Most scientists believe that the universe started through a big bang. The theory states that around 13.7 billion years ago, all matter in the universe was concentrated into a single, tiny point. It states that the universe began to expand rapidly through a hot and huge explosion, and is still expanding today. The Big Bang was also believed as the reason why space and time were created.
As the most probable scientific theory of the origin of the universe, the Big Bang theory is supported by big evidences. The detected presence of a cosmic microwave background radiation nowadays is thought to be the heat left from the original explosion. Check out other interesting facts about the Big Bang theory.
1. One of the first scientists who formulated the theory was a Catholic priest.
The “Father of the Big Bang” theory proved that religion and science did not need to be incompatible. In addition to his work as a Belgian Catholic priest, Georges Lemaître was also an astronomer and cosmologist who studied Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity and observed some of the conditions of the early cosmos in the 1920s to 30s. Through that, he theorized that the redshift of galaxies could be caused by expansion of the universe, and that there must have been an initial moment of creation at the beginning. Through decades, it was known as as either the “primeval atom” or the “cosmic egg.”
2. Lemaître’s theory was outright dismissed by Einstein.
Although the idea was guided by his theory of relativity, Einstein dismissed Lemaître’s work in 1927. He was impressed with Lemaître’s findings but was not swayed, saying “Vos calculs sont corrects, mais votre physique est abominable,” which in English means, “your calculations are correct, but your physics is abominable!”
3. When Edwin Hubble proved that the universe is expanding; the Big Bang was considered as a serious theory.
Lemaître’s initial discovery has become what was eventually known as the Hubble’s law. Many scientists before Einstein thought that the cosmos was made up entirely of the Milky Way galaxy. But in 1920s, Edwin Hubble refuted it as he observed nebulae that were too distant to be part of our galaxy, and were in fact, galaxies of their own.
Hubble further proved that other galaxies are moving away from our galaxy at a speed directly proportionate to their distance from us – making the Hubble’s Law. This was consistent with the idea of the Big Bang that if the universe is currently expanding, then it was smaller, denser and more uniform in the past.
4. The term “Big Bang” was actually coined by its leading critic and proponent of an alternative theory.
Fred Hoyle, a proponent of the Steady-State Theory, was making a different prediction where he believed the universe continues forever without a beginning. His idea was actually the leading theory since the 1940s to the 60s. During a 1949 radio interview with the BBC, Hoyle considered the explosion idea preposterous, saying, “This big bang idea seemed to me to be unsatisfactory even before detailed examination showed that it leads to serious difficulties.” He meant the term to be derisive but it has become catchy, and now we’re stuck with it.
5. The theory explains where all hydrogen and helium came from.
Basing on the big bang concept for the origin of the universe, Ralph Alpher and George Glamow published a dissertation in the 1940s, which calculated that the early cosmos was hot and dense enough to make all the helium, lithium and deuterium present in the universe today. Known as the “Big Bang nucleosynthesis theory,” advanced research on it demonstrated where primoridial hydrogen came from. Their work provided further evidence and successful predictions that the Big Bang theory might be correct.