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I am comfortable with the idea that 'pure energy' cannot be observed, only different forms in which it manifests. I can also understand that matter-antimatter interactions result in fundamental particles that ultimately conserve energy. So forgive my amateur question, but is there any conception of what energy was like prior to the big bang?

It implicitly seems that it would still have existed as particles of some kind, but my understanding is there would have been no space for them to exist in. That leaves me in a position where it seems that it might have just been energy in a state that perhaps can't be observed in our universe, which seems eerily similar to the idea of what 'pure energy' might be. Is it conceived to have been in some undefinable state, or did it exist in a way similar to how it manifests in our observable universe?


marked as duplicate by Ben Crowell, Kyle Kanos, Brandon Enright, Kyle Oman, John Rennie Nov 20 '14 at 6:01

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  • 2
    $\begingroup$ "but is there any conception of what energy was like prior to the big bang?" If one defines the big bang as the 'beginning' of spacetime, then this question doesn't make sense. However, if one considers the big bang as something else (e.g., Penrose's CCC), then talk of 'prior to big bang' may have meaning. $\endgroup$ – Alfred Centauri Nov 20 '14 at 1:42

Our current understanding says that the entirety of spacetime, matter, and energy was compressed to a singularity. Our current understanding also says that it is impossible to know anything about what happened on the other side of the singularity.

Therefore, there is no answer to your question that does not involve pure speculation or theology.


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