Tuesday 6 October 2015

Our journey through the universe

Theory of Evolution
What am doing talking about evolution on a travel blog? Well, don’t you think being a part of this universe we are all constantly travelling. The 100 billion galaxies that are known to exist are moving away from each other every second. As someone rightly described it – Imagine a balloon (Universe) with lots of dots on it (Galaxies) and the balloon completely deflated. Those dots are now very close to each other. That’s singularity. Now start pumping air into it (Big Bang) as the balloon (universe) starts expanding those dots (galaxies) start moving away from each other. That is what is happening or has been happening since the universe began. So we are on this never ending (?) journey.  

I often have this debate with my friends. It has always baffled me, the beginning of universe and the theories around it both scientific and religious, although me personally always tend to find the scientific ones more plausible, may be due to the limitations of my brain that understands science better than religion. Universe as we know is roughly 14 billion years old. We human in comparison are only infants. We know there are 100 billion stars in our galaxy and there are 100 billion galaxies out there. That’s huge. We are the most evolved and intelligent species among the known ones to human kind and therefore the question how it all began is perfectly logical. So if I am on an endless journey and I don’t know my destination, at least I have a right to know where my journey started.

 Scientific theories talk about Big Bang Theory and Cyclical Universe to name a couple. People who question the age of the universe usually ask me what happened before 14 billion years ago. If universe is a bus that we were all forced to board given no choice, then where did it come from and who is driving it?  And I really find it difficult to convince them that the question itself is flawed. Time as we now know and comprehend began with the universe. Questions that use the word “Before” is always with respect to time. Therefore to use “Before” to describe something that happened 14 billion years ago itself is wrong. I know it is difficult to digest and it took me a while but if we all agree with the age of universe then you have to just believe in it. Why 14 billion (13.77 to be precise)? If we go by the rate at which galaxies are moving away from each other and work backwards until they start collapsing on each other, it takes us to approximately 14 billion years ago.

Was big bang real or is it just a theory? If we look at the particle accelerator project in Switzerland it simulated the Big Bang in large Hadron Collider and recreated the God’s particle (Higg’s Boson) believed to have existed during the first few seconds of big bang. Won’t go into the details of Higg’s Boson but to put it in simple terms - Without the Higgs field, the universe would just be individual particles zipping around at the speed of light, no atoms of any kind would exist. The Higgs field is everywhere so particles travel through it all the time. However, particles with a greater mass will interact more with the Higgs field than particles with a lower mass. This would explain why two particles, which are the same size, can have different masses.

So to put it in different way what was it that went off with a bang? What was that balloon made up of? Matter? Nope. Singularity? Yes. So before all these 100 billion galaxies were formed it was all condensed into one Singularity? OK, in that case what triggered Big Bang? Don’t know. Will universe one day stop expanding and collapse upon itself causing another singularity? May be. Will there be another big bang from there onward? Possibly. Will the cycle continue? Scientist who believe in cyclical universe say that yes the cycle will continue. What causes singularity and big bang? God? Possibly.

What is my view on it? As I explained earlier looking at the size and age of universe we are only infants. Moreover universe to all of us till date is a mystery or at least the concept of singularity and cause of big bang are mystery to us. We are part of this mystery called – The Universe. If we are part of the mystery then in a way we are contributing to the fact that the mystery remains a mystery. Therefore questioning how it started or what caused it and trying to understand it is paradoxical. On another note I don’t think we are evolved enough to crack the mystery yet, maybe we will someday. And finally we human only understand causality. Which means there always has to be a cause for something. It rains because water evaporates due to heat and forms clouds. We breathe, drink, and eat to survive. Everything that happens around us there is always a cause for it or at least we associate one. We won’t just sit on something and let it happen without consciously or subconsciously knowing the cause for it. That’s human brain for you, very inquisitive. If it is non-causal or let’s say something happened but we don’t know why or how it has to be supernatural. There is one part of me that says, there was no beginning for singularity. It’s eternal. A theory suggest everything in universe is energy. And we know energy can neither be created nor destroyed it can only be transformed from one form to another. So by that logic universe is eternal. It transforms into various forms such as singularity to its current state and possibly back to where it was. So if you want to call that eternal energy God then so be it.  It’s a tough cookie to digest I know and my friends tell me that now I sound like a religious priest, after giving all those scientific theories but finally talking about The Eternal. The answer is we don’t know, or at least we don’t know yet. Till that time we are free to believe in what we want to believe as long as it satisfies our basic urge for causality. Just be careful that during the process you don’t cause self-destruction in the name of God and Religion. Hence why I choose to go the other way and give it a more scientific name and call it eternal energy what some call The God.

I got a feedback from someone who read it and here is what she said – “To sum this up I go back to something comedian Dara O’Brien says:
Science is trying to find answers to questions because science doesn’t know everything yet. If science knew everything then science would stop. Just because there are gaps in our knowledge of this vast universe around us does not mean we can fill in those gaps with whatever fairy tale is currently popular. The last line is particularly important. You don’t get anyone arguing that Odin created the Universe.”


  1. Very well written. Keep up the good work. You have something nice going on here.

  2. I love your thoughts. congratulations