• Question: what was there before space? If there was nothing how did the space start?

    Asked by jeum to Sara, Amy, Drew on 23 Jun 2011. This question was also asked by kathleen96, owens7r2, sgrover, lollipop13.
    • Photo: Sara Imari Walker

      Sara Imari Walker answered on 14 Jun 2011:

      Hi jeum! This is a very good question and a tough one to answer. The answer is not necessarily that there was nothing before space. It is just that we cannot measure what existed before space, since we in fact live and are apart of space! Many people think the “big bang” started from nothing. But in current scientific theory that is not exactly known. What may have happened is that our universe (i.e. all of space we can ever measure) started as a local excess of energy in a very vast universe (the multiverse!) a so-called “vacuum fluctuation” that grew itself into its own universe. So our universe (all of space we see even with Hubble!) could be just one of many island bubble universes in a vast multiverse. Parallel universes, that is a crazy idea but entirely plausible in modern science!! Wow!

    • Photo: Amy MacQueen

      Amy MacQueen answered on 22 Jun 2011:

      Hi Jeum, Kathleen and Owens,

      sorry its taken me so long to answer this – the website I think broke because the question disappeared ages ago and has only just re-appeared in my unanswered pile. 🙁 but it has appeared now so here goes…

      I think about this one a lot – either you think there was nothing or there was something before space existed. Seem obvious right? (man, I’m profound!) 🙂

      Even if our universe started as part of a multiverse that still doesn’t answer the question of where that multiverse came from …so basically you keep pushing your thinking back to something, that was before something, that was before something else.

      But where did this first thing come from??? Well, either something was ALWAYS there (eternal matter) – or it all started from nothing.

      So far in science (and probably forever in science) we can only go as far back as the “somethings” we can test. So…really nobody can prove where “space” came from.

    • Photo: Drew Rae

      Drew Rae answered on 23 Jun 2011:

      Hi folks. This is almost a philosophy question. In science we make theories that explain the facts we observe, and then we test the theories. We have a few theories about how the big bang started space, but we can’t test to decide which ones are right.

      My personal opinion – turtles. There were lots of turtles. Go on – if you can work out a way to test my idea and show that I’m wrong, there’s probably a nobel prize in it for you.