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Astrophysics/The origins of the universe

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Question
I am looking into the origins of the universe and am particularly interested in fluctuations in a quantum vacuum causing the big bang. I was wondering where this energy came from?

Answer
Hi Naomi,

I'm afraid science doesn't have an answer to the origin of the energy contained (and then released) in the quantum fluctuations. Nor does science have a good explanation of what "energy" actually is. Most of the equations (even in quantum field theory) start off with the Lagrangian (or Hamiltonian), which are just ways of writing potential and kinetic energy. But the concept of "energy" is unexplained.
  
From your question, I assume you are adopting the "classic" view of Big Bang cosmology - which is still argumentative. It is 'generally' assumed that the Big Bang occurred some 13.7 billion years ago. Although this idea is believed to be valid by the majority of cosmologists, it is by no means universally accepted. The "Big Bang", based on Hubble's velocity-distance relation and the microwave background radiation, is very much still a theory, and there are alternative theories. Some observations do not support an expanding universe or the Big Bang. There are several references concerning this, but perhaps the most authoritative person is Halton Arp, a leading astronomer and researcher on galaxies, who wrote "Seeing Red". That book is highly recommended to get an alternative view.  Or read "A Different Approach to Cosmology" by Hoyle, Burbidge, and Narlikar.  That's another great book which gives a scientific view on how the universe has always been in a steady state. I've attached a few references from Amazon.co.uk. If you're interested, pick up one or more of these books. And please have an open mind. That's the way science progresses.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Different-Approach-Cosmology-Universe-through/dp/0521019

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Seeing-Red-Redshifts-Cosmology-Academic/dp/0968368905/re

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Quasars-Redshifts-Controversies-Halton-Arp/dp/0521363144

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Catalogue-Discordant-Redshift-Associations-Halton/dp/096

I hope this helps.

Prof. James Gort

Astrophysics

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James Gort

Expertise

Questions on observational astronomy, optics, and astrophysics. Specializing in the evolution of stars, variable stars, supernovae, neuton stars/pulsars, black holes, quasars, and cosmology.

Experience

I was a professional astronomer (University of Texas, McDonald Observatory), lecturer at the Adler Planetarium, professor of astrophysics, and amateur astronomer for 42 years. I have made numerous telescopes, and I am currently building one of the largest private observatories in Canada.

Publications
StarDate, University of Texas, numerous Journal Publications

Education/Credentials
B.A. Physics and Astronomy M.Sc. Physics Ph.D. Astrophysics

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