The question of what happened before the Big Bang has puzzled physicists for decades, but one of the biggest names in the discipline, Stephen Hawking, has offered a mind-bendingly simple explanation.
“Nothing was around before the Big, Big Bang,” Hawking plainly states in conversation with Neil deGrasse Tyson on National Geographic’s Star Talk program. The renowned physicist cites Einstein’s general theory of relativity, which decrees that space and time together form a space-time continuum which is not flat but instead is curved by the matter and energy in it.
Proposing as an alternative the ‘Euclidean approach’, an area of geometry dealing with planes and dimensions, Hawking’s model says the history of the universe is a four-dimensional curved surface like the surface of the Earth – but with two additional dimensions.
“One can regard imaginary and real time as beginning at the South Pole which is a smooth point of space time where the normal laws of physics hold. There was nothing south of the South Pole so there was nothing around before the big bang,” Hawking explained.
Still confused? You can watch the man himself explain it here:
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