The universe will expand indefinitely

astrophysics : Hawking's final idea: The universe is not infinite

Around seven weeks after the death of the astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, the Briton's last scientific treatise was published. It contains Hawking's final Big Bang theory, as announced by the University of Cambridge (Great Britain), where Hawking held the Lucasian Chair in Mathematics. The publication, which was submitted to the Journal of High Energy Physics before his death, is a joint effort with the Belgian scientist Thomas Hertog from the Catholic University of Leuven.

Universe not infinite

According to the university, the two researchers come to the conclusion that our universe is not infinite "and is much simpler than many big bang theories state.

In the thesis, the theorists deal with the problem of so-called inflation. Cosmologists use this to describe the phenomenon that our universe must have inflated extremely quickly a few fractions of a second after the Big Bang. According to a widely held view among cosmologists, inflation should last forever and only stop in a few "pockets" of the universe. Only these pockets would then be habitable. Our region of the universe would therefore be such a bag, forever separated from other such bags by areas of eternal inflation.

No bags in the universe

On the basis of string theory, a physical model, Hawking and Hertog now show in their new publication that, in their opinion, this idea cannot be correct. With the help of their new theory, on which Hertog wants to continue working, the scientists make statements about the structure of the universe. These could be tested with future gravitational wave detectors or observations of the cosmic background radiation, the so-called big bang echo.

Hawking had died in Cambridge on March 14th at the age of 76. He is considered one of the most important physicists of our time. (dpa)

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