Paul Hartal


Big Bang with Horizon Problem


The crocodile rested idly on the Nile bank.
The Sun rose toward the zenith in the sky,
The hot air was trembling over unstirred grass
And an Egyptian plover landed near the river.

“Long time no see”, the crocodile said.
“Oh, I am very busy”, the wading bird answered.
“Is that so? ” the crocodile inquired.
“Oh yes”, the plover said, “I study astronomy.”

“Have you ever heard of the Horizon Problem? ” the plover asked.
“No, this is the first time that I hear that the horizon has a problem”.

“Well, we talk here about the horizon of the universe
And it is a scientific mystery. Mind you, the primeval atom
At the beginning of time exploded in the so called Big Bang
Nearly 14 billion years ago. Now, as you might know,
Nothing can travel faster than light. But when you look
Across the vast space of the visible cosmos, from one edge
To the other, you ought to consider that these two edges are
Approximately 28 billion years apart.”

“So what? ” the crocodile asked.
The plover took a deep breath. “Well, if nothing can travel
Faster than light and the universe is 14 billion years old,
How can the two edges of the universe be 28 billion years apart? ”

“Oh, I see”, the crocodile said.
“Maybe the Big Bang Theory is wrong”.
“Why”, the bird said, “the problem involves the exchange
Of information, energy and heat because these also
Can only occur at the speed of light.”

“I am somewhat at a loss to follow you”, the crocodile said.
“Look! Different distant regions of outer space in the cosmos
Are very far from each other and cannot communicate.
In spite of this, the microwave background radiation
Filling in the universe seems inscrutably uniform.
It measures the same temperature everywhere.”

“So, to me”, the crocodile said, “this just proves again
That the Big Bang Theory is wrong”.
“Not necessarily”, the plover objected.

“Consider, for example, the possibility that at its birth,
In less than a second after the Big Bang,
The early universe underwent an extremely rapid process
Of exponential expansion so that all its parts originated
In a casually connected region. Astrophysicists call this
Exponential expansion the Theory of Cosmic Inflation”.

“I am very impressed by your erudition”, the crocodile said.
“Thank you”, smiled the bird. “Also, Cosmic Inflation Theory
Can explain why the universe appears to be flat, isotropic
And homogenous, that is to say uniform in all orientation.”

“Flat? How can it be flat? ” the crocodile asked.
“My understanding is”, said the bird, “that when scientists
Talk about a flat universe, they mean a doughnut shaped
Three dimensional topological object known as torus.”

“Wow”, the crocodile exclaimed. “This is really amazing.
Yet I have another hypothesis. How about the possibility
That the speed of light has changed throughout the ages
After this colossal firecracker event of the Big Bang happened.”

“I think we should end this conversation now”,
The plover said, “because some humans are watching us
And they look like hunters rather than biologists.”
“Do not worry”, the crocodile said,
“They have no idea that we are aliens.”

Submitted: Saturday, October 15, 2011

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