James Peebles won this year's Nobel Prize in Physics for aiding the transformation of the field of cosmology into respected science, but if there's one term he hates to hear, it's "Big Bang Theory."
The leading explanation of the universe in its earliest periods has been changing for decades, with Peebles's early work examining cosmic background radiation helping to cement many of the details.
But "the first thing I need to know about my area is that its name, Big Bang Theory, is pretty inappropriate," the 84-year-old told a surprise audience during an event honoring Nobel Prize winners from the US at an event at the Swedish Embassy in Washington on Wednesday
"a concept of an event and a position, both of which are quite wrong," he went on, adding that there was actually no concrete evidence of a giant explosion.
The Nobel Committee last month honors Peebles for his work since the mid-1960s mastering the now prevailing theoretical framework for the young universe.
But he is careful to note that he does not know about the "beginning."
"It is very unfortunate that one thinks of the beginning, whereas in fact we have no good theory for such a thing. as a start, "he said in an interview with AFP.
In contrast, we have a "well-tested theory of evolution from an early state" to its present state, beginning with the "first few seconds of expansion" – literally the first seconds of time that have left cosmological signatures called "fossils."
Paleontology fossils signify the preserved remains of living creatures from earlier geological eras. The oldest cosmological fossils are the formation of helium and other particles as a result of nucleosynthesis, when the universe was very hot and very dense.
These theories are well argued for the preponderance of evidence and verification, unlike the mysterious phase theories before.
"We do not have a strong test of what happened earlier in time," said Peebles, a professor emeritus at Princeton. "We have theories, but they haven't been tested."
"I give up"
"Theories, ideas are great, but for me they are established when passing tests," he continued.
"Theories, of course, every bright physicist can come up with theories. They have nothing to do with reality.
" You find out which theories are close to reality by comparing experiments. We just don't have experimental evidence of what happened early. "
One of these theories is known as the" inflation model, "according to which the early universe expands exponentially rapidly for a tiny, tiny fraction of a second before the expansion phase.
"That's a beautiful theory," Peebles said. Many people think that it is so beautiful that it is certainly correct. But the evidence for this is very scarce. "
Asked what term he preferred to" Big Bang, "Peebles replied," I gave up, I use the Big Bang, I don't like it.
"But for years, some of us have been trying to convince the community to find a better term without success. So it's a big bang. It's a pity, but everyone knows the name. So I'm giving up."
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© 2019 AFP
Cosmologist's Lone Battle Against The Big Bang Theory (2019, November 14)
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