According to a news item this week it seems that both CBS television and the City of London may need to do some serious rebranding, and they might even have to rename the Hubble Space Telescope. Though mathematicians and physicists will no doubt be pleased because now they won’t have to invent weird stuff to make their equations work at the instant of creation.
According to the article, some scientists and astronomers are coming round to the opinion of Christof Wetterich at Heidelberg University that there never was a “Big Bang” – instead, Edwin Hubble was wrong and the Universe is pretty much static and is not expanding. Christof suggests that the red shift in the color of stars, which Hubble used as proof of the expansion, is due instead to changes in atomic mass rather than acceleration away from us.
Therefore the Universe couldn’t have started from a singularity that exploded. Though they do admit that it might be a combination of the two factors; the Universe is slowly expanding as well as the atoms in it changing their mass. So, maybe there was a Big Bang but – like a car running out of petrol – everything gradually came to a stop. Perhaps this lends support to Stephen Hawkins suggestion that the Universe will stop expanding and start to contract again, leading to the Big Crunch where everything goes back to being a singular point – and then explodes in a new Big Bang.
But I suppose it will make space travel much simpler in the future. Instead of worrying how humans will survive the long journey to the nearest solar system, we can just wait till it comes nearer…