Controversial claim from Nobel Prize winner: The universe keeps dying and being reborn

The universe, according to Roger Penrose, the 2020 Nobel Prize laureate in physics, goes through cycles of death and rebirth. According to the scientist, there have been numerous Big Bangs, with more on the way. He also contends that black holes contain proof of the existence of past universes. These assertions are highly contentious and are not universally accepted in the cosmology community.

Sir Roger Penrose, a mathematician and physicist from the University of Oxford who received the Nobel Prize in physics in 2020, believes our universe has undergone numerous Big Bangs, with another one on the way.

Penrose was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for developing mathematical methods that proved and expanded Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity, as well as for his discoveries on black holes, which demonstrated how objects that become too dense undergo gravitational collapse into singularities - points of infinite mass.

As he won the Prize, Penrose reaffirmed his belief in "a crazy hypothesis of mine" that the cosmos will expand until all matter decays. After that, a second Big Bang will create a new universe.

"The Big Bang was not the start," Penrose told The Telegraph. "Before the Big Bang, there was something, and that something will be our future."

What evidence supports the physicist's "conformal cyclic cosmology" (CCC) theory, which contradicts current Big Bang dogma? He claimed to have identified six "warm" sky locations (dubbed "Hawking Points"), each around eight times the diameter of the Moon. They are named after Professor Stephen Hawking, who postulated that black holes "leak" radiation and eventually evaporate. Because this might take longer than the duration of the universe we live in (13.77 billion years), finding such holes is extremely unlikely.

Penrose (89), a Hawking collaborator, believes we can witness "dead" black holes left by former universes or "aeons." If confirmed, this would validate Hawking's theories.

The physicist's 2020 study, published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, shows "anomalous circular patches" with increased temperatures in the CMB. The spots were discovered using data from the Planck 70 GHz satellite, which was confirmed by up to 10,000 simulations.

Hot spots in Planck CMB data. Credit: ESA and the Planck Collaboration

Penrose's 2018 research discovered radiation hot spots in the CMB generated by evaporating black holes. Penrose and Vahe Gurzadyan of Armenia's Yerevan Physics Institute revealed support for cyclic cosmology in the CMB's uniform temperature rings in a 2010 study. The scientists proposed at the time that the rings were produced by gravitational wave fingerprints from merging black holes in a universe before ours.

These views are divisive among cosmologists, with some pointing to the difficulty of converting an endlessly large cosmos in one aeon to a super-small one in the next. This would indicate that all particles lose mass as the cosmos ages.

Another noteworthy possibility is Penrose's theories on the quantum-level origins of our awareness.