Nobel-winning cosmologist James Peebles has a bone to pick with the scientific community: he wants the world to stop referring to the earliest moments of our universe as the “Big Bang.”
His main beef, according to Agence France-Presse, is that there’s no good way to test whether such a thing actually happened — cosmologists have evidence of a rapid outward expansion, but not anything as discrete as a singular point that detonated to create everything in the universe.
“It’s very unfortunate that one thinks of the beginning whereas in fact, we have no good theory of such a thing as the beginning,” he told AFP.
Peebles doesn’t have an alternative to the Big Bang theory to propose, but that’s his exact point: without sufficient data, scientists shouldn’t assume a convenient hypothesis is correct.
“We don’t have a strong test of what happened earlier in time,” Peebles told AFP. “We have theories, but not tested.”
But Peebles isn’t quite ready to die on this hill — he concedes that in the absence of a better way to describe the beginning of the universe, “Big Bang” does just fine.
“I have given up,” he told AFP, “I use Big Bang, I dislike it.”
“But for years, some of us have tried to persuade the community to find a better term without success,” he said. “So ‘Big Bang’ it is. It’s unfortunate, but everyone knows that name. So I give up.”
READ MORE: Top cosmologist’s lonely battle against ‘Big Bang’ theory [Agence France-Presse]
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