Penrose’s ideas still cause controversy in the scientific community. But who knows, what if amazing artifacts or traces of superintelligence from the distant past have been preserved in our eon? After all, if previous universes really existed, life could also arise in them and reach incredible heights of development. But then, why not encounter in our world the echo of those long-vanished supercivilizations?
Perhaps, somewhere in the depths of space, the greatest discovery awaits us, which will change our ideas not only about the Universe, but also about ourselves.
Scientists have long believed that our Universe has always existed – without beginning or end. Of course, stars could be born and explode in it, planets could collide, civilizations could appear and disappear. But overall the Universe looked constant and unchanging.
However, in the 20th century, discoveries appeared that changed everything
In the 1930s, scientists discovered that the Universe was expanding – meaning it was once smaller. And in the 1960s, evidence emerged that the Universe arose approximately 14 billion years ago as a result of a grand explosion – the same Big Bang.
This discovery forced scientists to think about two important questions:
What happened before the Big Bang? What did the Universe look like before it started expanding?
If the Universe had a beginning, then it must have an end. What will it be like?
One of those who tried to find answers to these questions was the British scientist Roger Penrose which developed a very interesting cosmological concept.
Roger Penrose was born in 1931 in England in the family of a famous scientist. Already as a child, he showed great aptitude for mathematics and was always interested in science.
Penrose received his PhD in Mathematics from the University of Cambridge. But he was always interested in physics and cosmology – the science of the origin and structure of the Universe. He was not afraid to put forward the most daring ideas, even if they seemed strange at first glance.
Together with his colleague Stephen Hawking, Penrose made enormous contributions to the study of black holes. He came up with a theory that explains where the energy of black holes comes from. This discovery earned him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2020.
But Penrose was always interested not only in individual space objects, but also in the Universe as a whole. He was not afraid to express the most daring ideas about how our universe could have originated and what its fate could be.
At 90 years old, Penrose continues to amaze his colleagues with hypotheses and non-standard solutions to the eternal mysteries of the Universe. He made a huge contribution to modern cosmology with his bold ideas and discoveries.
Aeons – Penrose’s unusual theory
Penrose proposed calling the period of existence of our Universe from the Big Bang to its end an “eon.” In his opinion, before our eon there was a previous one, and after ours there will be a next one. And there can be an infinite number of such eons – cycles of life and death of the Universe!
To make it easier to imagine Penrose’s idea, we can compare eons with familiar cycles in nature. For example, the regular change of day and night or seasons also resembles the cycles of life and death.
Day gives way to night, and then morning comes again. Spring gives way to summer, autumn and winter, after which spring comes again. These cycles repeat endlessly. Moreover, each new day or year is different from the previous one, although it is subject to the same laws of nature.
So the eons, according to Penrose, go one after another: our eon will be replaced by the next one, then another one, and so on. Each new universe will be unique, but they are all links of one endless chain, the laws of which are unknown to us. But familiar cycles in nature give us the opportunity to at least partially experience this amazing idea.
Such simple analogies will help make the abstract concept of eons more accessible to understanding.
What if our eon ends
When our eon ends, all matter in the Universe will disintegrate into elementary particles, and the last photons will disappear into expanding space. So our Universe will turn into emptiness, devoid of movement and time.
But then, in this emptiness, a new Big Bang will suddenly occur, which will give rise to the next eon and a new Universe! And this can be repeated over and over again, forever.
This idea very simply explains what happened before our Universe and what will happen after. It also helps us understand why different parts of the modern Universe look roughly the same. After all, before the appearance of our eon, all the parts were “mixed” in the previous Universe.
But how can we test whether the Penrose hypothesis is correct?
He believes that we can find traces of previous eons.
For example, Penrose suggests that at the end of each eon, all the matter in the Universe is swallowed up by giant black holes. These supermassive black holes collide and eventually merge in a fantastic explosion, launching a new eon.
Such an event would generate very powerful gravitational waves. Their “echoes” can even reach our eon! If we find unexplained gravitational disturbances in our Universe, this will be an indication of past eons.
In addition, traces of previous eons can be preserved in the cosmic microwave background radiation – a kind of “echo” of the Big Bang. Some scientists have already found strange ring-shaped areas in the relict background. They appear to have been formed by ancient gravitational waves.
However, most cosmologists are still skeptical about Penrose’s ideas. They consider the scenario involving a collision of supermassive black holes to be unlikely.
In their opinion, black holes should disappear due to evaporation even before they have time to collide. So at the end of the eon, the Universe will simply be filled with high-energy radiation, not black holes.
To prove Penrose right, more accurate observations and calculations are needed. Perhaps in the future it will be possible to unambiguously confirm the existence of previous eons. It would be a scientific sensation.
In any case, Penrose’s ideas are very interesting. They allow us to take a new look at the nature of the Universe and its past. Even if the eons hypothesis is ultimately not confirmed, it forces scientists to ponder surprising questions about where we came from and where we are going.
In fact, Penrose’s ideas fit well with other modern “parallel universe” hypotheses. Perhaps our Universe appeared from the collision of black holes in some other dimension. This dimension still exists somewhere near us, but we lost all contact with it after the Big Bang.
One way or another, modern science offers us some ideas about the structure of reality. A huge number of universes can give birth to each other, expand, die and be born again. And in one of the infinite universes there must have been ideal conditions for the emergence of life and intelligence capable of comprehending all the beauty and complexity of the surrounding world.
The main problems and inconsistencies in Penrose’s theory of cyclic eons:
There is no explanation for the root cause of the cycles
Penrose’s theory does not answer what triggers the very first cycle of aeons. Where did that “primary Universe” come from, which eventually turned into a singularity and exploded with the Big Bang, giving rise to a series of eons? This is the main philosophical problem of the theory.
According to the theory, physical laws should be the same in every eon. But why can’t they change? After all, the conditions of the Big Bang are different in each case.
The problematic nature of “black holes” at the end of the eon
Penrose believes that eons end with the absorption of matter by black holes. However, many scientists point out that due to the evaporation of black holes, they should disappear before they have time to collide.
According to scientists, there is no unambiguous experimental confirmation of Penrose’s ideas, for example, gravitational waves from collisions of black holes in the past eon. Perhaps they are simply undetectable.
Contradicts other theories
The cyclic eon hypothesis goes against the inflationary cosmological model and string theory that are now considered fundamental. It is not yet clear how to reconcile them. But at the end, one untestable hypothesis (the big bang) gives rise to other untestable hypotheses (the Pentrose-Hawking bead game).
The theories of the appearance of the universe are all equally unreliable. Where was the singularity? Why did it lose stability and explode? In what space is the entire set of parallel universes located and does it have boundaries? If so, then with what? Our science is like a ciliate that has decided to describe the world ocean and all the interactions occurring in it.
Thus, despite its elegance, Penrose’s theory still raises many questions in the scientific community. Perhaps over time, answers to these problems and inconsistencies will appear. In the meantime, the hypothesis of cyclic eons remains entertaining, but debatable.