Big Bang Duration; Mass of Universe
Date: Spring 2012
Sirs: I would like to know two things. One, how long did the Big Bang last? And two, What was the estimated amount of mass that formed the universe. Or, what is the amount estimated to be now. The numbers involved in conceptualizing things about space in general are so huge that it is difficult for the human mind to deal with them, but I am trying and I am very curious. I have some science and math background.
Your inquiry contains a common error about the origin of the Universe, the Big Bang. That error is thinking about the Big Bang in terms of an enormous conventional explosion somewhere and sometime in the Universe. It is not the size of that explosion that makes it difficult to grasp. What is difficult grasp the notion that the Big Bang created space itself. There is no such thing as “out there” or “over there”. Asking “the estimated amount of mass that formed the Universe.” has no meaning. The “Big Bang” created (and continues to create) that mass.
I am not an expert but I too have studied the problems. We do not even have a model to frame the questions. We do not even have an unambiguous model for the fundamental force in the Universe – gravity. Until that issue is resolved, how can we even hope to invent a model for the Universe?
I don not know what the mass was. The Big Bang explosion itself was only an instant long; a tiny fraction of a second.
David H. Levy
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Update: June 2012