The Big Bang Theory – the scientific theory not the television comedy – is beginning to seem a bit creaky. For some time now there has been entertaining hand waving to explain how the universe expanded much faster than the speed of light, but nothing else can travel so fast. Some say the universe is still expanding faster than the speed of light. Then there is the large scale structure of the universe. There shouldn’t be any. The dispersion from an explosion should be random and lacking in organization.
Now there is more. When I was studying cosmology there was a debate. The expansion of the universe was slowing. People such as Stephen Hawking debated whether the universe was massive enough to stop the expansion and reverse into a Big Crunch. People were arguing these two choices.
Now we are told that the expansion of the universe is not decelerating but accelerating. This acceleration is tagged Dark Energy. Roger Penrose says the one thing we know about Dark Energy is that it is not energy. By E=mc2 energy should have mass and slow the expansion of the Big Bang.
But there were alternative theories. The Big Bang won the contest before the creakiness was discovered. I just keep remembering that Fred Hoyle and the Steady-State folks predicted an acceleration pushing Galaxies away from each other. A negative gravity if you will.
The idea was that virtual particles arising out of the quantum froth or vanishing back into it would have a gravitational effect. In places were there is much matter there would be more vanishings than appearances. Particles cannot vanish where they do not exist When a particle vanished there would be an effect we call gravity. . And in places were there are no particles they could only appear with an effect of negative gravity. The empty cells between super-clusters would be an ideal place for such a phenomenon. Negative Gravity would seem a candidate for Dark Energy.
This would seem silly moonshine to me. But:
Fred Hoyle and the Steady-State people were bright and accomplished.
Between Inflation, Dark Energy, and large scale structure the Big Bang is looking creaky.
A prediction with an unexpected suggestion of verification after forty or fifty years arrests my intention.
I know ‘Sir Fred is off his rocker.” And I am not too up on defunct physical theories from before my birth. But there is the proposed explanation for both Dark Energy and gravity. And a reinterpretation of the 2.7K background may be easier than shoehorning the new data back into the Big Bang one more time.