The Conformal Cyclic Cosmology (CCC) is a cosmological model in the framework of general relativity, advanced by the theoretical physicist Sir Roger Penrose.[1][2] In CCC, the universe iterates through infinite cycles, with the future timelike infinity of each previous iteration being identified with the Big Bang singularity of the next.[3] Penrose outlines this theory in his 2010 book Cycles of Time: An Extraordinary New View of the Universe.

Basic construction

Penrose's basic construction[4] is to paste together a countable sequence of open FLRW spacetimes, each representing a big bang followed by an infinite future expansion. Penrose noticed that the past conformal boundary of one copy of FLRW spacetime can be "attached" to the future conformal boundary of another, after an appropriate conformal rescaling. In particular, each individual FLRW metric gab is multiplied by the square of a conformal factor Ω that approaches zero at timelike infinity, effectively "squashing down" the future conformal boundary to a conformally regular hypersurface (which is spacelike if there is a positive cosmological constant, as we currently believe). The result is a new solution to Einstein's equations, which Penrose takes to represent the entire Universe, and which is composed of a sequence of sectors that Penrose calls "aeons."

Physical implications

The significant feature of this construction for particle physics is that, since bosons obey the laws of conformally invariant quantum theory, they will behave in the same way in the rescaled aeons as in the original FLRW counterparts. (Classically, this corresponds to the fact that light cone structure is preserved under conformal rescalings.) For such particles, the boundary between aeons is not a boundary at all, but just a spacelike surface that can be passed across like any other. Fermions, on the other hand, remain confined to a given aeon. This provides a convenient solution to the black hole information paradox; according to Penrose, fermions must be irreversibly converted into radiation during black hole evaporation, to preserve the smoothness of the boundary between aeons.

The curvature properties of Penrose's cosmology are also highly desirable. First, the boundary between aeons satisfies the Weyl curvature hypothesis, thus providing a certain kind of low-entropy past as required by statistical mechanics and by observation. Second, Penrose has calculated that a certain amount of gravitational radiation should be preserved across the boundary between aeons. Penrose suggests this extra gravitational radiation may be enough to explain the observed cosmic acceleration without appeal to a dark energy matter field.

Empirical tests

In 2010, Penrose and V. G. Gurzadyan published a preprint of a paper claiming that observations of the cosmic microwave background made by the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe and the BOOMERanG experiment showed concentric anomalies which were consistent with the CCC hypothesis, with a low probability of the null hypothesis that the observations in question were caused by chance.[5] However, the statistical significance of the claimed detection has since been questioned. Three groups have independently attempted to reproduce these results, but found that the detection of the concentric anomalies was not statistically significant, in the sense that such circles would appear in a proper Gaussian simulation of the anisotropy in the CMB data.[6][7][8] Penrose and Gurzadyan responded that, while the presence of individual circles in the CMB data was not statistically significant, they claim to have found concentric families of circles, the presence of which cannot be found in the random Gaussian simulation of the data.[9]

Conformal Cyclic Cosmology (Roger Penrose)

See also

Conformal geometry

Cyclic model

Black hole information paradox

Cycles of Time: An Extraordinary New View of the Universe by Roger Penrose

References

^ Palmer, Jason (2010-11-27). "Cosmos may show echoes of events before Big Bang". BBC News. Retrieved 2010-11-27.

^ Penrose, Roger (June 2006). "Before the big bang: An outrageous new perspective and its implications for particle physics". Edinburgh, Scotland: Proceedings of EPAC 2006. pp. 2759–2767. Retrieved 2010-11-27.

^ Cartlidge, Edwin (2010-11-19). "Penrose claims to have glimpsed universe before Big Bang". physicsworld.com. Retrieved 2010-11-27.

^ Roger Penrose (2006). "Before the Big Bang: An Outrageous New Perspective and its Implications for Particle Physics". Proceedings of the EPAC 2006, Edinburgh, Scotland: 2759–2762.

^ Gurzadyan VG; Penrose R (2010-11-16). "Concentric circles in WMAP data may provide evidence of violent pre-Big-Bang activity". arXiv:1011.3706 [astro-ph.CO].

^ Wehus IK; Eriksen HK (2010-12-07). "A search for concentric circles in the 7-year WMAP temperature sky maps". arXiv:1012.1268 [astro-ph.CO].

^ Moss A; Scott D; Zibin JP (2010-12-07). "No evidence for anomalously low variance circles on the sky". arXiv:1012.1305 [astro-ph.CO].

^ Hajian A (2010-12-8). "Are There Echoes From The Pre-Big Bang Universe? A Search for Low Variance Circles in the CMB Sky". arXiv:1012.1656 [astro-ph.CO].

^ Gurzadyan VG; Penrose R (2010-12-07). "More on the low variance circles in CMB sky". arXiv:1012.1486 [astro-ph.CO].

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