An earlier universe existed before the Big Bang and can still be observed today, Sir Roger Penrose, aged 89, has said, as he received this year’s Nobel Prize for Physics.
Sir Roger, who as part of his landmark work managed to prove that black holes do exist, said he had found what he called six “warm” points in the sky. He has since dubbed these "Hawking Points", with the objects being roughly eight times the diameter of the Moon.
They are named after late Professor Stephen Hawking, who first theorised that black holes “leak” radiation and eventually get rid of it entirely.
“The Big Bang was not the beginning. There was something before the Big Bang and that something is what we will have in our future”, Penrose recounted, further explaining how our universe “expands and expands, and all mass decays away, and in this crazy theory of mine, that remote future becomes the Big Bang of another aeon”, the scientist went on.
The time lapse for the complete evaporation of a black hole appears to be vast, possibly longer than the age of our current universe, making them impossible to detect.
However, Sir Roger, who shared the World Prize in Physics with Prof Hawking in 1988 for their joint work on black holes, believes that "dead" black holes from earlier universes or "aeons" are observable now. If true, it would prove Hawking’s theories were correct.
“I claim that there is observation of Hawking radiation”, Sir Roger asserted, speaking from his Oxford home.
Sir Roger has recently published his theory of "Hawking Points" in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
The idea of those “points” has been deemed as controversial, although many scientists do believe that the universe unfolds in a perennial cycle in which it expands, before contracting and then seeing a new cosmic super-explosion.
Sir Roger said that black holes were at one point also controversial, especially after Albert Einstein dismissed them as mathematical curiosity, rather than a physical reality.
It was not until 1964, nine years after Einstein’s death, that Sir Roger proposed that black holes are an inevitable consequence of general relativity, and he has been conducting his research on the subject ever since.
Sir Roger proved that when objects grow very much in density, they suffer gravitational collapse, which means that all known laws of nature cease, in a phenomenon known as singularity.
The researcher's ground-breaking article, which after dozens of years led to his Nobel Prize, is still regarded as the most important contribution to the theory of relativity since Einstein, and increased evidence for the Big Bang. He said it isn’t anything but a positive thing that he grabbed the prize only now, because it hasn’t “spoilt his science”.
“If you’re going to get a Nobel Prize for science it’s good to get in when you’re good and old, before you’re absolutely clapped out, when there is still something to do, that’s my advice”, he explained.
The honour was awarded to Sir Roger alongside Professors Reinhard Gerzel of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics and Andrea Ghez of the University of California, who proved there is a supermassive black hole lingering at the heart of the Milky Way by looking at its impact on nearby stars.
Commenting on the prize, Prof Martin Rees, astronomer royal and fellow of Trinity College at the University of Cambridge, said it was sad that Professor Hawking had not lived to share the credit.
“Penrose is amazingly original and inventive, and has contributed creative insights for more than 60 years. There would, I think, be a consensus that Penrose and Hawking are the two individuals who have done more than anyone else since Einstein to deepen our knowledge of gravity”, the scientist said, speculating on the prize announced as one about “the darkest secrets in the universe”.