(Drawing by Minty Sainsbury)

Singularities don’t make much sense in maths, so why do we force them to make sense in physics?

Departing from singularities for a moment and looking at scales…

It’s intuitive for us to build things from small building blocks: we start small and work upwards.

But what if we tried measuring everything the other way around; starting from the whole, always?

For example, we know that the speed of light is obtainable, whilst total stillness isn’t: the closer we try to get to it, the further away it seems.

Maybe all speeds would be better measured as fractions of c, with the singularity of “0” considered the “far”, unreachable end of the spectrum.

Singularities inevitably emerge when we calculate from fundamental building blocks at the wrong end of the scale — building from the smallness, rather than the whole.

Perhaps we ought to view our universe in the same way too: beginning with the whole and then scaling down to the details as a consequence of the whole, rather than the other way around.

In this thinking, a universe that began from a Big Bang singularity doesn’t make any sense. Rather, comprehending a “beginning” (not that a “beginning” makes too much sense should there be enough symmetry) might be better achieved by considering a homogenous, extended whole, from which the details are then derived.

These ideas correlate more with the evidence in my view. The fact that the largest super-massive black holes exist far away, in the distant past makes more sense as being the consequence of long, slow vibrations within the whole, rather than the consequence of a singularity exploding, for example.

We observe the universe to be expanding from our relativistic viewpoint, and in this sense, it feels more reasonable to me not that the so-called Big Bang was the beginning of the whole universe; rather that it was the end point of a deflationary process, and that we’re now heading back towards the expanded “beginning”.

The Big Bang is more of an ending or a passing phase than a start. Even those who came up with the theories of expansion didn’t like extrapolating it all the way back to zero.

Also to consider is the aspect of the Hubble radius not being fixed in relation to the scale factor of our patch of the universe — it’s relative. From the perspective of a different observer, we could be in a patch of space with a Hubble radius shrinking faster than our patch is shrinking, and it could therefore very well appear to us that our locality is expanding, whilst, from elsewhere, it seems to be doing the opposite.

Something that I’m keen to think about more is the path of entropy in all of this. Does entropy only increase in an expanding universe? Does entropy get isolated in collapsing bubbles of universe? Within these bubbles, do gravitational degrees of freedom distribute to matter degrees of freedom, whilst, outside of these bubbles, the opposite process occurs? Or is it the other way around? Is entropy relativistic? Should I be answering my 600 unopened emails? Probably.

Science Storyteller, Environmentalist, Teacher, Normal Guy // MChem (Oxon) // co-founder of AimHi

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