One of the most respected physicists in the world recently stunned the science community by claiming there is evidence our universe formed in the aftermath of a far more ancient universe. Pointing to ‘bruises’ of Hawking radiation, which he believes are the final relics of a bygone era of reality, Sir Roger Penrose says the Big Bang was not the true beginning of this universe.
Penrose, who just won the Nobel Prize for his work proving the existence of black holes, says there are anomalous blotches, or bruises, of electromagnetic radiation on the fabric of space-time. He calls them ‘Hawking Points’ and says they are likely the final relics of energy regurgitated from black holes dating all the way back to the previous universe.
These views align with a theoretical model of the universe called “conformal cyclic cosmology,” which submits that the universe is continually expanding, contracting, and reforming itself. In this theory, the distant future of one universe becomes the Big Bang-like singularity of the next universe.
However, according to Penrose, the slate is not totally wiped clean. Black holes take an extremely long time to completely evaporate and, according to Penrose, their final output of Hawking radiation can linger on into the next universe and show up as the blotches that have been documented.
In an interview with The Telegraph, Penrose stated a summary of his theory:
“I claim that there is observation of Hawking radiation. The Big Bang was not the beginning. There was something before the Big Bang and that something is what we will have in our future. We have a universe that expands and expands, and all mass decays away, and in this crazy theory of mine, that remote future becomes the Big Bang of another aeon.”
“So our Big Bang began,” he continues, “with something which was the remote future of a previous aeon and there would have been similar black holes evaporating away, via Hawking evaporation, and they would produce these points in the sky, that I call Hawking Points.
“We are seeing them. These points are about eight times the diameter of the Moon and are slightly warmed up regions. There is pretty good evidence for at least six of these points.”
Despite his success over the years, Penrose has many critics. One of them, Ethan Siegel, vigorously critiques the entire theory of “conformal cyclic cosmology” and specifically disputes Penrose’s contention that there are bruises of Hawking radiation on our universe.
“Like many before him, [Penrose] appears to have fallen so in love with his own ideas that he no longer looks to reality to responsibly test them,” Siegel writes.
Penrose responded to the criticism by reminding people that most scientists didn’t believe in black holes at first, either. They were considered mathematical curiosities that didn’t exist in reality.
So, could Penrose be right? Is our universe just the most current iteration of an infinite cosmological cycle? Can we see the dying glow of a former universe’s final black hole radiation?
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