Seven years ago Northwestern University physicist Adilson E. Motter conjectured that the expansion of the universe at the time of the big bang was highly chaotic. Now he and a colleague have proven it using rigorous mathematical arguments.
The study, published by the journal Communications in Mathematical Physics, reports not only that chaos is absolute but also the mathematical tools that can be used to detect it. When applied to the most accepted model for the evolution of the universe, these tools demonstrate that the early universe was chaotic.
Certain things are absolute. The speed of light, for example, is the same with respect to any observer in the empty space. Others are relative. Think of the pitch of a siren on an ambulance, which goes from high to low as it passes the observer. A longstanding problem in physics has been to determine whether chaos -- the phenomenon by which tiny events lead to very large changes in the time evolution of a system, such as the universe -- is absolute or relative in systems governed by general relativity, where the time itself is relative.
A concrete aspect of this conundrum concerns one's ability to determine unambiguously whether the universe as a whole has ever behaved chaotically. If chaos is relative, as suggested by some previous studies, this question simply cannot be answered because different observers, moving with respect to each other, could reach opposite conclusions based on the ticks of their own clocks. - ( Science Daily )
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