Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The elephant in the room

I'm sure I've asked you this question before, but do you watch the 'Horizon' series on BBC2? As a somewhat naive, non-scientist, it holds me spellbound. In particular, I'm captured by those programmes that deal with the complex and fascinating worlds of cosmology and physics.

Did you watch the programme that dealt with Dark Matter, Dark Energy and Dark Flow? No, please don't ask me what they are. But what I found fascinating was the way they had, each one, been invented and named to satisfy a mathematical equation. Everyone agreed on the Big Bang. In terms of pure mathematics it satisfied every facet of their complicated equations. It was what came afterwards that caused the equations to quaver . . . hence the need for all the Dark elements to try and reach a satisfactory explanation.
As one scientist said in conclusion, "There is a feeling that we need an extra clue . . . that's what we're waiting for . . ."

But when it came to the starting point, the theory of the Big Bang, there was unanimous agreement. The Effects Team had produced some wonderfully powerful explosions which rained gas and fire in an extremely satisfying manner. But, for me, there was an elephant in the room. An elephant which, to my surprise, none of these eminent scientists appeared to notice. The Big Bang, they told us, was the undoubted start of everything . . . the source of our universe, the source of life as we know it. Before the Big Bang there was nothing.

Am I very stupid . . . or inattentive . . . or incredibly naive, but the question that keeps bothering me is a very simple one: if, prior to this momentous event, there was no time, no location, nothing . . . then where did the Big Bang take place?