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The Question

(Submitted October 01, 2003)

Scientists mention the Big Bang theory often, and i have clearly read about the subject many times, but no one seems to say what the beginning REALLY was. They always say that when the Big Bang occurred, is when time started. But surly there must have been a 'time before the big bang'...What I mean is, where did the matter and energy come from before the explosion occurred? How DID something (matter and energy) come from nothing? I don't see how something can just be without something to create it. What is the TRUE beginning? I understand if you don't have all the answers. but please try and give me your point of view.

The Answer

One thing to remember is that the way it appears our universe works, there is no way for information from any past universe to get to us. Also, if our universe were to collapse into a big crunch, which seems pretty unlikely with what we know presently, any information in this universe would be destroyed, and no information would be transmitted into the next universe.

So, as far as anything we can know, the universe started with a big bang (or rapid expansion from a very hot dense state) about 13.7 billion years ago.

Hope this helps,
Michael Arida for Ask an Astrophysicist

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