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What is the/a Singularity


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Hello,

I am interested to know what exactly a singularity is and the significance of this in the "big bang."

Had this singularity been present for an infinite time before the big bang or did it form right at the start of the big bang.

(I appreciate it is a bit of a difficult question to answer because no one really knows)

I would also be interested to hear anything else interesting about the singularity and the very early formation of the universe.

I am very much looking forward to your answers as it is a very interesting subject and one that I enjoy.

Thank you.

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Hi laurie, I'm under the impression that a singularity is formed right at the point in a black hole where gravity has got so intense that it just keeps compressing smaller and smaller and the gravity well can seem infinitely bottomless. As for the theory of the big bang forming from a singularity who knows? there were apparently no black holes or singularities present at the start of the universe cos there was no matter, only energy for quite a long time until it started to cool and then some sort of particles formed and gradually started attracting to each other to start the process of gravity, which ultimately gave birth tio the universe we now explore. Sorry i can't be more specific but i'm just an ordinary guy hoping to find some answers my self. Goo luck in your quest.

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I think that in the BB model time and space came into being at the BB. They are conceived of as dimensions and did not exist prior to the BB, so the singularity did not exst for an infinite period of time prior to that.

'Before' the BB does not make sense. If there was a 'before' there was no BB. The model would be wrong. However, other dimensions might exist 'outside' those known in the BB universe. We should just avoid the word 'before' and opt for 'outside.'

There is an increasing suspicion, I think, that the universe which began at the BB is not all that there is but that 'time' as we use the term is a feature only of this BB or 'known' universe. After a while this idea becomes less unreasonable but at first, well...

Olly

Edited by ollypenrice
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Well you see im not totally convinced of a few things, which are probably down to my lack of knowledge which i really wish i had the time to pursue academically.

the Singularity which the BB is pictured to me, was smaller than what we have now...

Now this i dont like at all, as infinity cannot get any bigger otherwise it would be definable.

now of course the universe is expanding, now here again is another "hummm" the universe is infinite, hence there for if an infinite thing get bigger it does so infinitely.

Krauss does a good analogy of this with his infinite catholic family and infinite hotel on the lecture on you tube.

Now Krauss does say oh you dont even begin to understand infinity... I Totally agree with this point :)

Edited by Earl
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Well the singularity comes out of playing the movie backwards.

As the universe contracts as you go back in time, there is logically a time when as everything gets closer and closer together, eventually, it will all be together in the same place. So if you wanted to calculate the density for instance, this would be

density = mass of universe/0

and you can't divide by zero - it starts getting you into infinities. So thats a singularity, something where the maths goes screwy.

It doesn't mean this happened, its just the obvious result of playing the tape backwards. However you'd get the same thing playing back a conventional bomb explosion - its contents would at some point all be at the same infinitesimal point, except we know other details which means you can't play the tape backwards completely, as we happen to know there was a finite sized bomb at one point.

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A singularity is when values with in a calculation go to infinity i.e. density and temperature during the course of the calculation. hope this helps :)

Canholder, that's correct. :) The question was about the Big Bang and gravitational singularity or spacetime singularity..

Edited by Telrad
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Now this i dont like at all, as infinity cannot get any bigger otherwise it would be definable.

Consider all the odd integer number possible. An infinite amount of them.

Consider all the even integer numbers possible: An infinite amount of them.

So are all the integer numbers possible, infinite again, more or not then either?

Surely then infinity can be of different sizes?

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Infinity is a nightmare, philosophically. I think it is best left in the language of maths and should be deleted from verbal language entirely! You have an infinite number of matchboxes ... oh dear... each with a hundred matches in them. How many matches?

Surely even the phrase 'an infinite number' is tautological since infinity isn't a number. It seems to me that it is, rather, the absence of a number.

Rather than letting infinity tie you up, try the idea of 'bounded' and 'unbounded.' The surface of a sphere is unbounded. No point on it is any different from any other. It has no beginning and no end. (The surface, remember.) So is it infinite? In a sense yes, being beginningless and endless. But in a sense no, because its surface area can be calculated. So it is finite but unbounded. This distinction is commonplace in cosmology. Like space, the surface of the sphere can get bigger or smaller. It remains unbounded and finite.

I think another thing to remember in deilberating like this is that the universe does not have to be explicable to us. It cares not a jot whether we can understand it or not. When Bohr said to Einstein, 'Stop telling God what to do' he meant stop imposing on the universe your preconceptions as to what is reasonable or unreasonable. A younger Einstein had made a similar remark but maybe he lost his mental flexibility, as we all seem to do.

Olly

Edited by ollypenrice
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I found I stopped having problems with infinity when I stopped thinking of it as an impossibly big number and started thinking of it in terms of something that no matter how many times you divide it into smaller groups you always end up with a grouping that can further be divided into smaller discrete groups.

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I found I stopped having problems with infinity when I stopped thinking of it as an impossibly big number and started thinking of it in terms of something that no matter how many times you divide it into smaller groups you always end up with a grouping that can further be divided into smaller discrete groups.

Nice.

Olly

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Canholder, that's correct. :) The question was about the Big Bang and gravitational singularity or spacetime singularity..

And the question also when, "I am interested to know what exactly a singularity is" B)

Thanks for all of your replies. They are giving me alot to think about.:)

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I am not sure that there is a completely accepted technical definition of "spacetime singularity". Singular spacetimes have "edges".

Roughly, a spacetime is singular if there is a timelike curve having bounded acceleration that ends after a finite amount of proper time.

What does this mean? "timelike curve" means a path that a person (say, Alice) or particle could traverse in a rocket. "bounded acceleration" means that the rocket always has zero or finite acceleration. "ends after a finite amount of proper time" means that after a finite of time elapses on Alice's watch, Alice falls "off of spacetime" and "into the singularity."

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Please tell me off if I'm wrong :)

A singularity is described as a point of infinite gravitational energy, this occurs in the mathematics of Physicists equations. Although personally, I don't think nature can truly produce anything infinitely, for example a blackhole MAY have a point of infinite gravity but its life is not infinite (Due to radiation) so really it is finite in a way.

The universe is thought to have singularity before the BB in which everything was contained in a minutely small space, in this tiny point it contained all the ingredients you need to make every you see in the Cosmos today. (Like a seed for a tree!) The reason it was so "uniform" and small is to do with something call it the steady state whereby there is balance between all forces and particles, apparently, some fluctuation on the quantum level occurred (Remember quantum events are extremely rare, but you can't deny that small chance) triggering possibly THE largest butterfly effect we know about, upsetting this steady state balance, unleashing a huge expansion. during this expansion negative and positive forces fought it out to annihilate each other, for some reason 1 in 1,000,000 particles of positive matter or energy survived leaving the tiny flecks of dust we see today in the huge space of our universe. Entropy will eventually win fighting to bring by the natural steady state of the universe to a uniform balanced state.

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As i understand, it's a tear in the fabric of space time, once anything passes though the event Horizon of a Black Hole, and enters the singularity it is wiped out of existence, as the laws of physics no long apply or exist for that fact, however if time is reversed this becomes an expansion as everything exits the singularity, so says Penrose's Theory.

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As i understand, it's a tear in the fabric of space time, once anything passes though the event Horizon of a Black Hole, and enters the singularity it is wiped out of existence, as the laws of physics no long apply or exist for that fact, however if time is reversed this becomes an expansion as everything exits the singularity, so says Penrose's Theory.

Well its sort of wiped out, in that you can't get it back. However you can still detect it. After a black hole consumes something, it weighs a bit more, and has a bit more gravitational effect. You can work out how heavy something is by looking at how fast something orbits it, so its possible to weigh black holes. So in a sense what's entered a black hole is still there, as you can feel the extra gravitational pull, it hasn't vanished to some other place, it is just beyond reach.

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Infinity is a convenient 'point' at which to stop counting and just say, an awful lot, more than you could carry or count. To consider infinity as a 'number' negates infinity.
I think it useful to consider infinity as, at least a symbol with a viable existence. A lot of theoretical particle physics depends on eventual "infinity cancellation" etc.

Renormalization - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I'm sure it's ALL in there (or elsewhere?) somewhere, but... :)

Edited by Macavity
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Could the BB be the expultion of all mass contained in a singularity when gravity contracts to a point at which the space between the sub atomic particuls no longer exsits and all matter becomes one!!?

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  • 3 weeks later...

According to BB theory, there was no space, time, or matter - just the singularity. The singularity had no mass - as there was no matter - it didn't come into being until after the BB. The quantum effect that triggered the BB bought spacetime and mater into being. What I can't understand is what "nothing" "nowhere"and "no-when" looks like!

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