The Big Bang

 

 

24/10/2002

 

By Zaghlool El-Naggar, Ph.D.

 

 

In the Holy Quran we read:

"أولم ير الذين كفروا أن السماوات والأرض كانتا رتقا ففتقناهما.." a (الأنبياء:30)

"Haven't the unbelievers seen that the heavens and the earth were joined together (in one singularity), then we clove both of them asunder.”  (21:30)

This verse reflects the unity of creation as a dominating factor in the orderly form of the universe throughout its evolutionary history from one stage to another.

Scientists are now certain that the universe came to being by a big bang

 

 

 

However, long before discovering the established phenomenon of the red shift, and its logical consequence of describing our universe as an expanding one, scientists used Einstein's theory of general relativity to extrapolate back in time and came to the striking conclusion that the universe had actually emerged from a single, unbelievably small, dense, hot region (the Hot Big Bang Model of the universe).

Formation of the Universe

George Gamow formally proposed the model in 1948, after a lengthy discussion on other models of the universe by a number of scientists (e.g. Albert Einstein, 1917; William de Sitter, 1917; Alexander Friedmann, 1922; George Lemaiyre, 1927, etc.).  Lemaitre is credited for introducing the idea of the "primeval atom", where galaxies originated as fragments ejected by the explosion of this atom. 

In 1948, George Gamow modified Lemaitre's hypothesis into the "Big Bang theory" of the origin of the universe. In this theory, Gamow proposed that the universe was created in a gigantic explosion, whereby the various elements observed today were produced within the first few minutes after the Big Bang, as the extremely high temperature and density of the universe would fuse subatomic particles into the chemical elements.

More recent calculations indicate that hydrogen and helium were the primary products of the Big Bang, with heavier elements being produced later within stars.   The extremely high density within the "primeval atom" would cause the universe to expand rapidly.  As it expanded, the smoky cloud of hydrogen and helium thus formed would cool and condense into nebulae stars, galaxies, clusters, super clusters, black holes, etc.

This explains the original singularity of the universe; its explosion to a huge cloud of smoke from which the different heavenly bodies were formed by separation into eddies of various masses followed by condensation. The condensed bodies were arranged into stellar systems, clusters, galaxies, supergalaxies, etc., and the formed galaxies started to drift away from each other, causing the steady expansion of the universe.

The Glorious Quran describes these three successive stages in the verses (21: 30), (41: 11) and (21: 104). The first and the third of these verses are discussed above, while the second reads:

"ثم استوى إلى السماء وهي دخان فقال لها وللأرض إئتيا طوعًا أو كرهًا قالتا أتينا طائعين"a    (فصلت)

"Then He (Allah) turned to the sky while it was smoke, and ordered it the earth to come into being willingly or unwillingly, they answered: we do come in willing obedience*" (41: 11)

Big Bang Evidence

As the universe expanded, the residual radiation (radiant heat) from the big bang continued to spread outwardly and to cool down gradually until about the 3K (= - 270°C) of today. This relic radiation was detected by radio astronomy in 1964, thus providing direct material evidence for "The Big Bang Model".

Further evidence in support of this model is provided by the chemical composition of the observed universe.  This amounts to about 74% hydrogen and 24 % helium (by mass), with only traces of other elements that in total amount to about 2%. All the recorded hydrogen in the observed universe and almost all the recorded helium are primordial, although some helium is currently produced by nuclear fusion of hydrogen in the sun as well as in other stars. Nevertheless, the total mass of hydrogen produced by the process of nuclear fusion within all the stars since the beginning of creation amounts to only a small percent.

It is calculated that when the universe was 3 minutes old, its temperature must have been 109 °C (cf. Ohanian, 1985, p. D-6). At such a high temperature, hydrogen was subject to nuclear fusion, leading to the formation of helium. Theoretical calculations show that the fusion reactions led to an abundance of about 75% hydrogen and 25% helium, which is a remarkable agreement with the observed abundance. This further confirms the Hot Big Bang model for the creation of the universe.  The Hot Big Bang model has steadily and successfully battled other explanations for the origin of the universe, and the model has been gradually refined with time.

Hot to Cold

The "Hot Big Bang Model" for the origin of the universe envisages a beginning from an extremely small, hot, dense initial state some 10-15 billion years ago. This initial, minute body exploded and started to expand, forming the still expanding, vast, cold universe of today. The model predicts the formation of nuclei, the relative abundance of certain elements, and the existence and exact temperature of the cosmic microwave background radiation (or the glow of radiation left over from the initial explosion, which is currently permeating the universe).

The prediction of the cosmic background radiation made by Ralph A. Alpher of Union College and Robert Herman of the University of Texas at Austin was confirmed by Arno Penzias and Robert W. Wilson of Bell Laboratories in 1964.

Despite its success, the Hot Big Bang Model leaves many features of the universe unexplained.  For example, the universe today includes a vast number of regions that could never have been in causal contact at any stage in their entire history. These regions are moving away from one another at such a rate that any information, even traveling at the speed of light, could not cover the distance between them. This "horizon problem" makes it difficult to account for the striking uniformity of the cosmic background radiation (cf. J.J. Halliwell, 1991, p. 76).   Other unexplained features in the Hot Big Bang Model include the "flatness problem", the origin of large scale structures such as galaxies, galactic clusters and super clusters, etc.

The Inflationary Universe

In 1980, Alan H. Guth of M.I.T. suggested a further refinement of the Big Bang model that he called "the inflationary universe scenario".  In this scenario, the universe is believed to have started with a very brief, but exceedingly rapid period of expansion (for about 10-30 second), in which matter consisted of scalar-field particles (white in the Hot Big Bang model, the matter content of the universe is presumed to have been a uniformly distributed plasma or dust). 

As mentioned by J.J. Halliwell (1991), the origin of the universe in the inflationary scenario can be explained as follows: by following the expansion of the universe backward in time, the size of this vast, complex universe tends towards zero. Here the strength of the gravitational field and the energy density of matter tend towards infinity.   This means that the universe appears to have emerged from a singularity; a region of infinite curvature and energy density at which the known laws of physics break down. These conditions are a consequence of the famous " singularity theorems", proved in 1960 by Stephen W. Hawking and Roger Penrose of the University of Oxford. These theorems showed that under reasonable assumptions any model of the expanding universe extrapolated backward in time will encounter an initial singularity.

The singularity theorems do not imply, however, that a singularity will physically occur.  Rather, the theory predicting them - classical general relativity - breaks down at very high curvatures and must be superseded by the quantum theory. Near a singularity, space - time becomes highly curved; its volume shrinks to very small dimensions, and here only the quantum theory can be applied.

Quantum cosmologists began a few decades ago (since the 1960s) to address the problems of the origin and evolution of the universe in a more subtle way than that proposed by classical astronomy.

Quantum cosmology attempts to describe a system - fundamentally - in terms of its wave function.  Yet many conceptual and technical difficulties arise. At the singularity, space becomes infinitely small, and the energy density infinitely great. To look beyond such a moment requires a complete, manageable quantum theory of gravity, which is currently lacking.

Whether to accept the Hot Big Bang model of the universe, or its modified inflationary scenario explanations on the basis of conventional or quantum astronomy, the established fact is that our universe emerged from a single, infinitesimally small, dense, hot source. To agree or differ on the events that unfolded since that moment, including the formation of matter, followed by its coalescence into galaxies, stars, planets and chemical systems, does not change the fact of the one singularity from which our universe was created.

The Quranic precedence with this fact at a time when nobody had the slightest knowledge of it, or even for several centuries after the revelation was received, is indeed most striking. The objective notion to this Quranic verse in the right context of a science course can indeed be spirit lifting and enlightening for the younger Muslim generations of students and faculty.

Dr. Zaghlool El-Naggar is a Fellow of the Islamic Academy of Sciences. Member of the Geological Society of London, the Geological Society of Egypt and the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Tulsa, Oklahoma. Fellow of the Institute of Petroleum, London. Prof. Naggar is the author/co-author of many books and more than 40 research papers in the field of Islamic Thought, Geology, General Science and Education. He was awarded by the Ministry of Education in Egypt the top “Secondary Education Award” as well as the seventh Arab Petroleum Congress Best Papers Award in 1970. Elected a member of the IAS Council (1994 and 1999), Prof. Naggar is currently working at the Arab Development Institute.

 

 

The Celestial Origin of Iron

 

By Dr. Zaghlool El-Naggar

 

, Ph.D.

Our sun converts 6000 million tons of hydrogen to helium every second.

The Glorious Qur'an contains a distinct Surah (Chapter) entitled "Al - Hadeed" (= The Iron) which emphasizes in one of its verses (Verse#25) the following two facts:

1- That iron was sent down to Earth i.e. it is of a celestial (extra-terrestrial) origin, and

2- That iron is strong and has many benefits for mankind. This Qur'anic verse reads: "…and We (Allah) sent down iron wherein there is mighty strength and many benefits for mankind…*) (LVII: 25).

We now know that iron is the most abundant element in the total composition of the Earth (>35% of its total mass) and the fourth abundant element in its crust (5.6%). This observation has led to the logical conclusion that the majority of the Earth's iron must be hidden below its crust (i.e. within both its cores and mantles). If this is the case, how could this element be sent down to Earth as stated in the above-mentioned Qur'anic verse? And how could it have penetrated from the outer crust of the Earth to its inner zones of mantle and core?

To answer these questions, the Earth must be treated as part of the total cosmos from which it was separated, not merely as an isolated entity. In this context, recent cosmological discoveries have proved that:

1. Hydrogen (the simplest and the lightest know element) is by far the most abundant element in the observed universe.

2. This predominant, universal hydrogen is followed in abundance by helium (the second in the periodic table of elements), which is less abundant than hydrogen, by a factor of ten.

3. These two, simple nuclei of hydrogen and helium constitute the greatest percentage of the observed universe, while heavier elements are only represented by traces that do not exceed 1-2% of its total mass, and are locally concentrated in certain heavenly bodies.

These fundamental discoveries have led to the important conclusion that hydrogen nuclei are the basic building blocks from which all the other elements were and are currently being created by the process of nuclear fusion. This process (the nucleosynthesis of elements by nuclear fusion) is self-sustaining, highly exothermic (i.e. releases excessively large quantities of energy) and is the source of the very hot and glowing nature of all stars.

Nuclear fusion within our sun mainly produces helium, with a very limited number of slightly heavier elements. The percentage of iron in the sun is estimated to be in the order of 0.0037%. Knowing that the Earth as well as all other planets and satellites in our solar system were actually separated from the sun, which does not generate iron, another question was raised:

Where had the immense quantity of iron in our Earth come from?

One second after the "Big Bang", the temperature of the early universe is calculated to have been in the range of ten billion degrees Celsius.

Our sun is a modest star, with a surface temperature of 6,000°C, and an inner core temperature of about 15,000,000°C. Such figures are far below the calculated temperatures for the production of iron by the process of nuclear fusion (which exceeds 5 X 109 K). Consequently, other sources much hotter than the sun were sought for as possible sites fort the generation of iron in the observed universe. One of the suggested sources of excessive heat was the "Big Bang" explosion of the initial singularity from which our universe was created (cf. Bott, 1982). However all speculations about this event suggest that shortly after the "Big Bang", matter was in such and elementary stage that only hydrogen and helium (with possible traces of lithium) could have been generated. Again, if any traces of iron were produced at that stage, iron would have been more evenly distributed in the observed universe, which is not the case.

One second after the "Big Bang", the temperature of the early universe is calculated to have been in the range of ten billion degrees Celsius. At this stage, the early universe is visualized to have been in the form of a steadily expanding, huge cloud of smoke, mainly composed of elementary forms of both matter and energy such as neutrons, protons, electrons, positrons (anti - electrons), photons and neutrinos. Radiations in the form of photons from this very hot early stage of the universe had been predicted by Gamow and others (1948) to be still in existence around the observed universe, coming from all directions with equal intensity. This prediction was later proved to be true by both Penzias & Wilson (1965) through their discovery of the cosmic microwave background radiation coming from all directions in the observed universe with equal intensity, together with a remnant temperature reduced to only a few degrees above the absolute zero (- 273°C).

The Life Cycle of the Stars

During the first three minutes of the history of our universe the neutrons are believed to have either decayed into protons and electrons, or combined with other neutrons to produce deuterium (or heavy hydrogen), which could combine to form helium. In its turn, helium nuclei could partly fuse to produce traces of lithium (the third element in the periodic table), but nothing heavier than this element is believed to have been generated as a result of the "Big Bang" explosion (cf. Weinberg, 1988; Hawking, 1990; etc.). Consequently, all of the universal hydrogen and most of the helium are believed to have been created immediately after the "Big Bang", while the rest of the universal helium is believed to have been steadily generated from the burning of hydrogen in the interiors of "Main-Sequence Stars" like our sun.

After the "Big Bang" explosion, gravitation is believed to have pulled together clouds of smoke to form giant clusters of matter. Continued contraction of these clusters eventually increased their temperature due to the interaction of colliding particles and the pressures created by the large gravitational attraction. As the temperature approached 15 million degrees Celsius, the electrons in the formed atoms were ripped off to create a plasma state. Continued contraction proceeded until the particles in the plasma moved with such high velocities that they began to fuse hydrogen into helium, producing stars with enough energy to generate an outward push (pressure) that reached equilibrium with the inward pull of gravity.

Supernovas result from exhaustion of the nova’s fuel supplies.

Most recently, elements heavier than lithium have been proved to be currently synthesized by the process of nuclear fusion in the cores of massive stars (at least ten times the mass of our sun) during their late stage of development. Such massive stars are seen burning helium to carbon, oxygen, silicon, sulfur, and finally into iron. When elements of the iron group are produced, the process of nuclear fusion cannot proceed any further. Elements heavier than iron (and its group of elements) are believed to have been created in the outer envelopes of super-giant stars or during the explosion of novae in the form of supernovae.

Consequently, it has been proved that stars are cosmic ovens in which most of the known elements are created from hydrogen and/or helium by the process of nuclear fusion. At the same time, the unbelievable energy of stars comes from this process of intra-stellar nucleosynthesis of elements, which involves the combining of light elements into heavier ones by nuclear fusion (nuclear burning). This process requires a high-speed collision, which can only be achieved at very high temperatures. The minimum temperature required for the fusion of hydrogen into helium is calculated to be in the range of 5,000,000°C. With the increase in the atomic weight of the element produced by nuclear fusion, this temperature increases steadily to several billions of degrees. For example, the nuclear fusion of hydrogen into carbon requires a temperature of about one billion degrees Celsius.

Burning (fusing) hydrogen into helium occurs during most of the star's lifetime. After the hydrogen in the star's core is exhausted (i.e. fused to helium), the star either changes into a Red Giant then into a dwarf or changes into a Red Super-giant then into a nova where it starts to burn helium, fusing it into progressively heavier elements (depending on its initial mass) until the iron group is reached. Up to this point, the process of nucleosynthesis of elements is highly exothermic (i.e. releases excessive quantities of energy), but the formation of the iron group elements and of elements heavier than this group is highly endothermic (i.e. requires the input of excessive quantities of energy). The explosions of Novae in the form of Supernovae result from the exhaustion of the fuel supplies in the cores of such massive stars and the burning of all elements there into the iron group. Heavier nuclei are thought to be formed during the explosions of the Supernovae.

The nucleosynthesis of the iron group of elements in the inner cores of massive stars such as the Novae is the final stage of the process of nuclear fusion. Once this stage is reached, the nova explodes in the form of a supernova, shattering its iron core to pieces that fly into the universal space, providing other celestial bodies with their needed iron. With this analysis, the celestial (extra-terrestrial) origin of iron in both our Earth and the rest of the solar system is confirmed (cf. Weinberg, 1988; Hawking, 1990; etc.).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reproduced gratefully from:

 

 

Do these mysterious stones
mark the site of the Garden of Eden?

By Tom Cox
Last updated on 28th February 2009
...For the old Kurdish shepherd, it was just another
burning hot day in the rolling plains of eastern Turkey.
Following his flock over the arid hillsides, he passed
the single mulberry tree, which the locals regarded
as 'sacred'. The bells on his sheep tinkled in the stillness.
Then he spotted something. Crouching down, he brushed
away the dust, and exposed a strange,
large, oblong stone....

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revised: November 05, 2014 .   Communication:   JerryHaff1963(at)gmail.com     Go to Home Page     Go to Index of All Articles Pages       
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