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by Nicoletta 11 months ago in astronomy

By Nicoletta

Occam's razor

William of Ockham (1287 – 1347), was an English monk and philosopher who is credited with first articulating this principle. It states that if there are two explanations for any observation then the simpler one is usually the better one. This essentially means that if there are several possible ways that something might have happened, the way that uses the fewest guesses is more likely to be the right one. However, Occam's razor only applies when the simple explanation and complex explanation both work equally well. If a more complex explanation does a better job than a simpler one, then you should use the complex one. Occam's razor is used as a general rule to guide scientists.

Strengths of the Scientific Method

● The scientific method is objective, hypotheses are tested. Experiments can be repeated by others without their opinions entering into it. It doesn’t rely on authority. The physicist Richard Feynman said “It doesn’t matter how beautiful your guess is, how smart you are or what your name is. If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong.” Youtube

● Scientific hypotheses are continually questioned and modified in the light of new evidence, so they are the most likely explanation given the evidence available. For example for almost 2000 years the accepted view in the West put the earth at the center of the universe. However, in the 16th century the Polish astronomer Nicolai Copernicus (1473-1543) proposed that the sun was in fact at the center of our solar system.

● It provides us with a way of understanding our world and predicting events, for example in 1905 Einstein's theory of relativity predicted the existence of black holes, then in 1916 the observable evidence for black holes was discovered by Karl Schwazschild.

● Scientific discoveries provide us with the tools for technological progress, so as Richard Dawkins pointed out the scientific method works “planes fly, computers compute,......... it works, bitches”

Weaknesses of the Scientific Method

● Scientists are NOT objective, as humans they have personal ambitions, deadlines, budgets and often work for large corporation who have their own agenda.

● Scientists need to INTERPRET the data, which provides room for human error.

● The scientific method can NEVER give us 100% proof because it is a process of

INDUCTION.

Big Bang Theory

So just like the Big Bang Theory TV show theme tune says, nearly 14 billion years ago everything in the universe we know today existed in an infinitely small, extremely hot and dense state. At this point science has no idea what is going on because the laws of physics as we understand them do not apply. Scientists have called this point a singularity. This singularity marks the beginning of space, time and matter. So scientific materialists would argue that asking the question ‘What happened before the Big Bang?’ makes no sense because there was no ‘​before’​, because there canbeno​beforet​imestarted. Theuniversethenwentthroughaphaseofrapidexpansioncalled inflation. When this inflationary period ended the universe continued to expand but at a much slower rate, and is still expanding today.

As the universe expanded it cooled, and during the first second of its existence it had cooled enough to allow energy to be converted into matter in the form of various subatomic particles, including quarks and electrons. A few minutes later protons and neutrons combined to form the first atomic nuclei, and it took a further 300,000 years for electrons to combine with them and create electrically neutral atoms which form the basis of elements which we know today. The first elements that formed were hydrogen, helium and lithium and it is at this point that the first light can be said to shine in the universe. Giant clouds of these elements would come together through the force of gravity and would eventually form the first stars and galaxies. The heavier elements (like carbon and iron) would be formed much later, through the process of nuclear fusion taking place in the heart of stars, eventually being spread throughout the universe when the star exploded.

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20140812-how-was-the-universe-created

The Big Bang is a well-tested scientific theory and is widely accepted within the scientific community. It explains how the universe has developed over time and takes the form it has today. Since the hypothesis was first suggested, a wide range of evidence has been shown to support the theory.

In the early 1900’s the scientific community believed that our universe a static (unchanging) and eternal (had always existed and would always exist).

Then in 1927, the Belgian priest and physicist Georges Lemaître proposed the idea that would later become known as the Big Bang theory in what he called his "hypothesis of the primeval atom." In it he said that the universe had a beginning. Lemaître had reached this conclusion after solving Einstein’s equations for general relativity and discovering that they predicted an expanding universe.

In 1929 American astronomer, Edwin Hubble observed that all the light from distant galaxies and clusters appeared to be shifted towards the red end of the

spectrum (redshift). This confirmed that they were travelling away from earth, and that the farther away they were, the faster they were moving away. This was the observational evidence which supported Lemaitre’s hypothesis that the universe was expanding. “The discovery that the

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universe is not static, but rather expanding, has profound philosophical and religious significance, because it suggested that our universe had a beginning.”1

Having established that the universe was expanding it could then be inferred that the very early universe must have been much smaller, and since all matter would then have been crushed into a super dense state it must therefore have been extremely hot. In 1948, this hypothesis led Ralph Alpherin to predict that some of this heat should still be measurable in the form of microwave radiation. The existence of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation was later observed by American radio astronomers Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson in 1964.

Since then scientists have continued to develop more accurate methods for measuring the current speeds and distances to galaxies. These measurements when coupled with the rate at which the universe is accelerating, allowed scientists to calculate an approximate age for the universe which is currently thought to be about 13.7 billion years old.

What evidence does science use to support the Big Bang Theory?

The 4 Pillars of the BBT

1) The Universe is expanding (Red Shift).

2) Observation of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation.

3) Evolution of Galaxies.

4) The amount of observed light (light as in not heavy!) elements e.g.

Helium

Red Shift

In 1929, Edwin Hubble discovered that the distances to far away galaxies were generally proportional to their redshifts—an idea originally suggested by Lemaître in 1927. Hubble's observation showed that all very distant galaxies and clusters appear to be travelling away from us, the farther away they are, the faster they are moving away. This was the observational evidence which supported the hypothesis that the universe is expanding. How does redshift work? If a light source is moving away from you the wavelength of the light will be stretched, so the light is observed as 'shifted' towards the red part of the spectrum. If the light source was coming towards you the shift would be towards the blue end of the spectrum. We get the same sort of effect with sound waves, think about the change in sound that happens when we hear a police or ambulance

Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation

The Big Bang theory predicts that the early universe was a very hot place and that as it expands, the gas within it cools. Thus the universe should be filled with radiation that is literally the remaining heat left over from the Big Bang, called the “cosmic microwave background radiation”, or CMBR. Today, the CMBR is very cold, only 2.725°

above absolute zero (-273 degrees Kelvin), thus this

radiation shines primarily in the microwave portion of

the electromagnetic spectrum, and is invisible to the naked

eye. However, we can see or hear the CMBR every time we

switch on an analogue TV or radio and de-tune it since three

percent of the snowy screen and the hissy noise are due to

the CMBR.

The existence of the Cosmic Microwave Background

Radiation was first predicted by Ralph Alpherin in 1948 and

later observed by American radio astronomers Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson in 1964. The CMBR is the oldest light in the universe, dating to the epoch of recombination. With a traditional optical telescope, the space between stars and galaxies (the background) is completely dark. However, a sufficiently sensitive radio telescope shows a faint background glow, almost exactly the same in all directions, that is not associated with any star, galaxy, or other object. This glow is strongest in the microwave region of the radio spectrum.

Later more precise measurements were taken by the COBE (Cosmic Background Explorer) satellite.

Even more recently the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) a NASA mission launched in June 2001 produced an even more detailed image of the CMBR.

The CMBR is a snapshot of the oldest light in our Universe, imprinted on the sky when the Universe was just 380,000 years old. It shows tiny temperature fluctuations that correspond to regions of slightly different densities, representing the seeds of all future structure: the stars and galaxies of today

One second after the Big Bang, the temperature of the universe was roughly 10 billion degrees and was filled with a sea of sub atomic particles such as neutrons, protons, electrons, positrons, photons and neutrinos. As the universe cooled, the neutrons either decayed into protons and electrons or combined with protons to make the first elements Hydrogen, Helium and Lithium. This process of light element formation in the early universe is called “Big Bang nucleosynthesis”. The Big Bang theory predicts that about 4% of the ordinary matter in the universe would be free hydrogen and helium, produced in the Big Bang. Observations have confirmed that this is indeed the case.

Evolution of Galaxies (Change over time)

When we look up into the night sky what we see is actually images of the past because light takes time to reach us, for example the light from the sun (our nearest star) takes eight minutes to reach us. So very powerful telescopes like the Hubble Deep Field telescope can look far back in time to the early universe. The Big Bang theory predicts that, if we look at very distant regions of the universe (i.e., galaxies with very high redshifts), we should see mainly small, irregular galaxies and for the most part, this is exactly what we find.

Galaxies began to form in the strands of matter in the universe. The Milky Way galaxy began to form when the universe was about 3 billion years old. It started out as a large ball of gas, which eventually settled into a disk surrounding a central bulge. The spiral arms then developed from the rotating disk.

What are the strengths and weaknesses of the scientific evidence/explanations?

Strengths of the Big Bang Theory

● Since the laws of science break down as you approach the creation of the universe, there's no reason to believe the first law of thermodynamics would apply. This would equally apply to the issue with traveling faster than the speed of light; alternatively some would argue that space itself can expand faster than the speed of light, as space falls outside the domain of the theory of gravity.

● Some scientist would argue that since time itself starts with the Big Bang it makes no sense

to ask the question what happened before the Big Bang, because there can be no ‘before’

without time. ●

● Since Lemaître first hypothesised that the universe was expanding and therefore must have had a beginning an abundance of empirical evidence has been discovered which supports it, so much so that it has developed into a scientific theory.

Weaknesses of the Big Bang theory

● Scientists call the initial, infinitely small state of the universe, a singularity. This is the term scientists’ use when they cannot explain what is going on, because it is the point at which the laws of physics as we understand them break down.

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● Observable evidence like Redshift and the CMBR only support the Big Bang Theory from 380,000 after the initial singularity, everything before this is theoretical.

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● The first law of thermodynamics states that you can’t create or destroy matter or energy, the Big Bang Theory seems to contradict this law when it states that matter and energy came into existence from nothing.

● The Big Bang Theory doesn't actually address the creation of the universe, because scientists don’t know what was happening right at the very beginning. Many scientists now think that there must have been something ‘before’ the big bang. So the Big Bang Theory actually explains the evolution of of our universe but not how or why it began to exist in the first place.

● The early inflationary period of the big bang appears to break the rule that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light.

astronomy

Nicoletta

Hey its Nicoletta! I’m 24

I was born and raised in Italy 🇮🇹

I love writing a lot it makes me happy

Hopefully you’ll enjoy my stories and support me

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