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Big Bang or damp squib - An Alternative Cosmology

Chris Lucas

CALResCo , Complexity & Artificial Life Research, Manchester U.K.

"The Big Bang fails scientifically because it seeks to derive the present, historically formed universe from a hypothetical perfection in the past. All the contradictions with observation stem from this fundamental flaw."

Eric J. Lerner, 1995, Ch 4


Here we introduce an alternative theory of cosmology to the widely accepted, but theoretical, model currently regarded as unchallengable. An alternative theory ? Why ? There is nothing wrong with the Big Bang ! Let's see shall we ?

Big Bang, its predictions and some experimental results

(bear in mind 'Big Bang' isn't one theory, but a constant stream of them as additional patches, sometimes contradictory, are added to try to overcome experimental refutations. Current 'Inflationary' Model is major 'release' 4 - critics face a moving target.

a) Galaxies are redshifted by varying amounts (Doppler effect), consistent with them moving away from us at a speed proportional to distance. This extrapolated back gives a singularity - the bang.

'Big Bang' specifies that an explosion created the entire Universe, but the data is equally consistent to a local explosion. Imagine a starburst rocket fired on Nov. 5th. From its local vicinity it appears like a Big Bang, but we can see from our viewpoint that it is a result of a minor explosion in a much bigger universe - a more probable explanation.

b) Microwave background radiation of 2.73K is isotropic (same in all directions) to a very high degree, suggesting that it is the remnant of the original explosion echoing around the universe.

Assumption is that the Universe became transparent to this radiation at an early stage (decoupling) and it has been unimpeded since. But interstellar clouds will absorb and re-emit this radiation in random directions. Imagine a fog, light comes equally from all directions, yet we know that the sun is in only one position. Other explanations are thus more probable.

c) The Universe is no more than 20 Billion years old

Galactic clusters have been discovered that could not gravitationally have evolved to the state they are in now in less than 100 Billion years, contradicting the theory.

d) The inhomogeneity (roughness) in the background radiation is sufficient to allow the galactic structure we see to form within this timescale.

Structures have been discovered spanning 1 Billion light years. The smoothness of the background is too good for gravity to have formed these in 20 Billion years, at the maximum speed galaxies are seen to move, another contradiction.

Galactic ribbons, as seen, also can't form from postulated gravitational mechanism, contradiction.

e) Dark matter could supply sufficient mass to collapse at required rate

This 'matter' is said to be different from that seen on Earth, contradicting the basic scientific claim of universality in space/time.

The gravitational effects of the proposed dark matter (100 times all observable mass) has been searched for and not found, contradiction.

f) Observed helium abundance of 24% resulted from the Big Bang

2.73K Background AND 'dark matter' (both needed by theory now) would produce too much Helium, self-contradiction...

g) Universe formed initially from nothing, a virtual 'fluctuation'

Uncertainty principle states that virtual particles can only exist for a time inversely proportional to mass, product is extremely small (Planck limit). Big Bang has both massive 'particle' and massive 'duration', another contradiction.

h) The universe inflated at high speed and then 'braked' again

Ad-hoc invention, untestable and thus not science. Contradicts all current scientific laws by having constants change conveniently as desired.

The enormous energies so generated would, on changing momenta, lead to an X-ray background 100 times that observed, contradiction.

What is left ?

I've not included some more fundamental problems yet.

i) Standard Model predicts abundant magnetic monopoles - not one has been found experimentally.

j) General relativity suggests curvatures of the universe 60 orders of magnitude greater than those seen.

k) Number of particles produced by 'typical' expanding Planck size universe are tens of orders of magnitude fewer than those seen.

l) All parts of the proposed Universe must expand simultaneously, no method suggested to co-ordinate this.

m) Criticality of cosmological constants suggests a forced fit, not a plausible model. Some, like Omega, must be 'fine tuned' to 58 places of decimals to make the model work. Probabilities approach zero.

n) Inflation theory is based on the theory of fundamental particles, which is itself unproven and inadequate - two interacting 'houses of cards'.

When looked at experimentally (scientifically), and not through rose coloured glasses (mathematically) it seems to me that the Big Bang is a damp squib....

Still, theories are never discarded unless a better one exists. Can one be found ? Yes, I think so. There has been little attention paid to it, and it hasn't received the hype and theoretical formalism that has been given to the Big Bang, so isn't fully formed. Yet it does resolve many of the difficulties and is consistent with terrestrial science, with no magic ingredients !

An alternative cosmology

Let me outline an alternative. I must stress that this is only a possibility, I don't claim it as truth, just a viable different starting point that overcomes most, if not all, of the difficulties with Big Bang... without generating a lot more !

First some needed background science

1) Electromagnetic force is 1042 times stronger than gravitational
2) It extends infinitely also, but can be both attractive AND repulsive
3) Electromagnetic fields will result from current flows in a conductor
4) Plasmas are conductors and ionised gasses are natural plasmas
5) Interstellar gas is largely ionised, as also are stars
6) Matter & Antimatter are produced equally in any collisions on Earth
7) The same laws must operate in Space as apply experimentally on Earth

The proposed theory I shall call the 'Cosmic Electrodynamic Model'.

In brief, this assumes we had a local explosion caused by colliding matter and antimatter galaxies, in a much older dynamic universe. Galactic structures and observed cosmic phenomena are the results of large scale electromagnetic forces acting, along with gravity, to continually evolve the universe.

Let's look at the detailed predictions now:

a) The Universe consists half of matter and half of antimatter

Fits expectation from collision experiments. Absence of antimatter would in fact need an explanation. Both types of material are observationally the same, so we can't tell if a galaxy is made of matter or antimatter.

Electron/positron collisions could account for observed X-ray background radiation however.

A universe consisting of a mixture of both, under gravitational collapse can be shown to separate out the matter and antimatter, by electro-magnetic effects. This leads to solar system size structures, each of only one type of material.

b) Self-destruction of matter/antimatter due to collisions would be rare

At slow speeds, a collision between matter & antimatter objects would cause a Leidenfrost layer to form, forcing them apart again (the same principle as that causing fat droplets to keep moving over steam in a hot frying pan). Bouncing apart would increase collisions over time.

Matter encountering matter would merge creating ever larger structures. Similarly for antimatter, until galaxies/superclusters are formed.

c) A large-scale fast collision would give Hubble expansion

One kilo of matter/antimatter annihilation gives equivalent energy to a 20 megaton hydrogen bomb. A galaxy size collision will give the full Big Bang energy. Fast encounters would overcome the Leidenfrost resistance.

This large force would expel nearby matter, the fastest going furthest, thus giving the observed Hubble relationship (by Milne process).

The cosmic and x-ray backgrounds observed are consistent with this approach.

d) Galaxies can form in the required time by electromagnetic effects

Moving electromagnetic forces, being so much stronger than gravity, will concentrate matter far faster than gravity could (solenoid effect).

Laboratory experiments simulating small plasmas show the same varied forms as observed galaxies (spiral, bar, elliptical etc.).

Extrapolations to galactic size show required currents of around 10 Million Trillion amps and filament sizes of many light years (certain filaments can be proved capable of carrying arbitrary high currents).

Measurements of galactic magnetic filaments are consistent with currents flowing of these orders of magnitude and size. They cannot be explained by gravitational effects.

e) Supercluster threads are just electromagnetic conductors

When currents flow through a plasma, adjacent magnetic fields attract, pinching the plasma into twisted strings - ropes resembling galactic ribbons, just as observed.

f) Homogeneity of background radiation is due to electron scattering

High energy electrons spiralling on galactic magnetic filaments generate synchrotron radiation at microwave frequencies. They will absorb 2.73K directional radiation and re-radiate in random directions, giving the isotropy observed.

Photons would on average encounter such filaments once in a few million years, over billions of years this is easily enough to adequately give the observed smooth background.

Plasma is not transparent to radio waves, so strength should fall off with distance for radio galaxies, this is observed. Big Bang can't explain. This also means the cosmic background is generated locally, not by a distant in time and space 'Big Bang'.

g) Galactic synchrotron processes generate highly directed radio jets.

Quasars show just such features, no assumption of black holes is needed.

Measured speeds of stars near galactic centre are less than 70km/s, much lower than gas speeds, approx. 1500km/s, disproving a black hole as cause.

h) Galactic spin (angular momentum) results from magnetic fields

Transfer of momentum from rotating magnetic fields to matter is a natural feature of the galactic simulations (electric motor effect).

i) Helium abundance results from an early generation of massive stars

Spiral arms rotating through plasma produce shock waves concentrating stars, these massive stars explode quickly as supernovae disrupting the shock wave and preventing further massive stars.

Model predicts almost any galaxy will produce 22% Helium, 1% Oxygen and 0.5% Carbon all in close agreement with observation.

Cosmic rays from these exploding stars, colliding with plasma, will produce the rare isotopes also observed, no big bang is needed.

j) Omega (Universe density) should be very much less than one

DeVaucoleur showed that cosmic density drops in proportion to square of size. Gravity at large scales is then so weak that General Relativity effects can be ignored, its predictions irrelevant.

Plasma filaments have restricted velocities, the predictions imply a size ratio between objects of one collision distance. This agrees with cosmic density and applies at all sizes from electron to supercluster.

Enough said !


In the proposed model many of the problems of the Big Bang just don't exist : age, dark matter, formation, inflation, monopoles, curvature, particles and constants all can be discarded - in other words all the 'theoretical maths'.

By basing the model on known, testable, terrestrial science and observation we have I think a much better and more exciting scenario. This model is being generated by plasma physicists and some astronomers, the cosmologists however just try to ignore it...

Yet the features of the Cosmic Electrodynamic model are the basis of our own, highly successful technological society - radio, computer screens etc. No exotic science is postulated here.


  1. Hannes Alfvén, Cosmic Plasma (1981 D.Reidel, Holland)
  2. Ilya Prigogine & Isabelle Stengers, Order Out of Chaos (1984 Bantam Books)
  3. Gregoire Nicolis, Physics of Far-From-Equilibrium Systems and Self-Organisation
    (from The New Physics ed. Paul Davis, 1989 Cambridge University Press, pp 316-347)
  4. Eric J. Lerner, The Big Bang Never Happened (1991 Simon & Schuster)
  5. P.J.E Peebles, Principles of Physical Cosmology (1993 Princeton University Press)
  6. Andrei Linde, The Self-Reproducing Universe (Scientific American Nov. 1994, Vol. 271, No5, pp 32-39)

For early (largely ignored) experimental evidence of cosmic electrodynamics, see the work of Charles Bruce (1902-1979), Hannes Alfvén (1908-1995) and Halton Arp (b.1927).

Since this paper was written...

"New observations have smashed the old view of our universe. What Now?"
cover of Scientific American , January 1999

The Big-Bang Never Was ! Chandra X-Ray Observatory findings... , October 1999

For a more technical look at possible problems with the Big Bang
and an alternative explanation for the redshift, see
Space Plasmas and Radiation Processes
, 2000

For an overview of further problems with the now quantized 'red-shift'
and its implication of a static universe but varying 'c' and zero-point energy, see
The Vacuum, Light Speed and the Redshift
, 2001

Antimatter objects discovered in comets and our galaxy , April 2002

FUSE Satellite Reveals Vast Extent of Galactic Plasma Corona , September 2002

Long-lived antimatter produced in bulk by the sun , September 2003

See also the following interesting Links for more plasma based alternatives:

The Plasma Universe
The Electric Cosmos
The Electric Universe
The Fractal Universe

Or this one on the Debate about fractality in Astrophysics

Gravity only Cosmology ? Dead pseudo-science which won't lie down.
When you look closely, the Emperor is wearing no clothes !

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Page Version 4.83 July 2004 (Paper V1.2 August 1997, original published on an Open University Wigwam newsgroup Nov 1996)