Neil deGrasse Tyson asks Stephen Hawking: What happened before the Big Bang?

Stephen Hawking has revealed his answer to one of society’s most mind-boggling questions during a chat with astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson on Star Talk.

There are plenty of theories about how our universe began, but the one most accepted in the scientific community is that the universe came into existence in a single moment known as the Big Bang – which happened approximately 13.8 billion years ago.

Which begs the question, what came before?

Some scientists believe the Big Bang is part of an infinite loop of expansion and contraction cycles of the universe. But then, how did the first universe of the cycle came to be?

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Others say our universe is simply just one of an infinite number of universes suspended in some higher dimension. Yeah, kind of like the multiverse thing in DC comics.

But there’s another group of scientists who believe there was simply nothing before the Big Bang – as in, before the creation of the universe, time simply didn’t exist.

Einstein famously said that asking what existed before the Big Bang was akin to asking what’s north of the North Pole. Stephen Hawking made a similar analogy in his explanation to deGrasse Tyson.

“Nothing was around before the big, big bang…according to Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, space and time together form a space-time continuum or manifold, which is not flat, but curved by the matter and energy in it.

“One can regard imaginary and real time as beginning at the South Pole, which is a smooth point of space-time where the normal laws of physics hold.

“There is nothing south of the South Pole, so there was nothing around before the Big Bang,” Hawking said.

Stephen Hawking explains he proposes a “no boundary” condition. He says the boundary condition of the universe is that it has no boundary. Woah.

Watch the full interview on YouTube to hear more from Stephen Hawking.

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Filmmaker. 3D artist. Procrastination guru. I spend most of my time doing VFX work for my upcoming film Servicios Públicos, a sci-fi dystopia about robots, overpopulated cities and tyrant states. @iampineros

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Comment (3)

    Tom Fuller

    Wednesday 7 March 2018

    Asking an atheist to explain God is like asking a goldfish to explain humanity. Nemo sees dim shapes and movements, and food mysteriously appear from above. But finally it’s a fish, for cryin’ out loud. Atheism is ultimate arrogance and ignorance. Declaring ‘Since I can’t understand it, therefore it doesn’t exist.’ is not intellectual at all. Christianity is ultimately intellectual. Some of the dumbest people I have known had Ph.D.s.

      Andrew Miller

      Andrew Miller

      Thursday 8 March 2018

      Thanks for your comment, Tom. I’m not religious, nor am I an atheist, but I find it curious that you would respond to an atheist’s “arrogance and ignorance” with such bitter condescension. In the same way that you would expect a non-Christian to respect your religious beliefs, would it not be wise to allow others the freedom to explore their own view of the world? Even if atheists can be stubborn, wouldn’t you agree that building pathways to mutual understanding is far more valuable than comparing them to goldfish? Keen to hear your thoughts.



    Thursday 8 March 2018

    “Too overwhelming for us mortals to understand” lol
    More like, I don’t know what came before, so nothing came before. Inconsistent if you ask me, but then again, I’m a mere mortal.