Universe not expanding at all, claims scientist

A cosmologist has proposed a radical theory, which claims that the Universe may not be expanding.

Last Updated: Aug 14, 2013, 12:14 PM IST

Washington: A cosmologist has proposed a radical theory, which claims that the Universe may not be expanding.

Christof Wetterich, a theoretical physicist at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, devised a cosmology in which the universe doesn`t expand but the mass of everything increases.

He said that such an interpretation could help physicists understand issues like the so-called singularity present at the Big Bang.

Though the paper is yet to be peer-reviewed, some experts have not dismissed it as wrong, and some even found the idea worth pursuing.

Hongsheng Zhao, a cosmologist at the University of St Andrews, UK, said that he believes it`s fascinating to explore the alternative representation and Wetterich`s treatment looks rigorous enough to be entertained.

Wetterich pointed out that the characteristic light emitted by atoms is also governed by the masses of the atoms` elementary particles, and in particular of their electrons.

He said that if an atom grows in mass, the photons, which it emits becomes more energetic.

Wetterich confessed that as higher energies correspond to higher frequencies, the emission and absorption frequencies move towards spectrum`s blue part.

Conversely, if the particles become lighter, the frequencies get redshifted.

Because the speed of light is finite, when distant galaxies are looked at, we look backwards in time - seeing them as they would have been when they emitted the light that is being observed.

If all masses were once lower, and have been constantly increasing, the colours of old galaxies will look redshifted in comparison to current frequencies, and the amount of redshift is going to be proportionate to their distances from Earth.

Thus, the redshift will make galaxies seem to be receding even if they were not.

According to Wetterich, the Big Bang no longer contains a `singularity` where the density of the Universe is going to be infinite. Instead, the Big Bang stretches out in the past over an essentially infinite period of time.

This story has been published in Nature News.