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General Introduction Introduction to Research and Analysis Introducing Entropy 1. 2. 3. 4.
What is Entropy? Specific Entropy Entropy and Gravity Conclusions about Entropy
Evidence about the Universe 5. Evidence for Models of the Universe 6. What is the Red-shift? 7. The First Law and the Red-shift The Big Bang Theory 8. What is the Big Bang? 9. The Nature of the Big Bang 10. The Entropy of a Closed Universe 11. The Entropy of Open and Flat Universes Variations of the Big Bang Theory 12. What is an Oscillating Universe? 13. The Entropy of an Oscillating Universe 14. The Cosmological Constant 15. What is Inflation? 16. The Entropy of Inflation Other theories of the Universe 17. The Steady State 18. Religeous Theories 19. The Positive Alternative
Conclusion and Evaluation Bibliography
"Publish and be damned!" A. Wellesley When I was seventeen, I had to do a project on entropy as part of my A-level physics course. This report was the result, and through dint of getting carried away with the research and getting about three times as much information as I could possibly use, gave me top marks. After that, it got pushed away and forgotten, until several years later I rediscovered it when looking through old files on my computer. Despite the extra distance that time gives, it still seemed pretty correct and interesting, so I decided that it would be a good thing to put it on my website so that other people could read it as well. I make no pretense that this report is groundbreaking, novel or indeed accurate; it merely summarises the position as I saw, from the information I could gather at that time. Nonetheless, I hope you enjoy it.
Introduction to Research and Analysis
"A beginning, a muddle, and an end." D. Larkin This investigation deals with the relationship between entropy and the universe as a whole. In particular, emphasis is given to what entropy can tell us about the nature of the universe and to the role it plays in the models of the universe used by cosmologists. For reasons of clarity, I split the project into five sections - 'Introducing Entropy', 'Evidence about the Universe', 'The Big Bang Theory', 'Variations of the Big Bang Theory', and 'Other Theories of the Universe'. As no publications dealt directly with my topic, I used parts of many books. Reference to which books is providing which information on the same page would take up too much space within the text. Therefore I decided to include a page in the bibliography, linking the pages with a code for the books used. When I have included my own views or ideas in the project, I have tried to
make that clear in the text. These ideas are also uncoded in the pages relating ideas and resource books. Where books contradict each other I have, in order to save space, taken the view of the majority of the books, unless I believed there was a good reason to include the other view. For the sake of brevity, I have also missed out books which did not help me in my project, although I consulted them when looking for information. I have avoided using excessive diagrams in this project, as when diagrams were included in my reference books, they rarely made things any clearer and usually confused the issue. In particular, the books usually only managed to give good illustrations of analogies with the universe, not of models of the universe itself - if it is hard to visualise the beginning of everything, it is even harder to give a good impression of it in a two dimensional picture. Instead, I have tried to keep my writing as concise as possible. I hope you enjoy and learn as much from reading the project as I did researching it.
What is Entropy?
"If things look bad, I always think: 'It could be worse.' And sure enough, it gets worse." R. Asprin The actions of anything, from the flight of an insect to the movements of the largest galaxies, are caused by energy changes. If we are to comprehend the universe, it is vital to understand energy and the rules governing it. In particular, it is vital to understand the laws of thermodynamics. The first of these laws tells us there is a fixed amount of energy in the universe. Energy can be changed from one form to another, but never created or destroyed. Energy which appears to have disappeared has in fact been converted into a form we cannot detect - for example, sound energy seems to be lost, but really turns into minute quantities of heat. Although energy cannot be destroyed, it is of little use to anyone if it cannot make things happen. Unfortunately, the second law of thermodynamics tells us all energy changes decrease the amount of useful energy in the universe. Consider a box of small magnets. If the small magnets are lined up in the same direction, as a group they can attract other metal objects. If they are not lined
with maximum entropy. for both magnets and energy. the slower and more carefully you make the exchange. But why doesn't entropy (the disorder) decrease? What prevents only those magnets facing the wrong way being turned round? This could happen in two ways 1. there are a lot more ways in which things can be disordered than ways in which they can be ordered. imagine you must move them to a different box in order to use them.the entropy in the system always increases. With the many millions of atoms in any system. For example. individual magnets cancel each other's effect and cannot do useful work. However. Thus entropy would increase on the whole. entropy will never decrease. as anyone tries to order the system. you may put some into the new box the wrong way round . As the entropy increases.up in the same direction. Continuing with the concept of the magnets. it is more likely that you win the national lottery jackpot four times in a row than that they all point the same way by chance. With one hundred magnets. although the twelve men below all have the same strength. Otherwise it could happen by chance. say. The same is true of energy .and so the system's entropy decrease would be balanced by a hefty increase in that person's entropy. the fewer mistakes you will make. that person is doing work .it is useful when it is ordered. but when it is disordered. . This means it is practically impossible an ordered arrangement will appear by accident and practically certain any ordered arrangement will become less ordered. The same is true of energy . There is no definite value of entropy for a given system (as there is for. unless the rate of change is infinitesimally small. When there is zero entropy. as entropy is a purely statistical measure. As you are moving them. its effects cancel each other out. all the energy can be used. mass). This is very unlikely because. 2. available energy decreases until. the 'ordered' six can push a lorry (useful work) and the other six cannot. no useful energy is available. Of course.the useful energy will then have decreased. The first possibility is that someone decides to increase the order in the system. Entropy is a measure of the lack of order in the energy. for all intents and purposes.
tend towards a state with maximum entropy. therefore. The rest of this project grapples with the remaining conundrums of entropy namely. we couldn't scale it up to the size of the universe. why was the universe so ordered in the first place. All hot objects tend to give out electromagnetic radiation (light) .All systems.the hotter the object is. Therefore photon numbers are a good indicator of the amount of entropy. Even if we could measure a region's entropy accurately. 3. counting them all is impossible. less and less of it can be used to do work. measuring entropy on the scale of the universe presents many problems 1. so all energy tends to become heat. as entropy increases." R. and in so doing. nor the size of the universe to scale it up to. although the energy in the universe remains constant. why it makes sense. so the number of photons will increase. In most cases heat is the energy form with most entropy. 2. the number of photons is likely to be fairly uniform throughout space. We cannot physically measure the 'useful' energy or the heat energy even in nearby stars. how much (or how little) order is left in the universe. Although we can roughly infer the heat energy of a region of space. . We know neither if that region of space reflects the universe's entropy as a whole. let alone the rest of the universe. Kipling So far I have discussed the fact that. However. Thus an object with maximum entropy is completely homogenous (same throughout) in terms of temperature and has no energy but heat. As heat increases anywhere. Before I define it. Instead we can count their numbers in a given volume of space. due to its radiation. we cannot measure the level of heat accurately. As photons travel very fast and move through a vacuum. The specific entropy of the universe helps solve these problems. any heat differences will decrease. the more photons (units of radiation) are given off. which can be used to do work). and where does the universe go on from here? Specific Entropy "There is a measure in all things made. I will explain how the idea was developed. Though the entropy of a small system is easy to calculate (compare the 'useful' energy to the heat energy within it). As a heat difference has some order (the heat flows in one direction.
The specific entropy is an important tool in understanding the universe. The laws of relativity state that mass distorts space-time. none of the books I have read give a good explanation of this problem. By generalising the problem. They either ignore the problem or toy (briefly) with the idea that the universe 'prefers' to be gravitationally dimpled.we need to count the numbers of photons relative to something which remains constant. every one of which is seemingly refuting the second law of thermodynamnics. but instead stars form. gravitationally dimpled means space-time is distorted a lot. to dimple the universe matter must move together . the greater the distortion. accurately defined and easily measurable idea of the universe's entropy. though. the larger the mass. To clarify. In resolving this problem.gravity really gets me down. If gravity contradicts entropy. Entropy of Gravity "Make no mistake . I worked out a good reason why gravity works.This idea runs into problems when we realise that in most models of the universe space is not static but expanding. However. I was initially side-tracked into wondering how gravitational dimpling could effect entropy in any case and came to the conclusion it could not. because it gives a consistant. The proton (a fundamental particle found in the centre of atoms) was chosen for this task. The photon to proton ratio is called the specific entropy and is used to approximate the true entropy of the universe. The universe should be on the way to become a homogenous mass of matter with a uniform temperature. Looking up to the heavens. Electromagnetism (the force responsible for the effects of magnets and . then surely all other forces should also do so. Even if the number of photons in the universe stays the same. their numbers in a fixed volume would vary ." Anon. Therefore. which are so hot and massive that they are seen millions of light-years away. one can see millions upon millions of stars.the explanation is no more than the original problem formulated in a different way.
so let's consider this. Even where matter seems to exert a force to create energy changes. I would like to correct one illustrative example which is given in most books about thermodynamics.there should be an entropy rise due to an increase in any force carrying particles. not the particles themselves. Specific entropy therefore should be the ratio of force carrying particles to protons . As any force acts. mixing gases is not an example of the second law itself. However. and so does the universe's entropy. the specific entropy rises. I have included it as it is elegant and could have been relevant. but by the energy in the matter. it shows the statistical . so the specific entropy must rise. Rather. which is always worth keeping in mind when considering the many conflicting views of the universe's nature. that particle is a photon. On the same line. They claim entropy rises when two gases are mixed. Pressure. photons are produced. because matter is getting more organised. it is not caused by the matter. When electromagnetism is used. indeed with the entire question I was trying to answer. Now let's think back to the specific entropy . but is caused by the kinetic energy of the particles. for example. Moreover. The problem lies in accepting the books' claim that star formation causes an entropy contradiction. The second law definitely allows star formation . In the light of what has been said. can be used to do work. This is clearly irrelevant.the ratio of photons to protons. The arrangement of matter has really no bearing on the energy changes and thus entropy. Yet what is true of one force should be true of them all . because the laws of thermodynamics deal purely with energy change.the photon to proton ratio was an over-simplification. The only reason for my argument was to reconcile star formation with entropy.electricity) is probably the best known of these other forces. it does so by exchanging a force particle. Even if the argument was correct. it was clearly superfluous. Although Boltzmann did his initial experiments on gases and extrapolated the principles he learnt from them when formulating the second law. In this case. this is incorrect.gravitational energy becomes energy with greater entropy (usually heat) as the star forms and the excess heat is radiated away as light to decrease the heat difference created. When an electromagnetic force is used (say a magnet picks up a paper clip). it is important to show how reasonable sounding arguments can arise from mistaken assumptions. Yet there are problems with this view of gravity.
the stars are pouring out energy. 42. the question remains . giving gravity a good theoretical basis is vital.. However.processes involved in governing the second law. This idea is supported by the fact that our planet hosts complex life. though estimates vary from a thousand years to infinitely long). the entropy of a black hole is much greater. the sun will produce an increase of about 106 photons for each proton within it. When we compare the amount of entropy that is produced now to the vast quantities which were produced in the past. stars will burn up and be swallowed up by black holes. The best explanation is the . more and more energy will become unavailable heat. Conclusions about entropy "The answer to life. The universe at present has 1010 photons per proton. The conventional view is that we live in a low entropy universe. and that entropy was increased by a different mechanism then compared to now. the universe as we know it will die a heat death.. Adams We have discussed what specific entropy is and how gravitational entropy works. and the books should claim only this. Specific entropy. scientists believe there can only have been (at most) two or three stars before the current set of stars. but we have not explained what entropy actually tells us about the universe we live in. the universe and everything is . compared to what it was in the past. By counting the abundance of different elements in our sun. As entropy increases. Over its life span. in fact all the visible universe is fantastically intricate. on the other hand.whatever state of entropy we have at present. This indicates that the entropy increase today is only marginal. so why isn't there a black hole here? Although they take time to form. there have been at least 15 million years available (current estimate according to the big bang theory. as gravity is the only force strong enough to act between stars and so hold the universe together. In particular. we must conclude (in all but the smallest details) that the 'heat death' has already occurred." D. gives a vastly different view. The insights gained in both gravity and entropy are clearly important. This is ten thousand times as much specific entropy as the entire sun has or will ever produce.
for example. Evidence for Models of the Universe "No evidence can be read less than three ways. no humans would be there to question its absence . the theory behind a good model should not contravene any accepted fundamental physical laws (a model. If there was a black hole here. The big bang theory claims these were formed in the heat of the big bang. Few further conclusions can be drawn from entropy alone without having an idea of how the universe has evolved. and is discussed in greater depth further on. The last question could only be answered within the framework of a universe model (in this case the big bang theory). Additionally. Secondly.so there can't be a black hole. The big bang theory states it is the light from the big bang red-shifted to a fantastic extent. It should ideally only use existing and experimentally proven physical laws (there is no point in creating new laws that may or may not exist). For this reason. which demands something moving faster than light-speed would be suspect). Finally. it should be capable of making . in the proportions that are close to those existing in the universe (which in turn suggests they formed these elements). The helium abundance has its origin in nuclear synthesis (formation of the elements in the stars). it shows us that all the stars in the sky are moving away from us. so the universe was denser in the past than it is now. This implies that all stars are receding from each other. The red-shift is the most important physical evidence. as this is the most accepted theory. C. I do not want to dwell on these. This laid the groundwork for models showing an expanding universe. a good model of the universe should have several particular features. yet I will briefly mention all the main effects and how the big bang theory explains them. in that it logically follows on from Einstein's theory of relativity and a small number of assumptions. The big bang theory is in accordance with this. we will now look at how entropy works in the context of different models of the universe. In essence. The infra-red background radiation is uniform heat radiation found everywhere in space. but there is too large a proportion of helium." A. lithium and other light elements.anthropic principle. Doyle A good model of the universe has to explain a number of physical effects. Stars create all elements naturally during their lifetime.
the frequency of the light we observe is . Although I so far have only mentioned how the big bang model would explain these effects. Coleridge The red-shift is an effect which all theories of the universe's evolution must account for. imagine the hydrogen in the star giving off particular frequencies of light . I feel I should spend a little time exploring it further. If the star is at rest relative to earth. Every five seconds you splash the water to produce a ripple. like god's own head.its emission spectrum. the glorious sun uprist. each new ripple would have to travel a shorter distance than the one preceding it. the observer would not necessarily see a ripple every five seconds." S. and the observer earth. as the most important factor in understanding the universe is without doubt the red-shift. This takes longer and the frequency decreases. I have therefore decided to devote a little space to investigate it. If you are moving towards the observer. However. Imagine now that the boat is a star. If you are moving away. however. the star is moving. Instead of the person regularly creating ripples. but if the theory cannot be proven or disproven. An observer at the lake's edge would notice a ripple coming from you every five seconds. What is the Red-shift? "Nor dim nor red. Imagine you are in a boat on a lake. the frequency of the ripples' arrival would increase. many comprehensive models of the universe explain most if not all of them equally well.predictions which can then be tested (it is all very well to theorise about the moon being made of green cheese. that is what we would expect to see from hydrogen. As this will take less time. However. each ripple must travel further than the ripple preceding it. if you are moving. If. it is useless). the lake space. T.
first we must define terms. This means energy is created when light is blue-shifted. when colliding with an object." W.shifts respectively. We must resolve this problem. Working through the problem mathematically. As blue has a high and red a low frequency. an observer on earth can work out the speed and direction the stars are travelling relative to us. these changes are called blue-shifts and red. If the star comes towards earth. the higher the energy.different. and destroyed when light is redshifted. This means.the universe is expanding. Objects moving quickly away from the photon source gain more kinetic energy. they always give it the same momentum increase. Scientists have found that all the galaxies in the universe are rushing away from each other . and came up with the following theory. My hypothesis is that the kinetic energy gained or lost corresponds to that lost or gained in the red. As the emission spectrum of hydrogen is the same throughout the universe.. Shakespeare The red-shift of light seemingly contradicts one of the most fundamental laws of science . Photons have a mass and travel at the same speed relative to all objects.. however is not constant. I decided to try to find a plausible way this could happen.the first law of thermodynamics.or blue-shift of that photon. The kinetic energy gained. but it decreases if the star is moving away.the higher the frequency. General c = speed h = Planck's R(v) = red-shift for a given velocity Photon of light constant . objects moving towards the source loose kinetic energy and the change in kinetic energy is hardly noticeable to objects remaining still. The First Law and the Red-shift "Make the green one red. Yet the red-shift violates the first law of thermodynamics. the frequency becomes higher. The energy of light is dependant on its frequency . whatever its speed.
(8) 4. 17) . 7) = = (hFº)(R(v)) (10) = = (hFº/c)(R(v)) (11) = ½ mv² (12) = mv (13) (from 2. 9. 3) = 0 (14) = 0 (15) = mv + (hFº/c) (16) = (hFº/c)(R(v)) (17) (from 3. 8. 5) x = = hF E/c mv R(v) (1) ½mv²(2) (3) (4) (5) 1.v/c) / (1-v²/c²)½ (6) Thus we get the following. 16. F¹ = Fº Kinetic Energy p = mv E = p = R(v) = (1. 14) = v + (hFº/c)(1/m) (18) = (hFº/c)(R(v))(1/m) (19) (from 3. p Eº Pº E¹ P¹ eº pº e¹ p¹ pº p¹ vº v¹ = = hF/c = hFº/c hF¹ hF¹/c (7) (9) (from hFº (from 4.F E P = momentum Object hit = = frequency energy e p v = velocity Modifiers = = energy momentum º means ¹ means after red-shift before before red-shift collision normal typeface means bold typeface means after collision Then we must decide what formulae we need to use. 13.
hFº R(v) (25) These should be the same. So.R²(v)) » 0 at low speeds. 1 . when examining entropy and the universe. vhFº/c + (h²Fº²/2mc²) . (eº . 19) eº . so combining (22) and (23).R²(v)) = R(v) (rearranging) .R²(v)hFº/2mc² = 1 .Eº = hFº . 1 .eº = ½m (v + (hFº/c)(1/m))² .hFº R(v) (remove hFº) As h/c² » 0 and (1 . This is.R²(v)h²Fº²/2mc² = hFº v/c + (hFº/2mc²) . E¹ . 21) e¹ . the big bang and its countless variations are the dominant theories in cosmology. the big bang theory is clearly the point to start.(e¹ . According to the standard model." Editorial title.e¹) = vhFº/c + (h²Fº²/2mc²) . therefore.v/c + (hFº/2mc²)(1 . What is the Big Bang? "Down with the Big Bang.eº) . Nature.v/c » (1.e¹ = (h²Fº²/c²)(R²(v))(1/2m) .R²(v)h²Fº²/2mc² (24) and the energy lost or gained by the photon in the red-shift is. space and matter were all created in . 14. although more work is required to prove the matter beyond all reasonable doubt. This vindicates my hypothesis that the two are the same. The 'standard model' is the simplest version.v/c) / (1-v²/c²)½ As this is evidently true. we can assume (hFº/2mc²)(1 R²(v)) » 0. For this reason. Time.v/c » R(v).0 = R²(v)h²Fº²/2mc² (23) Combining (22) and (23) shows us the difference in kinetic energy viewed with respect to the object. 20. 1989 At present.½ mv² = vhFº/c + (h²Fº²/2mc²) (22) (from 12. and the object emitting the photon. the universe was born in a massive explosion about 15 thousand million years ago.R(v) 1 . 18. the energy change in the red-shift equals the change in kinetic energy relative to the photon source.eº = ½m (v + (hFº/c)(1/m))² (20) e¹ = ½m ((hFº/c)(R(v))(1/m))² (21) (from 2.
then think about entropy and its effect in open. Whistler The nature of a big bang universe is a description of how its space-time is warped overall.the universe may just stop expanding in (infinite) time. everything must collapse back into a singularity. the hotter and denser the matter is and the more tentative our knowledge of the particle physics involved at that stage becomes. The universe may be balanced exactly between the two forces . Gravity may be strong enough to reverse the expansion and the universe will collapse back to a singularity." J. As the universe expanded. About 700. it will not necessarily always continue expanding. I will consider the nature of a big bang universe. Cosmologists still do not know what happened at the actual moment of the big bang. 1. What happens after the big bang is easier to work out. flat or closed) and tells us whether the universe is finite of infinite.an infinitely hot and dense fireball. because the gravitational force is not strong enough to halt the expansion. If the universe is closed. This is called an open universe and is judged the most likely possibility by observational evidence. The Nature of a Big Bang Universe "Nature is usually wrong. It depends on what 'shape' the universe is (open. Although the universe has been expanding ever since the big bang. but never contract. This is called a closed universe. 2. which gave rise to the first stars. Fluctuations from place to place in the density or expansion rate of the smooth and featureless universe created slight matter imbalances. As space is defined as somewhere which has the potential for matter or energy to . The closer to the big bang they investigate.000 years later. the matter within it became cooler and less dense. temperatures had dropped enough to let stable atoms form. no light can escape the universe's gravitational pull. flat or closed universes. The fate of the universe depends on how strong this retarding force is. This is a flat universe. The temperature dropped from 1011 °K at the time of one hundredth of a second after the big bang to 1010 °K one second later and then to 109 °K three minutes after the big bang. 3. because gravity is pulling everything back together. The universe may expand forever. There are three possibilities. First. As this includes light.
or what shapes it. As the observable universe has a density larger than zero and the universe as a whole is homogenous (a key assumption in the big bang theory). but still expand forever. The larger an object is. To my mind this raises a contradiction. like the surface of a sphere. in case my argument is flawed. Although in my opinion the idea of an infinite universe makes little sense. In any case.. even greater questions arise. because. no amount of technology will avert the impending doom. and the universe is infinite in size. this means the universe must have a limited volume . The Entropy of a Closed Universe "It is not the end. Churchill If the universe contracts. all matter will then vapourise. quite apart from the fact that astronomers can only find 1% . Fortunately for civilisation the universe is unlikely to contract. but it is. it now would be finite. as space-time is said to be warped 'like a saddle'.it must be spatially finite. the beginning of the end" W. As space-time has no boundaries. an infinite universe would immediately become a black hole. there is no explanation why it should be shaped in this way. I will include it when considering entropy in a big bang universe. even if an infinite universe existed in the past. If the universe is open. as I see it. although life may continue until about a billion years before the end. then space-time is also said to be flat. If the universe is flat. Apart from suffering from the same contradiction as the flat universe.. this means the universe is curved in on itself. As a black hole is technically the same as a finite universe. the less dense it needs to be to have the same gravitational attraction as a smaller object. there is no reason why an open universe should not be spatially finite.be within it. An infinitely large object would need an infinitesimally low density to have enough gravitational attraction to stop light escaping. perhaps.
all of which is forbidden by the first law of thermodynamics. both in terms of observation and thermodynamics. the open universe model has far fewer problems. Thus the universe no longer recontracts.of the matter required to make the universe a 'closed' one. are indistinguishable. how did it do it? Not even light can escape a singularity. a property of black holes is that all black holes of a given mass. As both singularities have the same entropy. the second singularity needs to have gained mass or kinetic energy. It has been shown that it is favourable in terms of entropy that matter falls together to form stars and galaxies. this is clearly wrong. the second law of thermodynamics reverses. The only way to resolve this paradox is to say that entropy does not reverse. As the universe contracts. Unfortunately. I will first consider implications for the future and then examine the problems with the theory. escaped. Luckily for the big bang theory generally. any decrease in entropy (like the sun giving off light) must be matched by an increase in entropy at some other time a clear violation of the second law. 1. So why did the largest concentration of matter ever decrease its entropy massively by exploding outwards? Furthermore. and even if all the particles. The second singularity is more disordered than the first. so then entropy always decreases. As the law of thermodynamics reverses. by some stroke of luck. . The Entropy of Open and Flat Universes "This is the way the world ends .not with a bang but a whimper. then gravity would pull them back into a singularity instantly. indeed why the universe is expanding. so there is no entropy contradiction. so the law of gravity reverses. There have been a few attempts to get round this problem. With a little thought. the laws of thermodynamics give a number of reason why a closed universe cannot exist. rotation etc. S. 2. The first problem arises when asking why the big bang happened at all." T. The second contradiction arises when considering what happens between the big bang and the big crunch (the singularity the universe will become). it no longer becomes favourable for objects to fall together. Eliot The models of the open and the flat universe (which is a special case of an open universe) seem most likely to be correct. So to be more disordered.
the theory of the big bang creating an open universe is a successful one. as ours would lose available energy. On the whole. and unto dust shall return.so where does this universe come from? Furthermore. a signal must be transmitted instantaneously. Since then. this energy has been converted into higher entropy forms of energy. there are even more problems. and entropy has consequentially increased. It may be hundreds of billions of years. before life becomes impossible. If the universe is finite. and the big bang caused all the particles to move away from each other. The black holes will coalesce (join)." Bible (Genesis) The model of an oscillating universe is an extension of the closed big bang theory. for the big bang to occur simultaneously in all of the (infinite) universe. violating the laws of physics governing the speed of information flow.As the universe ages. Yet a fledgling universe must exist first to be expanded . all stars will use up their nuclear fuel and die. though. but we could survive. However. The universe was highly ordered at the beginning. If the universe is infinite. space would already have been in existence when the big bang happened. It even explains one of the conundrums of thermodynamics why the universe is ordered enough to degenerate into disorder. however. There is no real way to verify this theory .as far as humans are concerned we . left as white dwarfs or black holes. it bounces back into a new big bang . In other words. I will explore the variations of the big bang theory. Instead of the universe simply ending at the big crunch. becoming larger and eventually dominating the universe. We might have to move to a different star or galaxy. when looking back into the past. Problems with the theory start to emerge. though. an open universe has the same problem of escaping from a singularity in the big bang as a closed universe. because of the large amounts of gravitational energy it had following the initial explosion. as all of space would not have fitted into a singularity. What is an Oscillating Universe? "For dust thou art. In the next section. the big bang is supposed to account for the entire creation of the universe. to see whether they explain entropy better than the standard model.our universe is just one in a infinite line of universes.
Eliot Any finite universe (as Newton pointed out) is unstable and must continue expanding or contracting. The previous big crunch sparked the big bang off and matter had no problem in escaping the singularity because there was no singularity to escape . the theory solves some of the problems plaguing the closed big bang model. As no singularities form. The oscillating universe theory also solves the problem of the universe not being able to become more complex from singularity to singularity. Ideas are endless. . S. That all the galaxies just miss each other and fly back into space. That the energy released when matter annihilates with anti-matter causes the big bang. until we have a working knowledge of all the fundamnetal laws. However. the fact that such a mechanism exists cannot be completely ruled out. In addition. it has always existed. Ideas for what the bounce mechanism could be include: The idea that gravity becomes repulsive at high densities or when quantum effects are taken into account. However.the bounce mechanism headed the matter off before it could form one. by definition. However. And so on. the problems of what caused the big bang and how matter escaped from the singularity are resolved. there is no problem about how matter was created.can detect only this universe. That singularities twist themselves out of space-time to start a new big bang." T. it always increases in entropy. That a false vacuum repells matter which forms a big bang (see inflation). I will investigate how the entropy of an oscillating universe works and how this has to take account of the fact that the universe's volume is always changing. as has energy. Next. The Entropy of an Oscillating Universe "Beginning is often the end. the entropy can increase and be passed on to the next universe. the list is very long. but theoretical work carried out in Cambridge has proved that none of the current models are correct. Firstly. The main problem is therefore to find a plausable bounce mechanism. thermodynamic equilibrium cannot be established as long as the universe keeps oscillating so.
which provides further evidence that this is not the correct model. It exerts a repulsive effect on distant stars proportional to the square of their distance. Firstly. I stop to savour it. this implies one of two things. A temperature this extreme would destroy all information in the universe. Einstein was convinced that this would counterbalance gravity. This means the universe is pulled together harder and faster than before. so the next big bang is a little larger. the dominant view of the world was that the universe is static and unchanging. there is a maximum entropy. Wald When Einstein had completed his theory of relativity. where are all the photons? There should be an infinite amount of them. The bounce mechanism conserves this force. the temperature during the bounce must reach 10 million degrees Kelvin. And when all has been said and done. As light has a stronger gravitational attraction than the equivalent energy tied up in matter. to break down the elements formed in previous oscillations to hydrogen. what difference does it make to us if they exist or not? In the next section I will turn my attention to the current view of how the universe was created. if the specific entropy is always increasing. so does the maximum entropy. and infinite cycles have already gone by. he added the 'cosmological constant' to his equations . the level which the entropy of a given universe is tending towards. so after infinite cycles. if black holes form. As entropy rises infinitely. the gravitational attraction increases as entropy increases. Either. coupled with a rate of entropy increase which is always changing as to never quite reaching the maximum value. To reconcile his equations with this view. thus the next cycle is bigger and longer. there are problems with this oscillating universe model. nor does one cycle really follow another .) However." G.which we cannot .a move he was later to regard as "my greatest blunder. we should easily be able detect them ." The cosmological constant is the counterpart of gravity. allowing the universe to . they would not be destroyed. for it is bound to be wrong.As the entropy increases with every oscillation. to Einstein's cosmological constant and to inflation.if nothing can pass from one universe to the next. The Cosmological Constant "When I have an idea. Similarly. so the same universe hardly endures. the specific entropy must increase with it. or the maximum entropy does not remain constant: (as entropy increases.
either to a singularity or to infinity. According to the theory of inflation. detailed above.if it turned out to be zero. Lamaitre and other cosmologists did not drop the cosmological constant so readily. In particular. a modification of the big bang model called 'inflation' was proposed. Unfortunately. However. Einstein had devided both sides of his equation by a constant which could possibly be zero . Einstein's speculations convinced the public.remain unchanging. Ironically.there would be no available energy and we would not exist. Furthermore. there were two fundamental flaws. The first was mathematical. However. As a response to Lamaitre's work. then it should have reached thermodynamic equilibrium by now . and they could use it to slow down or speed up the universe's evolution as they pleased. one of the forces would be greater than the other and force the universe away from equilibrium. I will not mention these problems. Einstein rejected the cosmological constant in his equations. If it expanded or contracted slightly. In 1978.no red-shifts were predicted. too. In terms of thermodynamics.a spherical space-time. It was convenient. the model would automatically be invalidated." Anon. there is no explanation for the background radiation. We will investigate the inflation idea next. static and eternally unchanging. The rapid expansion epoch took a portion of space the size of a grapefruit and expanded it to a size bigger than . the model was lacking. however. spotted the flaws in Einstein's argument. Scientists. after which it returned to a more leisurely pace of expansion. the cosmological constant comes into conflict with observational evidence of the universe . as vacuum energy in inflation is formally equivalent to the repulsion force. Secondly the universe was highly unstable. If the universe remained static infinitely. Lamaitre showed that the universe model was wrong and that the universe was either expanding or contracting. shortly after the big bang the universe went through a period in which it expanded massively. because I want to concentrate on the entropy of the models. because the idea was fundamentally attractive . the cosmological constant only really seized the limelight with the invention of inflation. which solved some of its problems. What is Inflation? "A bigger bang for your buck.
Additionally. The first effect it manages to explain is how the universe overcame its gravitational attraction.is flatly contradicted by the evidence. Dryden The entropy of the inflation model suffers from many of the problems that beset the model of the closed big bang. inflation took over. space itself can expand this fast. . although objects in space cannot travel faster than the speed of light. The Entropy of Inflation "Mighty things from small beginnings grow" J. the problems that it solves can usually be solved in a much simpler way than by inventing a brand new theory of how the universe began. In essence. this split into the four forces we have today gravity. This objection is resolved in that. This theory appears to have a few contradictions. When the universe had moved away from the singularity sufficiently. Secondly. but this would still be expanding the universe now. The energy released during this split drove inflation. Finally. Calculations show the mass released is exactly that required for a closed universe model. there is no observational evidence for inflation.that the universe is a closed one . electromagnetism and the strong and weak nuclear forces. As the universe grew. Although it manages to resolve some of these problems it creates others as well. to expand this fast. after which the energy powering the inflation was lost as a big release of particles with mass. One of the few claims it makes . A concept called false vacuum has been dreamt up to explain the effect. objects must have been moving faster than the speed of light. there was only one type of superforce.the observable universe. Unfortunately. Einstein's corrective force was used initially. there is no proven mechanism for creating this mass expansion. until we can perform experiments at 1028°K there is no way in which to prove the theory as either correct or incorrect. However. In particular. it is still important to see how inflation fares when facing up to the laws of thermodynamics. when the big bang took place. stretching space and as such separating all the matter by a sufficient distance to prevent the universe falling back into a singularity immediately. carrying the objects with it.
then inflation works very neatly indeed. and the rate of matter creation is too low to be observable in any case. the theory requires only a minor modification in the laws of relativity. some cosmologists who were unhappy with the big bang proposed a radical new model of the universe. what caused it. 1. in terms of thermodynamics.It has less luck solving the problem of the universe not being able to increase in entropy from big bang to big crunch. Steady State Theory "More steady than an ebbing sea. Furthermore. There are two possibilities. This theory appealed to many.the red-shift is explained by the expansion. as it had none of the problems associated with the big bang . If the problems with the second option can be solved. Energy is returned to the false vacuum at the big crunch. and what the difference between the two singularities. so matter was formed without violating the first law." J. namely where the energy came from in the first place. and so forth. This poses a contradiction in terms of the first law of thermodynamics. as energy should not be able to be created out of nothing.. But there are more models of the universe than just variations of the big bang.the contradiction still stands. as the universe expands and galaxies separate. 2. This means. Ford In 1948. it explained most of the effects that the big bang did . by spreading matter out so far apart that non-uniformities became uniform. Furthermore. as there could be no entropy change from one singularity to the other . Inflation created the highly ordered initial universe. It also asks questions of the big bang theory. and the universe will become a true singularity in the big crunch. why the false vacuum existed at the time of the big bang. new galaxies form to fill the gaps created. Energy is not returned to the false vacuum. In effect.what preceded it. inflation created and wound up the universe. The energy of the negative gravity and positive matter cancel. based on the idea that the universe was not only homogenous in space (a fundamental concept in most models of the universe) but in time. . the background radiation is the light from former stars redshifted. I will investigate these now.. when it will have maximum entropy. This clearly would not solve the problem at all. is to allow a false vacuum to form in one and not the other.
Observational evidence proved to be the undoing of the steady state theory. by decreasing its entropy enough to free up energy. However. Entropy and God "God is really only another artist. the stars burning. few people believe it. Furthermore. as time is infinite. to my mind. would he obey his own laws? Considering the laws of entropy. An overriding feature of many creation stories is that chaos is overcome by god(s). though. it seems he probably does not. the steady state theory resolves some problems and generates others. The steady state theory flourished in the sixties. another intelligent species should already have colonised the observable universe. violating the perfect cosmological principle. which heralds the beginning of the universe. and Zulu myths say that Unkulunkulu evolved alone in emptiness before creating men from grass. for example. because as entropy increases. although novel ways around the problem have been suggested . the gods' actions formed the universe. Picasso If god is omnipotent. In the same way.the new matter is an inexhaustible supply of negative entropy. but today. the matter increase is. which absorbs extra matter when it expands. Greek legends speak of Cronos (the father of the gods) overcoming chaos to found the universe. too small to balance the entropy increases caused by. The number of quasars increases when looking back into the past.for example. the universe could be like a massive black hole. the steady state theory breaks both the first and second law of thermodynamics with the matter increases. I decided to take an irreligious look at religion. Even so. Other cultures limit their gods to creating the universe in a low entropy state. while the bible says that 'the earth was without form and void' before god created it. In contrast. It allows the universe to have existed for an infinite time. this balancing of entropy with new matter could be the very reason for space's expansion. In terms of thermodynamics. In other words. . more matter appears which increases the order again . the theory I will outline next has been believed for millenniums that god created the universe. which is obviously not the case." P. Madagascan legend tells us that Zanahary made earth but left it empty (Ratovoantany created everything on it).
This is not true of Hinduism or Buddhism. For one thing gases are already highly disordered . entropy ignores forces. they separate causing an entropy decrease . In other religions.A further important feature of creation is the separation of land from sea another entropy contradiction. And if oil and water are mixed. people have leap-frogged into believing the universe is dying. there is agreement that the universe must end. which degenerates from a perfect beginning (symbolised in the bible by the eviction of Adam and Eve from paradise). Python So far I have said that due to the constantly increasing entropy the universe as we know it is doomed. In Babylon. On the basis of a few experiments done with modest containers of gases. many believe that entropy has been overgeneralised in applying it to the universe as a whole. in which creation ebbs and flows on a vast scale." M. there is no entropy increase. but not all gods. In Hinduism. as in the bible. The Egyptian god Re brought forth the first pair of gods as he emerged from the waters. so I will look at the views of those who believe we have little to worry about concerning entropy. Some disagree. the gods emerged from the waters instead. Even when a definite end is mentioned.perhaps this is god's way of telling us that we have nothing to fear in the future. The question most creation stories leave unanswered is the question of what will happen at the end of the universe. In addition.on mixing solids. This is not the entire story . conserve entropy in that they allow only one universe. Firstly. and New Zealand was allegedly pulled out of the ocean floor by Maui with a magic fishhook.so we shouldn't let these experiments determine all our assumptions.each universe is a single dream. preferring to let it continue infinitely or indefinitely. pairs of gods rose to the surface as the waters of Abzu and Tiamat met. there is no definite date for the end . If you have a plasma. the ions in it will form filaments due to magnetic attractions . Most. Thanks to entropy.again entropy has dropped. this is symbolised by the god Brahma sleeping and waking . The Positive View "Always look at the bight side of life. .many scientists believe entropy can be overcome. The bible says that god parted them after he had separated heaven from earth.
a block of marble with a statue . When will the magnets be completely disordered? After transferring them three times? Thirteen times? Thirty or three hundred times? With such a number of atoms as the universe has. The plasma formed filaments. which in time evolved to the filaments of stars seen in the universe today. as shown below .the block of marble is bigger and has more order. allowing nuclear forces to take over. . Although entropy in all these forms tends to increase. This means that there is always some energy which can be harnessed and used to do work. we could use one form to decrease the entropy of another. if entropy exists.thus the overall entropy problem is not insurmountable. and so on. If the universe ever reached thermodynamic equilibrium. the answer to when they would all be disordered is probably never .disorder of matter. entropy in gravity. another begins. another more efficient one will take the universe further . and reverse the process to decrease the overall entropy.the maximum entropy always increases. Tracing the evolution of the universe so far. A similar approach considers the always changing size of the universe. but the statue is more complex. When one entropy cycle ends. specific entropy (electromagnetic) and so on. one can imagine it starting in a plasma like state with only Maxwell's laws of electromagnetism applying. so entropy always rises.where one entropy cycle ends. the complexity (or organisation) of the remaining order is increasing. and so entropy rises would continue. the increase in the universe's size would disturb the equilibrium. It claims that although order is decreasing.Secondly. Compare.there is always somewhere that can get less ordered. These filaments created matter imbalances which allowed gravity to take over. An extension of this approach is the idea that different factors take over at different points of the universe's evolution . for example. A further approach is to go back to the magnet shuffling example. A different approach tackles entropy from a new direction. it may exist in more than one form . The gravity compressed matter into stars.
Since everything which exists. However. in which case it would be left in the universe. the destruction mechanism must also be within the universe. Quantum physics demands that they release radiation. In particular. So the mechanism would either destroy itself in the process. they must increase entropy by doing so. entropy is currently rising so slowly that mankind will probably never live long enough to suffer the loss of all available energy into heat. even if the universe should be destroyed.The continuation of life. one unmentioned conclusion is outstanding . one way or another. or not destroy itself." D.all the other theories contain several entropy contradictions and need extra effects (like the creation of matter or a false vacuum) which have not been observed. most conclusions are drawn in the relevant sections.the only problem it needs to solve is how the gravitational attraction of the big bang singularity could have been overcome. there will always remain something of the universe. then this theory states that either quantum physics (the most reliable theory anyone has ever discovered) is false or black holes (and thus all variations of the big bang theory) don't exist. in which case the destruction would stop. Finally. exists in this universe. Conclusion and Evaluation "A beginning. . Larkin Looking at the project. so entropy must have reversed. does not depend on minimising entropy (although this comes into it) but maximising the complexity gained from it.what the most likely model of the universe is. If black holes form. Either way. However. there would have to be a mechanism of sorts to destroy it. As the big bang model was built on the assumptions of entropy. and an end. from this point of view. Losing radiation. If the laws of thermodynamics are true. and most scientists would back quantum physics rather than entropy. they lose mass and therefore energy. and agrees with observational evidence . this theory would conclude that. Whatever the model of the universe. a muddle. This means that eventually black holes are destroyed. According to my investigation the most likely overall theory seems to be the big bang theory . the universe itself is already some way into the heat death. A quite novel approach is to disprove entropy altogether. the laws of thermodynamics are wrong. the open universe model contains least entropy contradictions.
14. 24. In order to make sure I had enough resources." Chinese Proverb Which books information came from Introducing Entropy 1. 2. 29 7. 12. Evidence for Models of the Universe 2. 24. 16. 16. on the whole I am pleased with what I have achieved. For another research and analysis project I would choose a much more restricted topic (the universe is a little too large to cope with) and carefully define how much information is required. and I believe I have given a comprehensive view of how entropy considerations effect the models of the universe. I borrowed most books with any information on the topic from the local and university's library system. What is Entropy? 5. 24. Bibliography "You cannot open a book without learning something. because I was interested in learning about the beginning of the universe and how entropy effects it. 3. 3. 6. What is the Red-shift? 2. 23. 28 Evidence about the Universe 5. 10. 28 Conclusions about Entropy 12.Evaluating my completed project. 5. 10. 27. as there were no books which dealt directly with the problem. 16. 14. When I spoke to my teachers about the problem it was decided that clarity of the information mattered most. I am glad I chose the topic I did. 8. 16. I had a difficult time finding any information which was of use. I found myself with too much material. 28 Entropy and Gravity 10. 14. All the points I wanted to raise have been discussed. 9. 16. 27. 29. 28. The First Law and the Red-shift 13. 12. What I am less pleased with is the length of the essay. 5. 24. When starting the research and analysis project. 27 The Big Bang Theory . However. 4. 32 6. 20. 30 Specific Entropy 5. 17. 23. 14. and with the problem that I could not shorten the project without sacrificing important information or clarity. 11. 23. By the time it came to write up the project. 8. 20. 3.
The Entropy of an Oscillating Universe 2. 6. 17. 16. 7.Religeous Theories 3. What is the Big Bang? 2. 6.The Entropy of Open and Flat Universes 3. 23. 32 16. 5. 31.The Positive Alternative 1. 8.8. 15. 5. 4. 16. Before the Beginning Martin Rees 6. 22 19. 6. 29 Books 1. 17. 8. 3. 32 13. 17. 32 9. 16. by Souvenir Press Ltd. 5.What is an Oscillating Universe? 2. 27. 18. 7. 27. by University Science Books 3. 24. 16. 12. 17.The Steady State 2. 6. The Nature of the Big Bang 1. 17. 3. 17. 12. 18. 10. 18. 12.What is Inflation? 2. 31 Variations of the Big Bang Theory 12. 23. Afterglow of Creation Marcus Chown Published 1996. 2. 32 10. 24. 29.The Entropy of a Closed Universe 3. 6. 23 18. Black Holes and Quasars and other Mysteries Stan Joinler . Black Holes The End of the Universe? John Taylor Published 1973. 17. Ancient Light Alan Lightman Published 1991. 17. 16.The Entropy of Inflation 3. 10. 29. 16. 31. by Harvard University Press 4.The Cosmological Constant 2. A Brief History of Time SW Hawking 2. 26. 16. 3. by Baker Book House Company 5. 16. 10. 29. 15. 11. 16. 20. 20. 21. 12. 23. 27. 10. 25. 23 15. 8. 17 14. 27. 3. 29. 3. 29. Astronomy and the Bible Donald B Deyoung Published 1989. 3. 11. 16. 12. 12. 23. 23. 17. 5. 3. 11. 16. 27. 10. 5. 10. 4. 17 Other theories of the Universe 17. Internet pages 11. 16. 24.
. by Stanford Alumini Association 9. by Heinemann Books Ltd. 21.The Exploding Universe Nigel Henbest Published 1979. 18.an Einstein Centenery Survey Edited by SW Hawking 12.Relativity for the Layman James Coleman Published 1954. 16.General Relativity . by Marshall Caverdish Books Ltd.The First Three Minutes Stephen Weinberg Published 1977.The Cosmic Blueprint Paul Davies Published 1987. Cosmic Horizons Wagoner and Goldsmith Published 1982.The Big Bang Never Happened Eric Lerner Published 1992. by Simon and Schuster Ltd.The Accidental Universe PCW Davis Published 1982. by Cambridge University Press 17. by Wayland (publishers) Ltd. 13. by Heinemann Books Ltd. by Andre Deutsch Ltd.Relativity. by Harvard University Press 11.The Cosmic Onion Frank Close Published 1984. by Heinemann Books Ltd. by Penguin Books Ltd. 14. 19.Stars and Galaxies Robin Kerrod Published 1990.Einstein's Greatest Blunder Donald Goldsmith Published 1995.In Search of the Big Bang John Gribbin Published 1986. Dreams of a Final Theory Stephen Weinberg 10.8. Thermodynamics and Cosmology Tolman 15. 20.
by Cambridge University Press 27.The New Physics Edited by Paul Davies Published 1989. 25.The Runaway Universe Paul Davies Published 1978. 29.22. by Heinemann Books Ltd. 32. Computer related • • • Encarta Encycopedia CD-ROM Grollier's Encycopedia CD-ROM Hutchinson's Encyclopedia CD-ROM .The Last Three Minutes Paul Davies Published 1994. by Oxford University Press 31. by Biddles Ltd. by Basic Books Ltd.The Omega Point John Gribbin Published 1987.The Left Hand of Creation JD Barrow and J Silk Published 1984.The Universe for Beginners F Pirani and C Roche Published 1993. by Icon Books Ltd. by The Guernsey Press Company 24. or to answer specific questions.The Refridgerator and the Universe Martin and Inge Goldstein Published 1995. 26. 28.The Nature of Space and Time S Hawking and R Penrose Published 1996.Three Big Bangs Dauber Muller The remaining sources were used mainly for a general overview. 30. so I have not allocated reference numbers to them.The Second Law Henry Bent Published 1965. by Guild Publishing 23.The Illustrated Encylopedia of Myths and Legends Arthur Cotterell Published 1989. by Princeton University Press. by Harvard University Press.
. Feel free to contact me with any comments you may have.1997 Origins . and is best viewed with any browser that can read xhtml. This page was last updated on 17th January 2001.an Open University course Science Hotline (0345 444 600) References sources printed above in a bold typeface are particularly recommended for further reading on this subject.articles between 1985 .The Darwin College Lectures Particle Physics .Multimedia Astronomy CD-ROM Various internet pages Others • • • • New scientist .• • Redshift .
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