For centuries, humans have gazed at the stars and wondered how the universe developed into what it is today. It's been the subject of religious, philosophical, and scientific discussion and debate. One of the most famous and widely accepted models for the universe's development is the big bang theory.
Although the big bang theory is famous, it's also widely misunderstood. A common misperception about the theory is that it describes the origin of the universe. That's not quite right. The big bang is an attempt to explain how the universe developed from a very tiny, dense state into what it is today. It doesn't attempt to explain what initiated the creation of the universe, or what came before the big bang or even what lies outside the universe.
Big Bang Theory - Common Misconceptions
There are many misconceptions surrounding the Big Bang theory. For example, we tend to imagine a giant explosion. Experts however say that there was no explosion; there was (and continues to be) an expansion. Rather than imagining a balloon popping and releasing its contents, imagine a balloon expanding: an infinitesimally small balloon expanding to the size of our current universe.
Another misconception is that we tend to image the singularity as a little fireball appearing somewhere in space. According to the many experts however, space didn't exist prior to the Big Bang. Attention to the Theory of Relativity and its implications regarding our notions of time, Extended Einstein's Theory of General Relativity includes measurements of time and space.1, 2 According to calculations, time and space had a finite beginning that corresponded to the origin of matter and energy.
3. The singularity didn't appear in space; rather, space began inside of the singularity. Prior to the singularity, nothing existed, not space, time, matter, or energy nothing. So where and in what did the singularity appear if not in space? We don't know. We don't know where it came from, why it's here, or even where it is. All we really know is that we are inside of it and at one time it didn't exist and neither did we.