't. I don't even know if we have the senses or comprehension to begin to understand where we came from even if it was told to us.

9 years ago

What caused the Big Bang? What triggered it? And do we have any idea what was going on prior the Big Bang? Yes, there is a new idea, the answer about what was going on prior to the Big Bang, why the Big Bang happened and what was the reason?

According to the new hypothesis, the geometric interpretation of the Lorentz’s radical says that the Big Bang happened in an incredible way. If the speed of light in the universe is maximal, a new hypothesis explains that the Big Bang is the cause of the collision of galaxies with the speed of light.

Many theories suggest that when the intergalactic speed reaches the speed of light, then the universe is maximally expanded. But a new hypothesis about the universe talks back. When we think that the universe is maximally expanded, it is actually maximally compressed, the galaxies are in a singular state and at this moment they collide with the speed of light. The Big Bang is a result of the collision of galaxies with the speed of light.

This is not mentioned in any theory of the Big Bang yet. This is an extraordinary idea with the proof.

Carlo Dante
9 years ago

I think the problem here, dealt with more or less straightforwardly by Hawking, is that before the big bang there was no space-time. Ergo, there was nothing to observe. Since science must observe to hypothesize and to collect data, this question cannot be answered in the domain of natural science.

10 years ago

there was no big bang its all a guess just because everyone watch neil degrass tyson now they believe him.god created the word unreal why do people believe in science its just a guess they dont no forsure .Same with the multi verse s*it space just goes on that it give it a rest

10 years ago

There are multiple universes. In fact, just last year, scientists found what is called a cold spot in one area of the universe that basically proves another universe is pushing up against this one. There unlimited universes yet one cannot physically travel out of this one and not only that, there are unlimited possibilities of a human life taking place in multiple universe as well as humans living out the entire possibilities of other humans. It doesn't end there or with just humans. That is just the start of what in this century will be a complex topic but in the 29th century, 200 years after the first time machine was created by a female scientist under a one global world, there is a war raging and not all of this planet yet it has to do with now and thousands of years before this moment. My book that comes out late year will explain it. As for a God, that comes down to personal opinions at this time. One can say there is no God/s yet provide zero proof. One can say there is a God/s and give some proof per here we are and cause and effect but still not prove a God in truth so both sides lose on that topic.

10 years ago

i'm not sure about these multiverses or whatever. but i do long to know what was beforee the big bang. i think about it a lot, trying to find the answer. how silly of me when the scientists can't even find the answer yet. o well.

11 years ago

The preceding discussion does not address the basis question which is "why does anything exist". The communication constraints (speed of light) on detecting intelligent life on other planets in our solar system may take thousands of years; figuring out why anything exists at all may not happen.

Daniel Shawen
11 years ago

One of Penrose's WMAP rings was formed by the "big bang", which was not so much a bang as a collapse (as in, the collapse giving rise to the formation of our black hole universe). The second ring is an echo of the same event reflected inward from an event horizon, the inner energy boundary between our black hole universe and what lies outside (a different dimension, with totally different (but similar) manifestations of space, time, matter, energy, and physical laws.

Even God (if there was one) could not possibly escape. But by all means, believe in your superstitions of a personal, ego- and God-centered creator of the universe.

11 years ago

if god is so powerful as to make a universe where is its tongue? too obscure to be a real god? the logic and numeracy in this universe all adds up except for its hide and seek creator.

Darcy Peal
11 years ago

The universe created itself.
MAN created GOD!

11 years ago

blocked. gay as hell.

11 years ago

In the beginning was the word. And the word was with God, and the word was GOD.

11 years ago

I don't have any sort of formal education in mathematics or physics, but the concept of something out of nothing at all doesn't sit right with me. I think a lot of things but then the frustration behind that is that I don't have the education to know whether or not I should even bother exploring an idea again. So in my opinion, me adding -why- I don't like certain things is probably just a waste of time.

Perhaps the beginning of our universe is beyond our comprehension as humans (or humans in our current state, who knows). Maybe it's so complex that finding out how our universe came about is only one facet of the diamond *shrugs*

But I do feel it satisfies something deep inside to at least contemplate and seek the truth of our origins, and is therefore a worthwhile endeavour. Why do we do anything?

Anyone else as/more curious about what happens at the end of our universe?

11 years ago

i know im only astronomy minor but how bout the big bang did happen but only in a series of unverses traveling arouond much as solar systems are traveling in our universe. and "our" big bang dissolved time and space and it for lack of a better word started over again in the area of our big bang. so time and space have been going on in a series of universes for a longer period of time. but then again these cluster of universes might come together at some point and create a mega big bang of all these different universes only to realize that there is another series of massive multiverses and there is a chain of that that goesforever

12 years ago

Time is the only key to understand the universe past, present, and future.

12 years ago

Don't you just love science! :)

12 years ago

Since science is only concerned with making observations of natural phenomena in real time, gathering material evidence accordingly and then designing experimental protocols to form hypotheses and conclusions---how can anyone who understands the self-limiting constraints of science reasonably expect science to answer even one single question before space-time and matter-energy began? To even ask it to do so, sets up an impossible paradox... like dividing by zero. It cannot be done without producing nonsensical science and broken down mathematics. This is the domain of metaphysics and its role is properly assigned to the experience of religious understanding, philosophical contemplation and private conclusion. What is so difficult about this distinction for Bible fundamentalists to grasp? Even the Roman Catholic Church concedes this as well as most main stream Protestant denominations. But every 25 years this Hydra-headed beast of ignorance and hubris raises its stubborn heads and starts hissing about things it doesn't even understand correctly. Jeez. If there was a retributive God of the Heavens, He would smite these knuckleheads mute for holding up the growing knowledge of His very own creative impulse.

12 years ago

isn't mathematics the most precise science?

12 years ago

What kind of toy they are all playing with? Looks interesting ;)

12 years ago

I believe everything is infinitely small and infinitely large in all directions and no matter how hard man wraps his brain around the beginning or the end of anything, it's impossible for us to understand.

I guess I believe everything is a fractal and we're just a minute piece of nothing and everything at the same time!


12 years ago

i agree with dutch..since i was like 9 whenever i heard about 'the big bang' I thought well it would make sense that something came before that. This is exactly 1 one reason why the zeitgeist's 'resource based economy' is a great idea for the progression of human knowledge. More opportunity for education and more scientists. Limited scientists only = limited ideas.

12 years ago

cant believe we invest money in trying to figure this out it cant be done, these theories are crazy

12 years ago

Friging science is always playing catch up with common sense, I have lost count of the time's i've said "Oh really...i thought that was common sense...you only just figured it out? wow congratz, now write scientific paper telling me what i've known since i was a kid".

its like having a conversation with a 2 year old which believe's they have a invisible friend....you just got to acept it and wait for them to grow up and get some common sense.

12 years ago

how about the proposal that sh it just is men?

12 years ago

tree starts from a seed

what happened before the seed

12 years ago

we wont be able to grasp it..with our linear mindset.

12 years ago

Wouldn't it make more sense that there always was and never wasn't. Rather than a big bang creating existence, just evolution of existence in the form of a bang (and retraction). Ff that's the way it works then wouldn't it also make sense the the universe(s) exist(s) as a wave constantly expanding and retracting going through different frequencies of the electrospectrum whether through wormholes or whichever means, which cause these multiple dimensions or universes on different frequencies. Big expansion and big retraction infinitely(?) cycling through different frequencies. Just a simple guys thought anyway, it doesn't make perfect sense but it's an idea worth looking into in my opinion anyway.

12 years ago

There was some interesting stuff, but the documentary felt pretty half-assed.

"Hey, how many shots of smart people playing with a puzzle can we get in here?"

His Forever
12 years ago

They didn't even mention Stephen Hawkings at all did they? Anyway, until God allows a scientist (or perhaps a theologen) to gain the insight needed into the creation of the universe, and the mathmatics to prove it, I think it will remain an unsolvable mystery.

12 years ago

They don't really explain what happened at and before the big bang (birth of our universe as we know it)...they just have have an idea an they try to tweak the mathematics until it fits their theory...the only difference between them and other people who think of the universe is that they could transform their thoughts into mathematics...but their basic ideas are very simple and I'm sure that many nonscientist thought of those ideas maybe even greater ones!

12 years ago

Does anyone know how to imporve the viewing stream ? Lately, every time I try to watch something, I get the frequent pause and re-start - Which of course is so annoying ! Is it my computer and internet connection ? Or is there an easy fix ? Thanks !

12 years ago

I think not only is big bang theory poppycock for many reasons but that m-theory is a poor candidate with many flaws aswell for many of the same reasons and some others.

12 years ago

According to "Stephen Hawking" on his book "The grand design"
"M-theory is the most general supersymmetric theory of gravity. For these reasons M-theory is the only candidate for the complete theory of the universe."

And the universe can create itself out of nothing! Gives good argument in his book about spontaneous creation.

Don't want to quote his whole book, so if anyone is interested, get the book.

Also another good read is theoretical physicist Julian Barbour, "The end of time" Re: time is an illusion.

12 years ago

Refer the Dasamahavidyas!

12 years ago

No question this is one of the better science documentaries. No prejudgment; several perspectives given equal and uneditorialized voice.

12 years ago

Nothing different from what the Hindu's in India believe!

12 years ago

Old and tired doc. String Theory is 30+ years old with no proof so far. Multi-verses? Michio Kaku once said, "This even affects morals. I mean, why should I obey the law knowing that in some universe, if I comit a crime I'm gonna get away with it." I'll be glad to send him a card in prison. Their speculations are more meta-physics than science. Theoretical physics ia turning into pure math. Which implies that if you don't understand the math, you don't understand reality. Max Tegmark from MIT actually said that, "The universe is, in reality, pure mathematics." Yes, there are dozens of competing theories. That, in itself, shows that something is very wrong with even the fundamentals.

12 years ago

Theories abound... "There is a theory which states that if ever anybody discovers exactly what the universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory this has already happened."

12 years ago


Sieben Stern
12 years ago

oh, man loved it! 8D

12 years ago

look up Thomas Cambell and watch his lectures on youtube if your interested in this

12 years ago

Physisists at CERN hope to use the LHC to "recreate" the conditions at the point of the big bang. I've seen many docu's concerning this subject, and one theory I've yet to see put forth is this: If the big bang can be "recreated" by COLLIDING particles, then it seems, a similar collision of two objects also created the real big bang. Only these objects were on such a massive scale, it defies our small perseption. Perhaps the big bang is actually the big smash. If this is true, then the size of these theoretical objects would only be surpassed by their distance from eachother, otherwise, we'd be able to see one. Or perhaps they are dark matter.

12 years ago

Nice doc.

12 years ago

plenty to ponder, another really good thought provoking horizon program.
thanks for posting vladko.