11 June 2024

Mathematicians Attempt to Glimpse Past the Big Bang


The headline is from Quanta Magazine. They describe the research by GeoTop postdoc Eric Ling and two of his collaborators.

Eric Ling

The trio recently published a paper in the Journal of High Energy Physics, in which Ling said, “We mathematically showed that there might be a way to see beyond our universe.”

Eric’s collaborators are Ghazal Geshnizjani of the Perimeter Institute and Jerome Quintin of the University of Waterloo.

The Quanta article describes their research and responses from other physicists and mathematicians:

Robert Brandenberger, a physicist at McGill University who was not involved with the study, said the new paper “sets a new standard of rigor for the analysis” of the mathematics of the beginning of time. In some cases, what appears at first to be a singularity — a point in space-time where mathematical descriptions lose their meaning — may in fact be an illusion.

Eric Woolgar, a mathematician at the University of Alberta who was not involved in the study, said that it clarifies our picture of the Big Bang singularity. They can say whether the curvature is infinite at the initial singularity or whether the singularity is milder, which might allow us to extend our model of the universe to times before the Big Bang.’”

Eric Ling is employed as a postdoc at the Department of Mathematical Sciences, UCPH, affiliated with the Copenhagen Centre for Geometry and Topology, mentored by Niels Martin Møller. The research was carried out with funding from the Carlsberg Foundation and the Danish National Research Foundation.

Eric graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, with degrees in mathematics and physics. He received his PhD from the University of Miami under the direction of Gregory Galloway.

Read the article in Quanta Magazine