Just saw this article. Was nice to see as too often the media just characterizes everything incorrectly.
A snippet -
The Big Bang is not a theory of the origins of the universe. I will say it again just to be clear: The Big Bang is not a theory of the origins of the universe. In fact, we have no scientific theory of the origins of the universe. The Big Bang is a model of the early history of the universe based on abundant observations.
In Paul Sutter’s article he states, “What is the Big Bang? If you think it is something like an explosion that started the universe, then you would be in the same boat as most people..... that is about as close to the most common public perception of the Big Bang as you can get.... If you do think of the Big Bang like that, I do not want you to take this personally, but just about every word in that description is dead wrong..... Why are there so many misconceptions about the Big Bang? There are likely several reasons, but the most likely culprit is simple cultural patterns”.
Paul Sutter needs to do a bit more homework before he blames ‘cultural patterns’ for the general public’s understanding of what the Big Bang “is’’ as if scientist really do know what it ‘is’.
First, in 1931 it was the Belgium physicist Lemaître that proposed in his "hypothèse de l'atome primitif" (hypothesis of the primeval atom) that the universe began with the "explosion" of the "primeval atom" — what was later called the Big Bang. Lemaître also used the metaphors like “primeval atom” and “fireworks theory” These memes of explosion or implied explosion were introduced to the public - by a scientist.
It was in 1949 that Fred Hoyle (one of the founders of the Steady State Model) inadvertently coined the phrase “Big Bang”. Hoyle regretted this term as in 1995 during an interview he said, “Words are like harpoons. Once they go in, they are very hard to pull out” but by then thousands of articles had been published with the title ‘Big Bang’.
Hoyle gave a series of lectures broadcast on the BBC and printed in the Listener in which he largely defended the position of the Steady State model saying a finite universe in time was irrational and outside science. Later he did another series of broadcasts on the BBC and also later printed in The Listener. The idea of the Big BANG was became standard in cosmological community as at this time Hoyle continue to coin the phrase in his lectures.
Regarding these lectures however Hoyle later stated, “I was constantly striving over the radio – where I had no visual aids, nothing except the spoken word – for visual images,” he said. “And that seemed to be one way of distinguishing between the steady-state and the explosive big bang. And so that was the language I used”. So the meme of an explosive Big BANG also came from a scientist.
In the last 1960s and 70s three British astrophysicists, Steven Hawking, George Ellis, and Roger Penrose applied Relativity to these notions. They published papers in which they extended Einstein's General Relativity to include measurements of time and space.1, 2 Their publications showed time and space had a finite beginning that corresponded to the origin of matter and energy."3. 1) Steven W. Hawking, George F.R. Ellis, "The Cosmic Black-Body Radiation and the Existence of Singularities in our Universe," Astrophysical Journal, 152, (1968) pp. 25-36.
2) Steven W. Hawking, Roger Penrose, "The Singularities of Gravitational Collapse and Cosmology," Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, series A, 314 (1970) pp. 529-548.
3) Mark Eastman, Chuck Missler, The Creator: Beyond Time and Space, (1996) p. 11.
In my old upper-level textbook “Quantum Physics” 2nd Ed by Eisberg and Resnick (1985) it is stated on page 20, “..... Astrophysicist consider these measurements as strong evidence in favor of the so called ‘big-bang theory, in which the universe was in the form of a very dense, and hot, fireball of particles and radiation... (and)... to the subsequent expansion and resulting Doppler shift ....”
Also on page 608, “..... helium that is thought to have been made by fusion from hydrogen in the ‘big ban’ that occurred when the universe started....
Whatever the nuances between ‘origin’ - when something ‘started’ - or even ‘fiery’, even Michio Kahu uses the phrase explosion when speaking about the expansion of the universe in one of his interviews: See YouTube: https://youtu.be/mkW7lPMhqSI. (1:59)
Here’s another example of a scientist embedding memes into the common culture: In this YouTube an elementary particle physicist calls the Big Bang - “an explosion of space” (9:33). https://youtu.be/s5ZPMLkiCKc
I bet if I looked harder I’d find more TV physicist celebrities using the work explosion.
In sum it is not the ‘simple cultural patterns’ responsible for the general public having ‘slight’ misunderstandings about the nuance of the semantics of the Big Bang - whether it was an explosion and whether it was ‘the’ begining - the confusion is caused by scientists as they evolving their ideas trying to use everyday words to describe abstrations and then trying to walk back memes that ‘they’ introduced to the public. Wishing to eliminate the word ‘origin’ from the Big Bang Theory is necessary for then one would have to address the existence of an event without a cause.
As an aside, wonder who coined the phrase ‘God Particle’? That was the physicist Dick Teresi (1993). Paul Sutter should stop criticizing the average person’s understandings.
Edited by Bill001, 20 July 2019 - 03:11 PM.