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Mathematical Proof That the Cosmos Could Have Formed Spontaneously From Nothing

Soulskill posted about 4 months ago | from the something-from-nothing dept.

Math 612

KentuckyFC writes: "One of the great theories of modern cosmology is that the universe began in a Big Bang. It's backed up by numerous lines of evidence, such as the cosmic microwave background and so on. But what caused the Big Bang, itself? For many years, cosmologists have fallen back on the idea that the universe formed spontaneously; that the Big Bang was result of quantum fluctuations in which the universe came into existence from nothing. But is this compatible with what we know about the Big Bang itself and the theories that describe it? Now cosmologists have come up with the first rigorous proof that the Big Bang could indeed have occurred spontaneously and produced the universe we see today. The proof is developed within a mathematical framework known as the Wheeler-DeWitt equation. Heisenberg's uncertainty principle allows a small region of empty space to come into existence probabilistically due to quantum fluctuations. Most of the time, such a bubble will collapse and disappear. The question these scientists address is whether a bubble could also expand exponentially to allow a universe to form in an irreversible way. Their proof (PDF) shows that this is indeed possible. There is an interesting corollary: the role of the cosmological constant is played by a property known as the quantum potential. This is a property introduced in the 20th century by the physicist David Bohm, which has the effect of making quantum mechanics deterministic while reproducing all of its predictions. It's an idea that has never caught on. Perhaps that will change now."

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612 comments

If you make this a proof of God... (5, Funny)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about 4 months ago | (#46724375)

... I will punch you in the face.

Re:If you make this a proof of God... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46724417)

We are God: "The Last Question" by Isaac Asimov.

Re:If you make this a proof of God... (3, Interesting)

marcello_dl (667940) | about 4 months ago | (#46724423)

If you make implementation details about the initial condition of an universe proof that such an universe has no superior level, you are already so ridiculous that punching people in the face is probably the best you can do.

Re:If you make this a proof of God... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46724449)

Interesting? What's this nutter talking about?

Re:If you make this a proof of God... (3, Insightful)

marcello_dl (667940) | about 4 months ago | (#46724593)

Let's simplify.

Conway's game of life creatures became sentient.
They discovered they are made of cells.
They said "Look, THE INFINITESIMAL CELL is always created from NOTHING. If things happens FROM NOTHING, there is NO NEED FOR A CREATOR, so THERE IS NO CREATOR, and besides NOBODY ever witnessed something different THAN THE DETERMINISTIC APPLICATION OF RULES. How smart are we?"

So the guy at the PC said to himself "Thank you for nothing, guys" and went making himself coffee.

Re:If you make this a proof of God... (0)

Lodlaiden (2767969) | about 4 months ago | (#46724761)

This must be one of the best arguments in support of God here.

Re:If you make this a proof of God... (3, Interesting)

Hentai (165906) | about 4 months ago | (#46724977)

So the guy at the PC said to himself "Thank you for nothing, guys" and went making himself coffee.

Well, what else were they supposed to do? They're DETERMINISTIC. Their entire existence is based on THE DETERMINISTIC APPLICATION OF RULES, right?

So if the guy at the PC is butthurt, maybe he should have picked different rules or different initial conditions, right? Because once you hit 'run' you can't really blame the process for giving you its output.

Re:If you make this a proof of God... (0)

marcello_dl (667940) | about 4 months ago | (#46725033)

The guy at the PC is not the god of the simulation, so he can be surprised at the outcome. If he were eternal (that is, unbound by time) he won't be surprised, because the act of creating it coincides with the act of knowing everything about it.

All of this is a bit offtopic anyway.

Re:If you make this a proof of God... (1)

rasmusbr (2186518) | about 4 months ago | (#46724989)

Let's simplify.

Conway's game of life creatures became sentient.
They discovered they are made of cells.
They said "Look, THE INFINITESIMAL CELL is always created from NOTHING. If things happens FROM NOTHING, there is NO NEED FOR A CREATOR, so THERE IS NO CREATOR, and besides NOBODY ever witnessed something different THAN THE DETERMINISTIC APPLICATION OF RULES. How smart are we?"

So the guy at the PC said to himself "Thank you for nothing, guys" and went making himself coffee.

And the creatures were sensible. After all, if the guy at the PC wanted the creatures to figure it out he could easily have programmed the game with elements that blatantly break the rules of the game. Perhaps he could have made indestructible walls the shape of a guy sitting at a desk with a computer on it. The creatures would eventually have mapped it and marveled at the mysterious pattern.

Re:If you make this a proof of God... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46725047)

Given the fact that I use the same logic to make the (in)existence of any God irrelevant to my living, I would actually applaud those game of life beings for coming up to the same conclusion. They can't observe me, and unless I start intervening (and then be observed), it makes no difference to them if I exist or not, no matter how much I bitch that they don't worship me or give me credit for their existence. I know I pressed the "Run" button. They have no way of knowing that. They can philosophise that somebody pressed a "Run" button, but there's no proof to it. And that somebody doesn't even have to identify as me. They can invent any number of "supernatural" gods that "inspired" them while I'm having that coffee - i.e. I'm not even at the computer, and I locked my screen - or I logged out of the MMORPG and its just the cloud applying rules in my absence.

Re:If you make this a proof of God... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46724441)

Similarly:

If you make this proof of no God... ...I will punch you in the face.

Interestingly enough... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46724875)

This position actually makes relatively more sense. Honestly, physics research is like a recursive function that keeps going back, back, back. You can't throw your hands up in the air and say "it magically came from nothing" until you've reached a proper terminus where there *is* nothing (quantum fluctuations aren't nothing)..

Keep in mind that his is only a mathematical proof that our current hubble volume coming out of quantum fluctuations, not a proof for where quantum fluctuations come from.

Re:If you make this a proof of God... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46724451)

Should people say that, just tell them there's no way to prove that this God wrote any books, and it's unlikely that any God wrote anything for us (it's more likely a local king declared himself divine and then wrote the damn book as a code of law).

Next they'll ask you how come some Bible writings appear to say that the Earth is round (circle) or spherical (one or two translations say globe instead of circle), and that it orbits the Sun (it hangs upon nothing). Tell them aliens could have done it just as well :)

Unfortunately that last idea, about the aliens, didn't come to me at the time I was having this discussion, but maybe one of you guys will be more prepared.

Re:If you make this a proof of God... (1)

craigminah (1885846) | about 4 months ago | (#46724517)

Nobody ever claimed God wrote the Bible, the Bible is "God-inspired". If you're going to argue against the Bible you should at least know the basics...

Re:If you make this a proof of God... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46724629)

Yes, God inspired Lot to offer up his daughters to be gang-raped in leiu of the angels the mob really wanted to cornhole. Praise Jesus.

Re:If you make this a proof of God... (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46724993)

Dear moron, you never have faced the no-win scenario, have you?
What neuron in your tiny brain lead you to believe this passage endorses rape?
There are many people that share your 6 y/o mentality and maturity.
You should probably kill yourself.

Re:If you make this a proof of God... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46724667)

Actually it is the word of God written down by man, and therefore, for all intents and purposes was written by God. Otherwise, what is it's purpose? Then pared down by the editing comittee at the Council of Nicaea obviously.

Of course, being all made up, I suppose you can say the rules are whatever you like really. Logic doesn't come into it.

Re:If you make this a proof of God... (2)

jythie (914043) | about 4 months ago | (#46724925)

"This book was dictated but not read"

Re:If you make this a proof of God... (2)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 4 months ago | (#46725057)

One of my favorite explanations actually comes from science fiction writer Isaac Asimov in the short story "How It Happened [sumware.com] ." Let's assume for a second that God really did tell Moses and Aaron what to write in the Bible, He would obviously need to give an allegorical account of what happened in the past and not a literal one. No human could write out a literal blow-by-blow history of the Universe and no human could ever read such an accounting. (Of course, my personal belief is that the Bible is a moral tale and not a historical tale. You are supposed to read it and think "people should act this way", not read it and think "women were really created by a rib surgically removed from the first man.")

Re:If you make this a proof of God... (3, Informative)

Your.Master (1088569) | about 4 months ago | (#46724733)

Many, many, MANY people have claimed that God wrote the Bible.

Re:If you make this a proof of God... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46724995)

Evangelicals

Re:If you make this a proof of God... (0)

Jeff Flanagan (2981883) | about 4 months ago | (#46724865)

>the Bible is "God-inspired"

Of course gods are imaginary, and you can't really say that the imagined central character inspired a piece of fiction. That would be crazy.

Pfft (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46724869)

I can trust a book that uses 3 as an approximation of PI. And certainly an all powerful, omniscient God would not allow such travesty in his Holy Books.

Re:If you make this a proof of God... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46724473)

Surely it is the opposite. Something, at some point, had to come into being spontaneously from nothing. It makes little difference whether it was the universe or God, it makes me dizzy and my head hurt either way.

Re:If you make this a proof of God... (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 4 months ago | (#46724689)

Something at some point only had to come into being spontaneously from nothing if there as ever a point where it did not exist.

We know that the universe itself is a finite age, and it did not always exist.... we can only make a similar claim about God by extrapolating from what we know about the universe, but extrapolating from a data size of one is mathematically invalid and can easily produce flawed conclusions.

Re:If you make this a proof of God... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46724991)

We know that the universe itself is a finite age

The universe as we know it, you mean.

we can only make a similar claim about God by extrapolating from what we know about the universe

The special pleading knows no bounds. No matter what, idiots are always going to claim their sky daddy is an exception to the rules they say the universe is logically subject to.

Wrong assumption (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46724935)

You are assuming that there was a point were that mythical "nothing" existed in the universe and thats obviously not true. The evidence rather points to matter a holes in some sort of "everything" in equilibrium, if thats the case the universe is merely a bubble in a wall, not a snowball in the void.

Re:If you make this a proof of God... (1, Interesting)

jellomizer (103300) | about 4 months ago | (#46724523)

So we see evidence of a seeming Miraculous event in the universe. One that seems to defy logic. And you use it as a time to get angry at people who believe in God.

Is your atheism so week, that you fall back on violence if confronted with evidence that seems to force you to realign your belief structure.
So tell me again how atheist are better than religious people?
Or is it that you are just as human as the rest of us, and will strongly hold onto our belief structure and get very angry when something dissuades it.

Re:If you make this a proof of God... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46724567)

Is your atheism so week, that you fall back on violence if confronted with evidence that seems to force you to realign your belief structure.

What evidence?

So tell me again how atheist are better than religious people?

You seem to be taking your dislike for the one you replied to and generalizing based on that. Nice job.

Re:If you make this a proof of God... (0)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about 4 months ago | (#46724739)

You do understand hyperbole, right? I am just sick of your bullshit arguments. You people go around and around in circles and actively deny reason and logic.

Re:If you make this a proof of God... (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | about 4 months ago | (#46724967)

"And you use it as a time to get angry at people who believe in God."

When people believe in gods that can't invent wireless camera phones and used the most inefficient method to communicate "his" message regardless of religion (christianity, islam, etc). People have every right to look down at believers in old gods with their ancient texts (which are full of errors).

If gods of our ancestors were so all powerful, why do they seem to have a messaging problem? Note that there are over roughly 30,000 different sects of Christianity alone. If a divine being fails so badly at communication, it's 100% certain that the person claiming that failure as evidence of divinity is gullible and lying to themselves.

http://religioustolerance.org/... [religioustolerance.org]

Re:If you make this a proof of God... (1)

operagost (62405) | about 4 months ago | (#46724669)

... I will punch you in the face.

Why?

Re:If you make this a proof of God... (0)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about 4 months ago | (#46724715)

Because I am stick of hearing the "how can something come from nothing" argument from creationists. Whether or not something could come from nothing has nothing to do if there is a god or not and proving it can does not prove there is a god. Any rational person can see this, but I would never accuse a creationist of being rational.

Re:If you make this a proof of God... (2)

TheKeyboardSlayer (729293) | about 4 months ago | (#46724745)

Because I am stick of hearing the "how can something come from nothing" argument from creationists. Whether or not something could come from nothing has nothing to do if there is a god or not and proving it can does not prove there is a god. Any rational person can see this, but I would never accuse a creationist of being rational.

Sounds like you need some cheese....

Re:If you make this a proof of God... (1)

advance-software (1770510) | about 4 months ago | (#46724779)

God or not - finding an answer to "why is there anything at all ?" is an interesting mental exercise.

That you may be sick of hearing this question and the possible explanations is your problem mate.

Some of us like thinking about this stuff.

Learn your math (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46724987)

Thats an exercise on futility; the conditional probability of an event happening given that it happened is always 1.

Besides, WHY is the wrong question because it implies a purpose and you forgot to ask yourself WHY is a purpose needed. By all accounts is better to ask yourself HOW it happened.

It's not proof of God (4, Interesting)

MikeRT (947531) | about 4 months ago | (#46724693)

But it is proof that disproving Aquinas's argument that no physical phenomena can arise ex nihilo is currently beyond the capacity of science, mathematics and philosophy.

Re:If you make this a proof of God... (3, Funny)

dimeglio (456244) | about 4 months ago | (#46724901)

If you make this a proof of God... I will punch you in the face

Of course not. If He wanted you to believe, God would have showed you his birth certificate.

Re:If you make this a proof of God... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46724975)

No it's not a proof of god, just a proof of Nothing. And Nothing is something, when you are ready to use it [briandonohue.org] .

Mathemathical proof (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46724383)

There's also "mathematical proof" that a while hole can exist. Just try finding one.
 
All kinds of wonders exist in theory. Few manifest in reality. I wouldn't be placing any money on this one either.

Re:Mathemathical proof (2)

michelcolman (1208008) | about 4 months ago | (#46724525)

Exactly. Maybe I'll believe it when I see an actual universe.

Nothing (2)

SupraTT GOP (825665) | about 4 months ago | (#46724403)

I would love to hear more about this nothing. I never knew something could be so fascinating and capable as nothing.

Its not nothing (1)

Viol8 (599362) | about 4 months ago | (#46724891)

Quantum fluctuations are something. The question should actually be "Where do quantum fluctuations come from" to which a physicist will probably reply - "they just happen". Which is feck all use to anyone as an answer. Might just as well say the universe just happened or the God/The Sphagetti Monster created it.

If physicists don't have a proper answer to "Why is there something rather than nothing" then they should stop pretending they do by the deceit of changing the definition of "nothing".

Re:Nothing (4, Interesting)

jythie (914043) | about 4 months ago | (#46724951)

Well, adding 'zero' to the number system was a pretty big deal about nothing.

LIes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46724415)

Have you not see nOAH?

Something from nothing? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46724431)

Millions of college students writing empty 500-word essays void of meaning or substance have now been vindicated by the Universe.

Re:Something from nothing? (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 4 months ago | (#46724773)

Millions of college students writing empty 500-word essays

Students don't write anymore . . . they cut & paste from the Web . . .

Re:Something from nothing? (1)

JustOK (667959) | about 4 months ago | (#46724881)

Bullshit! They copy and paste.

The question always goes further... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46724439)

Like a kid that says "Why?" to everything. Why is there even a state of nothingness? Why are there even quantum fluctuations? Love these types of questions,

Quantum fluctuations != nothing (4, Insightful)

MadTinfoilHatter (940931) | about 4 months ago | (#46724453)

This is an abuse of the word "nothing", which is a universal negation "not anything". But quantum fluctuations in the quantum vacuum are something, and not nothing. The research might be interesting, but it does nothing for the question the philosopher is asking when he is wondering "Why there is somerthing rather than nothing?"

Re:Quantum fluctuations != nothing (5, Interesting)

Ricyteach (2565289) | about 4 months ago | (#46724491)

Physicists seem to have a curious definition of "nothing" (see Lawrence Krauss' book).

Re:Quantum fluctuations != nothing (1)

marcello_dl (667940) | about 4 months ago | (#46724507)

- "why there is something rather than nothing?"
- "because this can happen according to this newfangled model"
- "cool, and what made the universe should follow this newfangled model?"
- "because another newfangled proof makes anything else illogical"
- "cool and what made the universe forcibly logical? all you did so far is to prove the universe can't help but follow the same logic that you derived from the behavior of the universe itself."
The End.

Re:Quantum fluctuations != nothing (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46724651)

I think most college students would agree that zero everywhere is a compelling solution for differential equations.

Re:Quantum fluctuations != nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46724663)

- "why there is something rather than nothing?"
- "What do you mean by 'why'?"
- "What does "you" mean?"

Re:Quantum fluctuations != nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46724741)

Yes. All theoretical science boils down to circle reasoning. That is a form of self verification. If you reason full circle and come back to your starting point then everything is fine. Many times you go full circle and end up somewhere else, if you do that you know that you have a flaw in your model and have to rethink it.
Newtonian physics is a functional model where you can go full circle and end up in your starting point. It doesn't necessarily follow the same path as reality but it doesn't contradict itself.

Then you have the kind of mathematical "proof" that shows that 1+1=3 where you don't go full circle. Those are more an exercise in finding out where the mathematician didn't read the fine print and used a shortcut in an undefined way. (Well, hopefully, because if it can be formally proven correct there is a problem with math that makes it unusable for practical purposes and then we have a real problem.)

Re:Quantum fluctuations != nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46724965)

Logic does not derive from the behavior of the universe. The universe is subject to logic.

Re:Quantum fluctuations != nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46724679)

nothing = null
vs.
nothing = ""

Not the same thing :)

Re:Quantum fluctuations != nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46724695)

I don't understand this science, but I think things like this could absolutely answer philosophical questions like "Why there is somerthing rather than nothing?"

Take mathematics: it is "something", simply because its rules allow themselves to exist. If nobody thinks about it, that does not mean math does not exist.
In the same way, if physics prescribes a physical universe to exist because of its own rules, that answers the question for me.

Disclaimer: IANA philosopher (even less than I am a physicist).

Re:Quantum fluctuations != nothing (1)

Grizzley9 (1407005) | about 4 months ago | (#46724701)

This is an abuse of the word "nothing", which is a universal negation "not anything". But quantum fluctuations in the quantum vacuum are something, and not nothing. The research might be interesting, but it does nothing for the question the philosopher is asking when he is wondering "Why there is somerthing rather than nothing?"

Exactly. Lawrence Krauss and others are trying to redefine "nothing" for there own personal theories and world view (he's an atheist). I guess that's understandable from that viewpoint, but you can make a lot of interesting theories if you redefine terms to fit your own meaning.

Re:Quantum fluctuations != nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46724793)

but you can make a lot of interesting theories if you redefine terms to fit your own meaning.

As well as plenty of boring ones!

I theorize that the universe (defines as 'what I perceive') formed spontaneously at 7:06AM this morning (when I woke up) in a catastrophic event that included the complete annihilation of a prior universe (I forgot what I was dreaming about).

Re:Quantum fluctuations != nothing (1)

DiscountBorg(TM) (1262102) | about 4 months ago | (#46724807)

Yes. Same goes for modeling the properties of 'nothing'.

The claim in the headline is phrased that way presumably because it is attention-seeking 'scientific journalism' (web hits are good).

Re:Quantum fluctuations != nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46724841)

I would concur and point out the the universe is always reversible and could easily go back to that beginning state

Re:Quantum fluctuations != nothing (1)

cyberchondriac (456626) | about 4 months ago | (#46725005)

My thoughts exactly; Otherwise, mathematics proves you can get something from absolutely nothing - IOW, magic. . In the words of Grace Slick, logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead. If this were truly the case, it'd be as supernatural as the God explanation.
For there to be "fluctuations" there has to be something to actually fluctuate.

...the first rigorous proof... of unprovables. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46724461)

I'm sure the math can line up to make it "work" on paper but how exactly does one test such things? Against itself?

Wait for it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46724485)

Incoming:

100's of posts by people who have never even remotely worked in this field giving their opinion about why this is solid evidence for:

A) The nonexistence of any gods.
B) The existence of a specific god.

Get the popcorn ready folks (if you are the sort of person that enjoys finding immature sardonic glee in observing the idiocy of people, while not realizing your own immaturity for finding enjoyment in it)- lots of insults of all flavors are on the way in this thread.

Oblig:
https://xkcd.com/774/

Simulation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46724489)

Would this lend credence to the possibility of our universe being an elaborate computer simulation?

Re:Simulation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46724609)

No, more like a bug if it was unintentionally generated.

Wait What??? (2)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about 4 months ago | (#46724511)

Heisenberg's uncertainty principle allows a small region of empty space to come into existence probabilistically due to quantum fluctuations

I don't remember that in the principle when I took physics. I think they are skipping quite a few steps in the summary.

Re:Wait What??? (2)

beatle42 (643102) | about 4 months ago | (#46724725)

Are you suggesting that the summary doesn't faithful reproduce every detail of the thing it's summarizing? If only we had a word to describe glossing over details to give people a sense of what something says, preferably in a fairly succinct way.

Re:Wait What??? (1)

LordLucless (582312) | about 4 months ago | (#46724743)

No, he's suggesting the summary doesn't reproduce every *crucial* detail of the thing it's summarizing, making it a poor summary.

Re:Wait What??? (1)

beatle42 (643102) | about 4 months ago | (#46725053)

In what sense is it crucial to lay out the steps to get to each assertion when summarizing the proof? Further, the specific item in question is probably one where if you didn't know it, you're probably not going to be able to delve into the details of the proof anyway, so it seems to me to be a perfect candidate for summarizing here. This article/proof isn't about the Uncertainty principle, its implications are just enabling concepts/steps so summarizing them out of the way seems like the only sensible choice here, right? If you can't summarize the steps used in the proof, what can you summarize?

"Proof" (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46724519)

This is not a "proof that the universe could have formed spontaneously from nothing". As is common in popular versions of science (and often even in peer-reviewed articles by scientists), there is a confusion between modeling reality and reality itself. All this proves is that the current most accurate (in terms of making predictions that we can measure) mathematical model of reality does not contradict the claim that the universe spawned from nothing (and of course the term "nothing" here is tenuous at best--it certainly isn't philosophical nothingness, because something did indeed exist, i.e. a state in which quantum fluctuations were occurring, such a state is not nothing, it is something... perhaps by "nothing" they mean a vacuum, but again, a vacuum is something since it is still governed by laws). And let's not forget that though QM has a lot of predictive power as a model, it is still just that, a model.

Re:"Proof" (4, Informative)

uberdilligaff (988232) | about 4 months ago | (#46724767)

Extraordinarily well said. The mathematical model is NOT the actual physics. It is only a very useful abstraction that happens to fit very well with the observed state of the physical world today. To the extent that the mathematical model helps us understand the physical universe, it is quite useful. Extrapolating the model back to its mathematical origin (the zero point) does not "prove" that the universe exploded into existence as an infinitesimal point at time 0. It should raise suspicions that the model might not be quite such a good fit to the conditions that existed at that time as opposed to the conditions that prevail today, 14+ billion years later.

Re:"Proof" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46724815)

The thing that would be interesting to check is if the number of occurrences appears to be correct.
Given an infinite space, how often does a new universe spring into existence? Is it likely that the universe we are in will interact with the remnants of another?
Does it occur often enough that it can happen again within the bounds of the known universe?
If the model shows that it should happen more often than observed then we have a basis for thinking that the model has to be adjusted.

Also, is it theoretically possible to trigger such an event to prevent an eventual heat death of this universe?

Re:"Proof" (1, Informative)

jythie (914043) | about 4 months ago | (#46725011)

Which is why it is described a 'mathmatical proof', a domain where 'proof' has a different and specific usage then general english.

no need for constant guessing (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46724561)

moms' creational new clear options there's more than enough of everything to keep all of us ok after the shooting & bleeding stops http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=spirit+creation+mom+kind

"Something from Nothing" is not science (3, Interesting)

Ricyteach (2565289) | about 4 months ago | (#46724579)

In "God and the Astronomers", agnostic Robert Jastrow chronicles the development of the Big Bang theory, and how for decades many physicists resisted it; not because of data, but because it meant the universe had a beginning, which was at odds with their worldview (“The Cosmos is all that is or was or ever will be." --Karl Sagan). They recognized that if there was ever truly NOTHING, that science would never be able to explain why there is SOMETHING. The question of origins is outside the reach of scientific inquiry. I wish the physicists would stop playing in the philosophical and theological sandbox.

Re:"Something from Nothing" is not science (1)

hermitdev (2792385) | about 4 months ago | (#46724791)

I think this is in part why so much attention is being spent on the big bang and what could have caused it. Currently, it's an impervious wall, but we want to know what's on the other side of it.

I think we already knew this (0)

jbmartin6 (1232050) | about 4 months ago | (#46724599)

The math is way beyond me of course, it sounds like it would be amazing to understand it. Kudos to the authors. And it is great to think there is a mathematical proof of this. But we already knew the conclusion was true in general by the fact that anything exists at all.

Quantum Fluctuation (3, Insightful)

fadethepolice (689344) | about 4 months ago | (#46724643)

Since the equations only express the properties of the universe, what exaclty did the quantum fluctuation occur in? This seems to be more of a confirmation of M-theory than that the universe came from nothing. What is the formula for the state directly before the fluctuation ocurred? It seems that state would be necessary to calculate what the fluctuation occurred IN. That would, to me, be more of a discovery.

Is there any conclusive proof of God? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46724647)

Worth a read, even for those who doubt God..

Is there any conclusive proof for God? [gotquestions.org]

So "nothing" has quantum fluctuations (4, Interesting)

TrollstonButterbeans (2914995) | about 4 months ago | (#46724673)

So "nothing" has quantum fluctuations.

I have zero apples, which one will produce an apple seed to grow a tree.

Note: The article itself doesn't imply what the summary says, but the summary here makes the article seem like nonsense.

Re:So "nothing" has quantum fluctuations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46724953)

Nothing - as in "no physical matter" - as in "the standard layman's definition of "nothing"".

Are you satisfied now, pedant?

We still have turtles all the way down. (2)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about 4 months ago | (#46724677)

In what was there fluctuations? This might seem like a glib question but, I actually am interested in the answer. Their theory seems to cover the idea of where all the stuff (including space) came from. But where did the "thing" that was fluctuating come from? And no I am not implying religion.

Re:We still have turtles all the way down. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46724853)

True, where did the fluctuations come from? A theory to explain the universe popped out of nothing ? Must have be the biggest mother f..er of all fluctuations ! Ok so this "big bang" happened but.. there's still that problem... where did that little fluctuation come from ? If there was so much energy stored up in a dot then where did it come from ? Maybe there wasn't really any nothing at all ? But where did that little shit fluctuation come from ? Looks like we are back to the chicken and egg problem again!

So there could be many universes.?1?1 (1)

cod3r_ (2031620) | about 4 months ago | (#46724707)

MIND FUCKING BLOWN what happens when our universe collides with another universe.. Whats in the empty space that our universe is expanding to? WHERE IS FLIGHT 370!>!>!>!>!

Mathematics is a language, not a science (2)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 4 months ago | (#46724711)

That is, I could just as easily write down:

E=M*(C cubed)

But that doesn't mean it is 'right'. The correct formula is E= M*(C squared) and it doesn't matter how many times I write any other formula.

As such, math can describe ANY internally consistent theory. (and even some internally inconsistent ones). It is only through practical testing that we can determine if the math is right.

Not possible (2)

gweihir (88907) | about 4 months ago | (#46724759)

Or rather not applicable. Physics is not accessible to mathematics, Mathematics is just a tool physics uses on formalized abstractions of physics. These abstractions _always_ introduce inaccuracies, and hence no mathematical proof can ever apply to physics directly or absolutely. Mathematics can just not bridge these transformation steps. That is the tasks of Physics.

Spontaneous self-generation? (2)

CrustyMustard (1001996) | about 4 months ago | (#46724783)

I don't see how it would be possible for a quantum fluctuation to create the universe it is a part of, but maybe I just don't understand the theory and principles involved. Wouldn't we have to verify that our mathematics work and quantum fluctuations exist outside our own universe before a proof like this would be valid?

So 1 + -1 = 0 (1)

Viol8 (599362) | about 4 months ago | (#46724831)

However do what you like to zero - you're not getting any other value from it unless you have another value -ie something non zero - to begin with. This theory does nothing to explain how something arose from nothing.

Re:So 1 + -1 = 0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46724899)

The universe is a rounding error.

So what you're saying is .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46724835)

.. Schrödinger's cat is the dog that dry humped Nietzsches' leg? Ok then.

With the risk of being pedantic (1)

Sla$hPot (1189603) | about 4 months ago | (#46724851)

Having only read the headline.
Which says that there is a mathematical proof, saying that it can not be ruled out that the universe could have spontaneously formed from nothing.
It is hereby proven! (anything)

As If (1)

medv4380 (1604309) | about 4 months ago | (#46724859)

When I see a null self initialize into something there will be proof. Until then it is a git semantic proof that is easily exposed as shenanigans with language.

Quantum Fluctuations of Nothing? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46724871)

Quantum fluctuations of spacetime, sure. But with Nothing, there is not spacetime. There isn't even time. Without time, there is no change. Without change, there is no "Nothing Then Something" (because there is no time thus no Then). Unless there's meta-time from a supernatural universe, but then that would mean the universe didn't spring into being from nothing. An infinite "crunch and bang" cycle I can wrap my head around. "Ever-present God did it" I can wrap my head around. "Nothing then something" is a logical impossibility.

That could mean, Our universe sits inside another (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46724895)

This could means our universe lives inside another one, if not already eated all the space of that one.
Think as the big band bubble as a small bubble in a bathtub... and then after the Big Bang, that bubble starts to grow up to the size of the bathtub.

Then, the fluctuations produce the big band inside the small bubble, and it starts to grow.... ...
It grows until... the whole space of the Bigger Universe we sit inside is eaten, or "Guys inside that other universe collapse us all" :P

Quantum fluctuations (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 4 months ago | (#46724911)

I have some basic understanding on a non-physicist level of what quantum physics is all about, the weirdness that is involved with it and how it scales to the world I can see, but this I simply cannot fathom.

How can quantum fluctuations occur in absolute nothingness?

What is a "proof" that something "could" happen? (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 4 months ago | (#46724985)

Mathematical Proof That the Cosmos Could Have Formed Spontaneously From Nothing

What does this mean, really? Either a thing did or didn't happen. What does it mean to have proved that it could have happened?

Is there room for someone to come along later and prove that it couldn't have happened for reasons not yet understood?

What if we discover the universe didn't form spontaneously from nothing? Would that disprove this "proof"?

Car analogy time: if I see a car at a certain place, and I measure its speed at 60mph, then I could claim to have "proven" that it could have been 60 miles away an hour ago - based on the little evidence I have. But if I then find out it can't go any faster than 60mph, and the hood is cold, that might prove that it couldn't have been 60 miles away an hour ago.

So, is this just a badly-worded headline, or am I just very very tired?

Hint: it could be both.

Probability (1)

kimvette (919543) | about 4 months ago | (#46725007)

More likely it's the result of the infinite improbability drive. I just hope that the Universe and Arthur Dent never meet.

Get something about math proofs. (4, Interesting)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 4 months ago | (#46725041)

Math proofs are based on a set of axioms or starting assumptions. All the mathematical proofs are simply inevitable consequences of the axioms, that is all. Every mathematical proofs say, "this is consistent with your original assumptions". That is all, nothing more, nothing less.

I remember reading about an European mathematician who set out to prove that Euclidean geometry was the only possible geometry. He came up with lemma after lemma, conjecture after conjecture, but no matter how hard he tried he could not prove non-Euclidean geometry could not exist. All those proofs, lemmas and work on conjectures formed the mainstay of the branch of non-Eucledian Geometry.

So all the math proof tells you is, if you make a set of assumptions, cosmos could be created spontaneously.

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