Prologue

After the studies of Edwin Hubble revealed that the Universe was expanding, cosmology leapt forward to the Big Bang theory and its elegant explanation of how the Universe came to be. In recent years the combination of increasingly accurate observations and the need to merge the vagaries of quantum mechanics to the certainty of General Relativity led to a series of new theories that have been attached to the initial Big Bang hypothesis. As a consequence, the originally simple theory has been patched by a series of disparate triage theories to form what has become the current paradigm for modern cosmology.

Ptolemy explained the heavens as various spheres moving the heavenly bodies around the Earth.  As observations became more and more accurate with the advent of the telescope, the complexity of these spherical movements became unsupportable.  With one change Copernicus replaced the geocentric universe with the heliocentric universe resolving in one simple stroke the unexplained intricacies of observed motion.

The current theories that patch up the holes in the Big Bang theory are in a similar state of crisis as existed in the middle of the last millennium.  The triage cosmology of string theory, M-theory, inflation theory, dark matter, exotic energy and multiverse theories combine to produce a Ptolmeic-like crisis.  A Copernican-like solution is required.

String theory expounds that the Universe is composed of minute vibrating quantum strings. These strings exist in a medium of eleven dimensions of spacetime. There are the traditional three Euclidean spatial dimensions with the fourth time dimension and seven other unseeable spatial dimensions. The unobservable dimensions are rolled up in what are referred to by some theorist as Calabi-Yau shapes. These seven become adjustable parameters that allow for different mathematical configurations, but since unobservable, they are immune to investigation. Each rolled-up dimension becomes an adjustable parameter for various versions of the theory. As a consequence, there are millions of potential permutations for the theory’s universal solution.

Multiple string theories developed with different models for how strings are constructed. M-theory seeks to unify these various forms. It describes the string as a one-dimensional slice of a two-dimensional membrane vibrating in eleven dimensions. The theory attempts to explain the universe as undergoing multiple incarnations when two parallel membranes within a ten-dimension universe that are separated by the seventh rolled-up dimension (eleventh overall dimension). These membranes periodically collide and generate another Big Bang. Multiple cycles of incarnation are thus generated as these membranes move apart and come together.

Inflation theory developed as an attempt to explain the homogeneity and isotropy of the Universe’s cosmic background radiation. It was felt that since remote portions of the universe would be unable to communicate with each other since the fastest that a signal can be sent is the velocity of light, it would be impossible for the Universe to maintain such consistency of temperature in all directions. However, if the Universe in its earliest epochs (between 10^-36 to 10^-33 or 10^-32 seconds) pushed by negative vacuum energy expanded at a fantastic rate greatly in excess of c, then the Cosmos that we see from our location in space would be such a small proportion of the whole. This would make the Universe appear isotropic even if the entire structure is not. A tiny patch on any curved surface appears to be flat. It is assumed that the Universe exited the inflationary epoch thus slowing down to that predicted by the traditional Big Bang model through a random quantum perturbation process referred to as “bubble percolation”.

Observations show clearly that the mass required to produce the gravitational curvature necessary to generate the observed velocities of the stars within galaxies is several times that of the visible matter. The missing mass is assumed to be dark matter. Dark objects and black holes seem highly insufficient to make up the deficit. Dark matter theory assumes that the missing mass is from slow moving massive particles that do not interact with matter other than with their gravitational curvature. It is assumed that dark matter is made up by a new class of subatomic particles called WIMPs or weakly interacting massive particles. Virtually no progress has been made in identifying these particles or their structure.

In the late 1990s type Ia supernovae were observed and comparisons were made of 1) their recession velocities from here as measured by the red shifting of the light from its original frequency, and 2) the distance of the objects as determined by the brightness of these “standard candles”. It has been concluded that the most distant of these objects are dimmer than it was assumed would be the case and that the expansion of the Universe was actually accelerating. The required force for the acceleration resulted in a new exotic (or dark) energy. There is little understood about what this energy could be. The dominant theories are a reincarnation of Einstein’s cosmological constant and a concept called quintessence. It is now assumed that 72% the Universe is composed of dark energy, 22% is dark matter and the remaining 4% is the traditional matter and energy. This leaves 96% of the Universe unexplained and unobservable.

The ultimate attempt to merge quantum mechanics to cosmology comes with multiverse theory. The most extreme case of multiverse theory is that every possible alternative to an action is realized in a different universe. Thus in every quantum instant all possible courses both locally and over this vast Universe are realized in a new universe created around each possible outcome – no matter how unlikely. Every time that an electron randomly chooses one pathway versus the infinite number of other pathways results in not only the chosen pathway of our Universe but new universes with the same initial set of conditions of our Universe plus independent universes for each of the possible pathways for the electron.

The extrema versions of Multiverse theory are obviously patently absurd to the extreme, but each of the other theories advance concepts that in many cases cannot be tested. The velocity of light speed limit of Einstein’s theory of Special Relativity is blithely thrown out for the hyper-expansion of inflation theory. All of this occurred before observations existed leaving no direct telltale evidence. Dark matter and exotic energy conveniently are generated by unobservable particles or forces, but scientists have had no difficulty in allocating 96% of the stuff of the Universe to these immeasurables. String theories solve for inconsistencies by creating unobservable dimensions. It seems that modern interpretation of the uncertainty within quantum mechanics states that anything goes.

But what becomes apparent when one stands back and looks at these theories collectively is that there is not a common thread or compatibility. Fundamentally, it can be asked, “Does it make any sense?” Theorists have replaced the search for elegant simplicity with abstract mind games and mathematical constructs.