This conversation is closed.

My question is what caused the Big Bang?

Today we were learning about Quantum Physics and I became very interested with learning how the speed of light is constant by time either slowing or accelerating, but anyways back to the question at hand, how did the big bang the birth of our universe come to play if it only started as one electron in empty space?

  • thumb
    May 16 2014: Malik, please pose your question also in a venue where you will receive responses from actual professional scientists whose expertise you can verify.

    Internet forums are not your best place for reliable information in your area, but Lawrence Berkeley Lab, Lawrence Hall of Science, the website for the Large Hadron Collider, and various planetariums and particularly university physics departments are.

    On internet forums you will find people who are quite dismissive of professional science or who claim to expertise in areas in which they are novice. Health and quantum mechanics are two areas in which what you hear on internet forums should be taken with a particularly chunky grain of salt.

    Look for Steven Weinberg's The First Three Minutes, which a scholar in this field recommended for my high school-aged son.
    • thumb
      May 17 2014: Do you think Fritzie, that professional scientists will ever be able to answer the very question 'what' caused the Big Bang?

      Science is based on verifiable data, which would mean we had to reproduce a minimum of two whole new universes, expanding from earth - or very close by - to even be somewhat certain what really kick started ours in the first place.

      And although I am no astrophysicist, the energy released from just one experimental 'big bang' would appear to me way to much for any save form in data acquisition. :o)
      • thumb
        May 17 2014: I think there will always be several theories consistent with the available data without any definitive resolution, as well as theories constructed of human imagination that are largely inconsistent with data. Strong theorists in physics and cosmology will tend to have good intuition about the relative plausibility of different scenarios and will refine their understanding over time based on various means of triangulation with reconstructions.

        This is conjecture on my part, based on how science and interdisciplinary research tend to work in the face of always very incomplete information. Like you, I have no more expertise in this field than your typical college educated person with science coursework but without specialty in this intensely researched and intellectually active field. ("Junior," on the other hand, heads back to CERN tomorrow to continue the great adventure).
        • thumb
          May 17 2014: Do you think theoretical physics beyond experimental confirmation is offering valid answers or just options how things could be? And can intuition be a final scientific argument?

          I am asking this, because I am not certain how to take your answer in relation to my question.
      • thumb
        May 17 2014: I think the difference between "just options" and what theorists in physics do is that their models are anchored in a level of understanding of the problem that the rest of us do not have. This is the difference between scientific imagination/intuition and lay intuition. By way of metaphor, as an engineer, you have better intuition with respect to engineering problems than I would. There are other areas, though, in which my intuition will be better.

        But no, theories scholars in a field put forward that are purely a matter of intuition do not constitute proven findings. They just have much higher odds of being close to right than the guesses of those largely unfamiliar with what is known or consistent with what is known.
        • thumb
          May 17 2014: So could we say, that consequently we could end up here:

          Turtles all the way down

          ' A well-known scientist (some say it was Bertrand Russell) once gave a public lecture on astronomy. He described how the earth orbits around the sun and how the sun, in turn, orbits around the center of a vast collection of stars called our galaxy. At the end of the lecture, a little old lady at the back of the room got up and said: "What you have told us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise." The scientist gave a superior smile before replying, "What is the tortoise standing on?" "You're very clever, young man, very clever," said the old lady. "But it's tortoises all the way down!" '

          —Hawking, 1988 (Wikipedia)

          I personally love this paradox especially because it contains both, the 'scholar' and the 'layman' at those very moments of simply 'not knowing'. To me the only reason why religion still is existent and - probably - always will.

          Just yesterday I proved myself guilty to not have inherently incorporated in my intuition the Newtons laws of motion. So please, never trust blindly in any 'expert' if something is of real importance to you. 'Failure is always an option which is what science thrives upon!'

          But sticking by scientific rules, any theory stays as valid as any other unless proven otherwise.

          At times, science can be that simple ... :o)

          In between your personal preferences of course are solemnly yours ... :o)
      • thumb
        May 18 2014: No one should trust anyone blindly. We all need to determine whose insights and intuitions are more likely to be solid in particular situations, and also who tells the truth and who fudges. I respect people most who do not for personal convenience reject serious scholarship but also listen to ideas from any quarter.

        As an engineer you would, I expect, find some physical theories more valid or credible than others. But of course engineers, like others, make mistakes. When those mistakes become disasters, we all hear about them.

        But I think we are veering afield of the OP's query.
  • May 16 2014: Mystery is not an unsolved problem, it's a Mystery.
  • May 15 2014: A MATCH
  • thumb
    May 20 2014: "The real problem with this question of what caused the big bang is ultimately a biological one; our brains have evolved to assume that everything has a cause, we can't imagine any event ever not having one.

    But 100 years ago, we couldn't imagine that our galaxy was only one in an ocean of one hundred billion. 200 years ago, we couldn't imagine that the stars were more than 13,000 light years away. 500 years ago, we couldn't imagine that the Earth revolved around the Sun. If our past enquiries into the universe are any guide, the truth of the cosmos is always more than we have imagined.

    The answer to the cause of the universe will almost certainly be something strange and, by definition, wholly beyond our experience. Our occluded brains must always be open ...,especially when asking questions that push the limits of our capacity to understand."
  • thumb
    May 18 2014: Causality is a mental construct. What we consider to be a cause of an event is somewhat arbitrary. I reflected on determinism, causality, and free will here
  • May 16 2014: I like the idea of the big bang actually being the birth of a "super" black hole, seen from the inside.
  • thumb
    May 16 2014: Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.
    Arthur Schopenhauer
  • thumb
    May 16 2014: Sciences are forever swimming between what we might see with our own eyes (augmented by micro/telescopes) and some speculations or fantasies often presented as great discoveries. I've been trained to be a researcher in the field of thermodynamics and even as a very young student was outraged with that crazy mixture of some superficially perceived "evidence" mixed together with those fantastic ideas, based on broken logic. The only "proof" we can get is our math, which is itself an artificial, very limited, highly controlled and speculative method of "thinking".

    As we understand whether as just intuitive individuals or as someone learned from physics and philosophy, the world is impossible for us to see or even sense directly. Our very limited and fluctuating perceptions are to digest what we interact with, and they cannot "deliver" anything into our minds as it is. We may only guess based on our extremely limited experience what we may see is only a pure production of each of our mind interpreting, or I'd say Reacting towards something that does not belong to our minds. However we are entirely interconnected with the objective to us world but in the most mysterious absolutely unperceivable ways..

    I trust that great Werner Heisenberg has suggested a truly revolutionary approach to what we call
    reality - as we perceive anything we are already interacting with what we observe, change or effect it as well as we get effected by "it". This means tha we are as constantly effected by endless Flux as everything else.

    In the world of non-stop crucial transformations we can only presume that in every instant there are endless "big-bangs" of drastic change, transforming everything into entire new worlds instantly. We have no time or space to observe, measure, or travel through anything because we're facing new realities in no time.

    Our perceptions, especially physical sense-perceptions are drastically limited slow and crude - it's fascinating to know Why.
  • May 16 2014: There is so much we and science do not know. The most brilliant of scientists will tell you after studying a lifetime that they know nothing in comparison to what could be know. Nothing! That is pretty humbling to me to hear someone like Einstein say that. Even Jacob Barnett the 10 year old genius that was already writing scientific papers at college and probably the smartest human on the planet right now will tell you "Everything you think you know, forget it, you got it all wrong". 3,379,627 views
    He is a little older and wiser now, I think he is 14 and already solved several of our universal mysteries, a professor and CEO of his own company, he has also started his own charity to help other kids.
  • thumb
    May 16 2014: Counting back from my current knowledge, my answer would be 41.
    • May 16 2014: Speaking of thing we don't know, I am half German and have lived in the USA most of my life. Last night for the first time I learned about the 2 million Germans who suffered and died in Eisenhower's Death Camps on the side of the Rhine river. The documentary I watched claims as high as 10 million Germans were killed in a variety of ways through the country because of allied treatment. The French forced labor camps made them dig up all the land mines by hand among other things. I had no idea, Eisenhower was supposed to be some kind of hero in America, it turns out he was as bad or worse than Hitler.

      My question to you Lejan is what is your perspective on this? You can go directly to my email if you want to.
      Opps, I see the "new" TED format dumped our email, apparently they don't want us talking to each other where they can not hear. Any way is my email
      • thumb
        May 16 2014: I watched the first half of the video and did some research on 'volksfront-medien' who produced it, and my perspective is clear now:

        Neo-Nazi Propaganda

        Their Internet site '' directly redirects to their youtube channel called 'Der dritte Weg' which translates to 'The Third Way'. As you can see, pretty close to 'The Third Reich'.

        Due to certain laws in Germany, Neo-Nazi have no other choice here but to be a bit more 'indirect' in their statements or claims so one has to read between the lines to see their agenda.

        The videos they post currently on youtube are clearly racist and nationalistic with titles such as:

        'Norwegen - Vergewaltigungsepidemie durch Ausländer'
        Norway - Rape-epidemic by foreigners

        'Zigeunerproblematik in der Slowakai'
        Gipsy-ploblem in Slovakia

        'Ausländergewalt in Frankreich (CBN)'
        Violence by foreigners in France

        The language they use and the overall framing is typical for Neo-Nazi Propaganda.

        Within the video you linked at 48:48 they made the usual claim for right wing extremists, that Germany didn't start WW2 on its own, and that the winning allies and oppression from WW1 left Germany no other choice, but to ... bla bla bla

        Although I have no statistical numbers at all, I am certain that German POW died after the end of WW2 in allied captivity, it would be naive to me to think otherwise, yet I do not expect anything other to happen, to be honest.

        Violence returns violence - its that simple - and therefore so important not to start it in the first place.

        Just recently the media condemned some US soldiers for having made pictures posing with their death enemies or with remaining body-parts of them. A clear statement to me, that the media and the public has absolutely no clue what war really is about. How can anyone expect a soldier to have any respect for the remains of their enemies, when they can not have respect for them when they are still alive?

        Hypocrites at work!
      • thumb
        May 16 2014: If I was you I wouldn't care about the video you saw, as to me those people haven't understood nor ever reflected what Germany did during that time.

        So why wouldn't US soldiers have a little bit of revenge on German prisoners? War makes people detached from any norm, thats why it is so important not to HAVE it again, and this for all sides involved!

        I am not happy that those videos exist, yet as I believe in the right of free speech, I have to accept it to be available, but I neither agree with nor accept what the video claims.

        The problems allied troops faced after Germany was officially defeated, were remaining resistance of so called werewolf commandos, which were small in numbers and therefore eager to regain strength by freeing German war prisoners for their purpose.

        Just this alone would made any allied official in charge of a prison camp by simple logic prohibit German civilians to get even near those camps in order to prevent weapons and explosives to be smuggled in.

        I also do not expect any military logistics for food supply to compensate for hundred of thousand POW on the fly, as it usually is their given nature to barely just make it even for their own soldiers, leave alone the fact, that German tactics in late war was especially focused to leave nothing but 'burned soil' on retreat in order to make it even more difficult for transports not to be able to use any remaining infrastructure.

        I do not doubt the suffering of German soldiers, yet hearing them complain makes me understand, that they did not at all judge their own deeds and what they themselves inflicted on millions of other people throughout whole Europe and abroad. For this however I have no understanding.
      • thumb
        May 16 2014: Ok, I just found a clear link from the '' to the NPD, the 'National Democratic Party of Germany', which are clearly right wing extremist and considered Neo-Nazis by the rest of German citizens.

        I don't know if you speak or understand German, but in case you do, you can crosscheck the connections I made from the following video, around 6:20 in which the narrator talks a bout a 'greeting speech' which was read to the crowd for a NPD representative who couldn't attend this meeting in person.

        Rheinwiesenlagergedenken 2013

        The title of the video translates into 'Remembrance of the Rhine meadows (prisoner) camps 2013' and thereby directly aligns to the topic of the video you referred too.

        But even if you don't understand German, at certain moments in that newer video it may become clear what those people have in their 'value system' (around 4:50). Even the color grading of the video itself speaks a clear message.

        Other than it is in the USA, in Germany it is prohibited to openly show the 'swastika flag' of NAZI Germany, which is the only reason why you can't see this flag on the videos. But the color red as well as black and white are often used alongside some historically 'unencumbered' symbols.

        You can also notice, that the 'processing crowd' is escorted by the German police, called 'Polizei' and this to protect the Neo-Nazis against left-wing extremists and further escalations of similar sort.
        • May 16 2014: I knew I could count on you, thank you so much Lejan, you are a true friend indeed as I already knew. Your perspective is also in alignment with Wikipedia which also gives me more faith in Wikipedia even thou some people do not place a lot of value on it as I do. It has it's faults but because it is current and constantly under supervision of a group of diverse people, I use it often, not as a gospel but as a sign post along the road to truth.

          I do not know how this got past my own value system which ordinarily would have flagged it as neo-Nazi propaganda and tossed it out with the other trash on the net. Well actually it didn't get very far as you see, within 24 hours thanks to you it was flagged and removed.

          I will sleep better tonight, this B.S. rocked my world but I feel a lot better now. Like you I search and research a lot, so this drudged up a slew of atrocities that have happened just in my 65 years on the planet and many before. There is truly enough violence in the world without promoting more, especially if your vision is peace. I am going to go back and watch "The Secret" one more time and get centered again. Thanks again Lejan, you are one of my "travelers", my highest compliment.
      • thumb

        Lejan .

        • +1
        May 17 2014: Glad to know you feel better now!

        It is usual, at least to me, to get confused or insecure at times about informations we gain, especially if one is trying to get to see behind curtains.

        One rule of thumb to me is how much a narrative aims at my emotions, rather than at my intellect, and this video immediately triggered my safety belt to fasten at its very beginning, in which it took exactly 2 minutes and 53 seconds of 'wind noise' and 'sad music' before someone finally begun to say something.

        In video editing, anything done has a specific reason to support the transport of a message or sub-message to the audience. Cleverly done, it gets very difficult at times to remain unaffected by it.

        Another thing which caught my attention was repeated video footage and repeated in a way with different start and end points in hope to become less obvious. They also used the same footage but mirrored, as if that would be less noticeable. Both editing techniques usually indicate for poor journalism and cheesy time and budget stretching attempts.

        Just yesterday this phenomena became once again very clear to me when I was watching an early episode of 'Mythbusters' of season one, which I liked very much, compared to late episodes in late seasons of that same show, which I couldn't watch anymore without extensive use of the video-players fast-forward option, because repetition became that bad at the end alongside other deteriorations to my liking. :o)

        Anyway, I very much appreciate your approach of digging deeper into informations which are unclear to you, as this is how it can only be done. Get as many views as possible, take on any your very grain of salt and pitch and add another flexible piece to an ever dynamic mosaic of your reality.

        Personally I am glad to see that Neo-Nazism has no place in yours! Cheers on that!
        • May 17 2014: I did just what I said I would do, I washed my hands of the filth and watched the movie "The Secret" again to get centered. I then watched the TED talk by Jacob Barnett one more time to steer my ship north again. He is only 14 but has the wisdom of the sages.
          He is not just a genius kid who can do mathematics, he is solving real problems and passing on his wisdom to the world. That is what it is all about, passing it on, making it available to anyone interested. In short sharing. In a world of hoarders, he is breath of fresh air, a true gift to the world. I hope he lives a long and happy life, he seems truly happy now. Like the Dalai Lama he has a serious side but most of the time he is laughing.
  • thumb
    May 14 2014: Malik,
    The "cause" of the BB is unknown at the present time, although there are some interesting ideas being considered (String , M theories , but what "caused" them?) Maybe the cause- effect relation was not turned on at he "trigger moment " of the BB. The BB model has little to say about itself, it describes what happened afterwards.
    "Big Bang" is an awful name for this model most folks think that there was an explosion of sorts going off in a parcel of empty space, It was space expansion- everywhere-it still expanding not over yet.

    BTW Galaxies do recede faster than light. I hope that you enjoy the study of Physics
  • thumb
    May 13 2014: Some scientists believe that the singularity( which banged) was formed by the collision of membranes(Brane cosmology-

    i also suggest you to watch the TV show titled "Through The Wormhole"- WHAT HAPPENED BEFORE THE BEGINNING-
  • May 13 2014: cancel out to a zero charge and a burst of energy - what ever that is. Suggested reading --- Nothingness, The Science of Empty Space by Henning Genz