The Big Bang Essay

1480 words - 6 pages

Imagine nothing. Try to perceive a time before time in which neither light nor darkness, neither mass nor matter existed. According to Big Bang theory, this was the way everything was (or wasn’t, technically) before the one critical moment that began time and begat our universe. Originally developed by Georges Lemaître, a physicist and Roman Catholic priest, the Big Bang theory is currently the leading scientific explanation for how existence itself came to exist. The main idea of this theory is that approximately 13.7 billion years ago, an infinitely small, hot, dense singularity spontaneously appeared in that empty nothing. It then expanded at an inconceivably rapid rate and, over time, ...view middle of the document...

About .001 seconds after the beginning of the expansion, a sea of protons, neutrons, and sundry subatomic particles ruled the recently created universe. Due to the massive amount of heat and energy involved, these particles began colliding together with incredible force, sparking fusion reactions in which the first nuclei of the lighter elements began appearing, such as hydrogen and helium, with a few instances of elements like lithium and beryllium. This process took place over the course of about three minutes, after which the average heat of the vacuum of space was too little to sustain such reactions. Though the nuclei were formed and ready for action after this period, they did not officially become atoms and elements until 400 thousand years later, and even then only hydrogen and similarly light elements could form. Heavier elements did not begin forming until the first stars did, which was about 100 million years or more after the initial “bang.” All of the built up energy and heat from the original reaction that did not go into forming anything has dissipated, spreading evenly throughout space. The universe has since continued expanding, cooling, and shaping itself into what we can see today (NASA; Levin)

For any good theory to maintain its credibility, it requires a certain amount of proof to support it sufficiently, and the Big Bang seems to have plenty of it. One of the main supports of Big Bang theory is the over-abundance of light elements and miniscule amount of heavier elements by comparison. As briefly referenced above and according to the theory, the vast majority of particles did not fuse more than once or twice before ceasing reaction altogether (Frank). The fact that the Big Bang is able to account for this gross inequality in particle distribution and is able to do it well makes the theory more plausible and opens itself to greater acceptance by the scientific community. Other commonly cited evidence for the theory regards the expansion of the universe. Much of what we know about the expanding universe can be traced back to Edwin Hubble and the scientific law that bears his name. According to Hubble’s observations of redshifting light – light that shifts to the red side of the electromagnetic spectrum, in this case due to movement away from the point of reference – from other galaxies, everything in the universe is expanding uniformly away from everything else. This indicates that everything in the universe must have once been much closer together, which supports the idea of an occurrence similar to the Bang, if not the theory of the Bang itself. Another slightly related experiment involved a satellite called the Cosmic Background Explorer, or COBE. This satellite was used to measure various things, though the most notable is likely the cosmic microwave background radiation of the universe: i.e. the general background radiation and heat remaining from the Big Bang. Results showed that the temperature was...

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