A TEAM of scientists have made what may turn out to be the most important discovery in HISTORY – how the universe came into being from nothing.
The colossal question has troubled religions, philosophers and scientists since the dawn of time but now a Canadian team believe they have solved the riddle.
And the findings are so conclusive they even challenge the need for religion, or at least an omnipotent creator – the basis of all world religions.
Scientists have long known that miniscule particles, called virtual particles, come into existence from nothing all the time.
But a team led by Prof Mir Faizal, at the Dept of Physics and Astronomy, at the University of Waterloo, in Ontario, Canada, has successfully applied the theory to the very creation of existence itself.
He said: “Virtual particles contain a very small amount of energy and exist for a very small amount of time.
“However what was difficult to explain was how did such a small amount of energy give rise to a big universe like ours?”
Enter ‘inflation’ theory.
Prof Mir used some mind-boggling mathematics and two recent theories:
• The Minimum Length Scale – a measurement so infinitesimally small that space and time cease to exist.
• Doubly Special Relativity – which takes advantage of the massive energies available just after the birth of the universe.
Under Inflation Theory the tiny energies and lifespan of the virtual particle become infinitely magnified, resulting in our 13.8 Billion-year-old universe.
Dr Mir said: “Something did not come from nothing. The universe still is nothing, it’s just more elegantly ordered nothing.”
He added that the negative gravitational energy of the universe and the positive matter energy of the universe basically balanced out and created a zero sum.
Asked if the remarkable findings and the convincing if complex solution removed the need for a God figure to kick start the universe Dr Mir said: “If by God you mean a supernatural super man who breaks his own laws then yes he’s done for, you just don’t need him.
“But if you mean God as a great mathematician, then yes!”
What Prof. Mir was referring to is known as inflation. According to inflation the total positive energy in the form of matter exactly balances the negative energy in form of gravity, such that the total energy of our universe is still zero.
Prof. Mir – who also works on the Large Hardron Collider at CERN in Switzerland – further explained that by “nothing” he only meant absence of energy, and not the absence of laws of physics.
He said that for him the physics in space and time was only an approximation to some purely mathematical theory describing nature, and so space and time, and all the structure in it should be produced as a consequence of some purely mathematical theory.
Prof Mir said: “The story starts with laws of quantum mechanics, where the energy of a system at any given time known with absolute certainly. So, basically we cannot also state that a system has zero energy as that would be amount to specifying an exact amount of energy at a given time.
“This uncertainty which occurs due to quantum mechanics can lead to the creation of small amount of energy from nothing as long as it exists only for a very small amount of time. Such particle created out of nothing are called virtual particles. The consequences of the existence of such virtual particles has been tested experimentally.
“The problem with this explanation is that such virtual particles can only have a small amount of energy for a very small amount of time.
“To get a universe the size of our universe from such small amount of energy, a theory called inflation is used.
“According to inflation the small amount of energy created from nothing underwent a rapid expansion, resulting in the formation of the universe as we see it today. During this time, the positive energy in the matter of the universe and negative energy in form of gravity was created such that they exactly balanced each other. The total energy of the universe still being zero.
“Even though inflation has been studied before, recently it has been studied using a new theory called doubly special relativity.
“According to doubly special relativity there is a maximum energy and no particle in the universe can attain an energy greater than that energy.
“Just as Einstein’s theory of relativity reduces to Newton’s theory for low velocities, doubly special relativity reduces to Einstein’s theory of relativity for low enough energies.”
He added: “Just as we do not observe any effect from Einstein’s theory of relativity for objects traveling slowly, we do not observe any effect from doubly special relativity even for particles at low energies.
“This maximum energy (Planck energy) is so large that even the particle at the LHC can be considered to possess low enough energies compared to it.
“However, the energy at the beginning of the universe is large enough to consider the effects coming from doubly special relativity.”
The team of three scientists, Ahmed Farag Ali, Mir Faizal and Mohammed M. Khalil analysed inflation using doubly special relativity and their findings have now been published in the prestigious Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics (JCAP).
They also combined doubly special relativity with a theoretical minimum length scale in nature. It has been suggested by many scientists that the nature should have a minimum length scale.
Prof Mir added: “This means if you divide a stick into half, you cannot continue this process indefinitely. As you will come across a length scale below which space does not exist.
“This length is also so small that it is usually neglected by scientists when studding most phenomena.
“But it cannot be neglected when the beginning of the universe. The effect of the existence of this minimum length on inflation had been studied before by Brian Greene (Author of the famous book Elegant Universe).
“However, this is the first time that inflation has been studied by combining the doubly special relativity with the existence of a minimum length scale in nature.”
Originally published on Express.co.uk