(Another possibly misleading headline)Latest research deflates the idea that the Universe cycles for eternityGurzadyan and Penrose argue that collisions between
supermassive black holes from before the Big Bang would generate spherically propagating gravitational waves that would, in turn, leave characteristic circles within the cosmic microwave background.
Most cosmologists believe that the Universe, and with it space and time, exploded into being some 13.7 billion years ago at the Big Bang, and that it has been expanding ever since. A crucial component of the standard cosmological model — needed to explain why the Universe is so uniform — is the idea that a fraction of a second after the Big Bang, the Universe underwent a brief period of extremely rapid expansion known as inflation.
Penrose, however, thinks that the Universe's great uniformity instead originates from before the Big Bang, from the tail end of a previous aeon that saw the Universe expand to become infinitely large and very smooth. That aeon in turn was born in a Big Bang that emerged from the end of a still earlier aeon, and so on, creating a potentially infinite cycle with no beginning and no end.
Now Gurzadyan and Penrose's idea is being challenged by three independent studies, all posted on the arXiv server within the past few days....
All three groups reproduced Gurzadyan's analysis of the WMAP data and all agree that the data do contain low-variance circles. Where they part company with the earlier work is in the significance that they attribute to these circles.
Things are getting curiouser and curiouser.