Here’s a strange theory: our universe has a mirror image where time runs backwards. If a mirror image of our universe existed before the big bang, it might simplify a lot of things in physics.
Like a mountain looming over a calm lake, it seems the universe may once have had a perfect mirror image. That’s the conclusion a team of Canadian scientists reached after extrapolating the laws of the universe both before and after the Big Bang.
Physicists have a pretty good idea of the structure of the universe just a couple of seconds after the Big Bang, moving forward to today. In many ways, fundamental physics then worked as it does today. But experts have argued for decades about what happened in that first moment — when the tiny, infinitely dense speck of matter first expanded outward — often presuming that basic physics were somehow altered.
Researchers Latham Boyle, Kieran Finn and Neil Turok at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario, have turned this idea on its head by assuming the universe has always been fundamentally symmetrical and simple, then mathematically extrapolating into that first moment after the Big Bang.
That led them to propose a previous universe that was a mirror image of our current one, except with everything reversed. Time went backward and particles were antiparticles. It’s not the first time physicists have envisioned another universe before the Big Bang, but those were always seen as separate universes much like our own.
“Instead of saying there was a different universe before the bang,” Turok told Live Science, “we’re saying that the universe before the bang is actually, in some sense, an image of the universe after the bang.”
“It’s like our universe today were reflected through the Big Bang. The period before the universe was really the reflection through the bang,” Boyle said.
Imagine cracking an egg in this anti-universe. First, it would be made entirely of negatively charged antiprotons and positively charged anti-electrons.
Secondly, from our perspective in time, it would seem to go from a puddle of yolk to a cracked egg to an uncracked egg to inside the chicken. Similarly, the universe would go from exploding outward to a Big Bang singularity and then exploding into our universe.
But seen another way, both universes were created at the Big Bang and exploded simultaneously backward and forward in time.
This dichotomy allows for some creative explanations to problems that have stumped physicists for years. For one, it would make the first second of the universe fairly simple, removing the necessity for the bizarre multiverses and dimensions experts have used for three decades to explain some of the stickier aspects of quantum physics and the Standard Model, which describes the zoo of subatomic particles that make up our universe. …
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Is there such a thing as time running in reverse? If so, I can’t visualize it, but to people in such a universe, we would seem impossible, I suppose.