11
December
2009

Aeons Before the Big Bang - Sir Roger Penrose

Sir Roger Penrose is a prize winning mathematical physicist and Emeritus Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at the Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford.

In this talk he discusses that there is much observational evidence to confirm the existence of an enormously hot and dense early stage of the universe—referred to as the Big Bang. A good deal of this evidence comes from a detailed analysis of the cosmic microwave background (CMB), frequently referred to as “the flash of the Big Bang”, enormously cooled to about 3.7 degrees absolute, by the universe’s accelerating expansion. But this very detail presents new puzzles of various kinds, one of the most blatant being an apparent paradox in relation to the second law of thermodynamics. The hypothesis of inflationary cosmology has long been argued to explain away some of these puzzles, but it does not resolve some key issues, including that raised by the second law. In this talk, I describe a very different proposal, which posits a succession of universe aeons prior to our own. The expansion of the universe never reverses in this scheme, but the space-time geometry is nevertheless made consistent through a novel geometrical conception. Analysis of the CMB data, obtained from the WMAP satellite, has a tantalizing bearing on these issues.

This is a joint event organised by BCS Coventry Branch, IET Midlands Area Network, Coventry University Faculty of Engineering and Computing, SIGMA and More Maths Grads Project.

To find out more about Roger Penrose's work please visit this writeup of a talk he gave in Edinburgh, a paper of his in this open-access journal or you can see a lecture he gave at the Isaac Newton Institute in Cambridge.

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