1- The theory was developed by a priest
Even though it's the reigning rational model for the existence of everything -- founded entirely on snooty science, with all its proofs and such --
the theory was mostly developed by a Roman Catholic priest (and physicist, and astronomer) named Georges Lemaître. He called it his "hypothesis of
the primeval atom" and he also proposed the idea of an expanding universe. Einstein thought this was crazy, and told Lemaître, "Your calculations
are correct, but your grasp of physics is abominable." Lemaître shrugged off this snub and kept at his work until, at a series of lectures in 1933,
his defense of the big bang theory compelled Einstein himself to stand up, applaud and admit that this was the most satisfactory explanation of
creation he'd ever heard.
2- Edgar Allan Poe envisioned a similar concept back in 1848
Though he didn't know a damn thing about physics -- which was true of just about everybody in 1848 -- Poe wrote a lengthy prose poem called Eureka
that proposed something oddly similar to the big bang, a universe whose beginning came from a single "primordial particle," "absolutely unique,
individual, undivided." The poem was largely regarded as horrible, so horrible that it literally ended some of Poe's friendships. People called it
"ridiculous," "damnable heresy," and one critic claimed it was so bad that it should have caused his house to collapse with its awfulness.
Poor Poe even suggested at one point that "Space and Duration are one," a phrase that sounds curiously like it's about space-time, but it's likely
that nobody noticed, busy as they were bellowing that Poe was a failure.
3- The name "big bang" was meant to sound demeaning
An English astronomer named Sir Fred Hoyle, who believed in the steady state theory of the universe, was the first to use the name "big bang." He
did so during a 1949 radio broadcast, and he attached such a silly, childish title to such a complicated concept pretty much just to mess with people
who believed in it.
The name is pretty obviously derisive if you consider how careful physicists were with their language regarding this stuff. Lemaître, after all,
titled his original report "A Homogeneous Universe of Constant Mass and Growing Radius Accounting for the Radial Velocity of Extragalactic Nebulae."
He wouldn't have been caught dead saying, "Dudes, big bang."
4- There was no "before" the big bang… unless there was
One question that often comes up in this discussion goes something like, "Well, OK, smart guy, if everything came from the big bang, then what was
there before the big bang?" But time is part of space (well, of space-time), which was created by the big bang, so there is no "before."
Or that's what we used to say, but string theory and/or loop quantum gravity might be able to account for circumstances before "time zero," perhaps
even to a pre-big bang universe that catastrophically imploded on itself to yield the stuff that resulted in our universe ("big crunch" > "big
bounce" > "big bang").
5- It provides a time line for the end of the universe
According to the expanding universe model, it's currently 13.7 billion years after the big bang, in what's called the Stelliferous Era. All the eras
that come after this one are terrifying, and have terrifying names (the Degenerate Era, the Black Hole Era, the Dark Era). It probably won't much
matter to us -- the sun will have long since gone all Red Dwarf and destroyed the Earth -- but at around the quadrillion-year mark, there won't be
any more solar systems, planets won't continue to orbit, black holes will overwhelm the universe and then recede, and everything will basically
become a big, blank, eerie void. Some particles will probably be flying around, but they won't be much help to anybody.
The Big Bang: 5 Things You Didn't Know
The author is/was an Entertainment Correspondent so I am not sure how reliable his first 3 points are. Hope you had a good read
[edit on 2-12-2009 by December_Rain]
[edit on 2-12-2009 by December_Rain]