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Jan 05 2010

Quark stars may act like hypothesized pre-Big-Bang state

According to New Scientist, a class of exotic stars break down matter to its constituent components, reproducing something approximating the state physicists have hypothesized the matter in the universe as being, very shortly after the initial spark of the Big Bang.

A new class of star may recreate the conditions of the big bang in its incredibly dense core.

Pack matter tightly enough and gravity will cause it to implode into a black hole. Neutron stars were once thought to be the densest form of matter that could resist such a collapse. More recently, physicists have argued that some supernovae may leave behind even denser quark stars, in which neutrons dissolve into their constituent quarks.

The first thing I thought on hearing this news is, this could theoretically be exactly how this Big Bang was “seeded” to begin with — if all the matter of the universe was compressed to a singularity, and all the quarks formed this kind of foam, once it all reached a state of uniformity, even one tiny quantum shift could maybe cause the whole shebang to go, um, bang. We have no way of telling what the universe was like BEFORE the Big Bang as the event itself destroys all evidence of prior states, and despite the cyclical universe being unlikely in the current model of cosmology, the news from November of Petr Hořava potentially reconciling general relativity and quantum mechanics hinted at the possibility that the cyclical model could be a reality.

Remember folks — the Big Bang isn’t “something coming from nothing”. It’s as likely the quantum foam existed infinitely, prior to the event that actually created time — time itself is merely an artifact of the universe’s expansion, so saying the universe popped into existence from nothing isn’t science’s claim, it’s theology’s.

At any rate, if an electroweak star actually does contain an analog to the state of the universe “before” the Big Bang, this may be our best shot at actually studying those conditions. How to do so without putting ourselves in harm’s way is another question though.

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