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Q & A: strings before the Big Bang

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Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
Stephen Hawkings mentioned that the time prior to the Big Bang was not of our concern since it had no effect on the physics after it. Recently I am thinking, can the era before the Big Bang have different curled dimensions, ie, different configurations of Calabi-Yau spaces? Meaning that the laws of physics were completely different then? If that is the case, the ultimate theory of everything maybe one governing the change of laws of physics. Any comments?
- Allan (age 28)
We're not great experts at this sort of thing, but know just enough to know that the sorts of questions you're asking are among the ones that cosmologists are beginning to worry about. One of the current concerns is that some ultimate theory related to string theory may have a very large number of different solutions which remain stable for long periods. The issue of what that set of possible solutions might look like is just now being addressed. Each solution would have a different set of 'laws' of physics, corresponding to laws at the level with which we are familiar.

The next stage, which you mention, concerns understanding the dynamics of interconversion among those solutions. Very little work has been done on that so far.

Another stage concerns whether each solution would exist in parallel, due to the form of the dynamics of quantum mechanics, or whether there would only be one version of the universe. Ideas on that remain speculative.

So I guess we've cleared that one up.

Mike W.

(published on 10/22/2007)

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