Roger Penrose Shares Nobel Prize in Physics and Pushes His Cyclic Universes Theory

Roger Penrose has shared in the Nobel Prize in Physics for his contribution with models of Black Holes.

Penrose has used the renewed attention to push his 30-year old concept of Hawking Points and cyclic universes. This theory challenges the theory of cosmic inflation.

Above – CMB sky, marking 6 most prominent raised-temperature circular spots, found both in Planck and WMAP data; argued to be results of Hawking radiation from supermassive black holes in a previous aeon

Cosmic inflation is the forty-year-old theory that the universe expanded at a much higher rate than the speed of light in the first fractions of a second after the Big Bang. Penrose proposed a counter-concept of Conformal Cyclic Cosmology (CCC) by which Inflation is moved to before the Big Bang and which introduces the idea of preceding aeons. There were universes before our universe.

Analysis of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) by Roger Penrose, Daniel An, Krzysztof Meissner and Pawel Nurowski has revealed, both in the Planck and WMAP satellite data (at 99.98% confidence), a powerful signal that had never been noticed previously. there are circular spots ∼8 times the diameter of the full moon. The brightest six are ∼30 times the average CMB temperature variations seen at precisely the same locations in the Planck and WMAP data.

The inflationary phase of standard cosmology should have obliterated any such features.

In CCC, there is an infinite succession of aeons, each having a big-bang origin which is the conformal continuation or the exponentially expanding remote future of the preceding aeon.

Conformal geometry allows for stretching or squashing of the metric structure, and is the geometry respected by a physics without mass (such as Maxwell’s electromagnetism). This applies both to the remote future and big bang of each aeon, so the matching of aeon to aeon makes geometrical sense – and also physical sense because the conformal squashing of the cold low-density remote future matches the conformal stretching of the hot dense big bang of the subsequent aeon.

The exceptions to this smooth conformal matching are the supermassive black holes in an aeon’s remote future. The Super blackholes eventually evaporating away entirely into Hawking radiation (after perhaps 10^106 years). The radiated energy from the superblackholes comes through into the next universe at a single ‘Hawking point.’ The emerging photons scatter within an expanding region, but appear until ∼380000 years later. They then show up in the cosmic microwave background. This spread-out region would look to us like a disc ∼ 4° across, i.e. ∼8 times the diameter of our full moon, an effect that we appear to be actually seeing in our own CMB sky.

Penrose’s theory is disputed by the vast majority of physicists and cosmologists who support the inflation theory. The inflation theory scientists say that the evidence of the circular regions is not statistically significant.

The inflationary paradigm has become widely accepted.

A recurrent criticism of inflation is that the invoked inflaton field does not correspond to any known physical field, and that its potential energy curve can be changed to match almost any observed data. Paul Steinhardt, one of the founding fathers of inflationary cosmology, has recently become one of its sharpest critics. He calls ‘bad inflation’ a period of accelerated expansion whose outcome conflicts with observations, and ‘good inflation’ one compatible with them. Bad inflation is more likely than good inflation and no inflation is more likely than either.

Roger Penrose considered all the possible configurations of the inflaton and gravitational fields. Some of these configurations lead to inflation, other configurations lead to a uniform, flat universe directly – without inflation. Obtaining a flat universe is unlikely overall. Penrose’s shocking conclusion was that obtaining a flat universe without inflation is much more likely than with inflation – by a factor of 10^100. Penrose, Anna Ijjas and Abraham Loeb wrote articles claiming that the inflationary paradigm is in trouble in view of the data from the Planck satellite. Counter-arguments were presented by Alan Guth, David Kaiser, and Yasunori Nomura and by Andrei Linde saying that cosmic inflation is on a stronger footing than ever before.

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society – Apparent evidence for Hawking points in the CMB Sky


This paper presents strong observational evidence of numerous previously unobserved anomalous circular spots, of significantly raised temperature, in the cosmic microwave background sky. The spots have angular radii between 0.03 and 0.04 rad (i.e. angular diameters between about 3° and 4°). There is a clear cut-off at that size, indicating that each anomalous spot would have originated from a highly energetic point-like source, located at the end of inflation – or else point-like at the conformally expanded Big Bang, if it is considered that there was no inflationary phase. The significant presence of these anomalous spots, was initially noticed in the Planck 70 GHz satellite data by comparison with 1000 standard simulations, and then confirmed by extending the comparison to 10 000 simulations. Such anomalous points were then found at precisely the same locations in the WMAP (Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe) data, their significance was confirmed by comparison with 1000 WMAP simulations. Planck and WMAP have very different noise properties and it seems exceedingly unlikely that the observed presence of anomalous points in the same directions on both maps may come entirely from the noise. Subsequently, further confirmation was found in the Planck data by comparison with 1000 FFP8.1 MC simulations (with l ≤ 1500). The existence of such anomalous regions, resulting from point-like sources at the conformally stretched-out big bang, is a predicted consequence of conformal cyclic cosmology, these sources being the Hawking points of the theory, resulting from the Hawking radiation from supermassive black holes in a cosmic aeon prior to our own.

SOURCES – Oxford, Penrose
Written By Brian Wang,