Scientists are trying to answer an eternal question: What was happening with the Universe before the Big Bang? There are a couple of theories when it comes to that. For instance, there is the primordial universe theory, claiming that the Big Bang was part of the Big Bounce. Some issues arise. For example, inflation is hard to test, as it seems perfectly adaptable. Therefore, the falsifiability issue needs to be discussed.
“Falsifiability should be a hallmark of any scientific theory. The current situation for inflation is that it’s such a flexible idea, it cannot be falsified experimentally,” Avi Loeb of the Center for Astrophysics said. “No matter what value people measure for some observable attribute, there are always some models of inflation that can explain it.”
The latest idea that is called a primordial standard clock, and it comes with a method that could falsify inflation experimentally. The concept was applied by a team of scientists led by the CfA’s Xingang Chen, along with Loeb, and Zhong-Zhi Xianyu of the Physics Department of Harvard University.
The Universe before the Big Bang
“The attributes people have proposed so far to measure usually have trouble distinguishing between the different theories because they are not directly related to the evolution of the size of the primordial universe,” Xianyu explained. “So, we wanted to find what the observable attributes are that can be directly linked to that defining property.”
Researchers hope to use structures that existed in the primordial universe to figure out what happened before the Big Bang. According to them, the information is there, but it needs to be “played” correctly.
“If we imagine all of the information we learned so far about what happened before the Big Bang is in a roll of film frames, then the standard clock tells us how these frames should be played,” Chen explained. “Without any clock information, we don’t know if the film should be played forward or backward, fast or slow, just like we are not sure if the primordial universe was inflating or contracting, and how fast it did so. That is where the problem lies. The standard clock put timestamps on each of these frames when the film was shot before the Big Bang and told us how to play the film.”