How is it that the universe is the shape it is now, with the structures it has now? A theory from Penn State says that quantum loops in the early highly compressed universe created all that now exists in this Universe due to fluctuations of space-time.
… The new paradigm of loop quantum origins shows, for the first time, that the large-scale structures we now see in the universe evolved from fundamental fluctuations in the essential quantum nature of “space-time,” which existed even at the very beginning of the universe over 14 billion years ago.
… The new paradigm provides a conceptual and mathematical framework for describing the exotic “quantum-mechanical geometry of space-time” in the very early universe.
The paradigm shows that, during this early era, the universe was compressed to such unimaginable densities that its behavior was ruled not by the classical physics of Einstein’s general theory of relativity, but by an even more fundamental theory that also incorporates the strange dynamics of quantum mechanics.
The density of matter was huge then — 1094 grams per cubic centimeter, as compared with the density of an atomic nucleus today, which is only 1014 grams.
In this bizarre quantum-mechanical environment — where one can speak only of probabilities of events rather than certainties — physical properties naturally would be vastly different from the way we experience them today. Among these differences, Ashtekar said, are the concept of “time,” as well as the changing dynamics of various systems over time as they experience the fabric of quantum geometry itself.
No space observatories have been able to detect anything as long ago and far away as the very early eras of the universe described by the new paradigm. But a few observatories have come close. Cosmic background radiation has been detected in an era when the universe was only 380-thousand years old. By that time, after a period of rapid expansion called “inflation,” the universe had burst out into a much-diluted version of its earlier super-compressed self.
At the beginning of inflation, the density of the universe was a trillion times less than during its infancy, so quantum factors now are much less important in ruling the large-scale dynamics of matter and geometry. …
Observations of the cosmic background radiation show that the universe had a predominantly uniform consistency after inflation, except for a light sprinkling of some regions that were more dense and others that were less dense. ,,,
Even though the quantum-mechanical conditions at the beginning of the universe were vastly different from the classical-physics conditions after inflation, the new achievement by the Penn State physicists reveals a surprising connection between the two different paradigms that describe these eras. When scientists use the inflation paradigm together with Einstein’s equations to model the evolution of the seed-like areas sprinkled throughout the cosmic background radiation, they find that the irregularities serve as seeds that evolve over time into the galaxy clusters and other large-scale structures that we see in the universe today.
Amazingly, when the Penn State scientists used their new loop-quantum-origins paradigm with its quantum-cosmology equations, they found that fundamental fluctuations in the very nature of space at the moment of the Big Bounce evolve to become the seed-like structures seen in the cosmic microwave background.
“Our new work shows that the initial conditions at the very beginning of the universe naturally lead to the large-scale structure of the universe that we observe today,” Ashtekar said. …
Read the full article at the link above on Science Daily. For the theory to be useful, it must make testable predictions. Does it?