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Which Parts of the Big Bang Theory are Reliable, and Why?

26 Mar 2014, 12:35 UTC
Which Parts of the Big Bang Theory are Reliable, and Why?
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Familiar throughout our international culture, the “Big Bang” is well-known as the theory that scientists use to describe and explain the history of the universe. But the theory is not a single conceptual unit, and there are parts that are more reliable than others.
It’s important to understand that the theory — a set of equations describing how the universe (more precisely, the observable patch of our universe, which may be a tiny fraction of the universe) changes over time, and leading to sometimes precise predictions for what should, if the theory is right, be observed by humans in the sky — actually consists of different periods, some of which are far more speculative than others. In the more speculative early periods, we must use equations in which we have limited confidence at best; moreover, data relevant to these periods, from observations of the cosmos and from particle physics experiments, is slim to none. In more recent periods, our confidence is very, very strong.
In my “History of the Universe” article [see also my related articles on cosmic inflation, on the Hot Big Bang, and on the pre-inflation period; also a comment that the Big Bang is an expansion, not ...

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