Quantum nature of the big bang

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Some long-standing issues concerning the quantum nature of the big bang are resolved in the context of homogeneous isotropic models with a scalar field. Specifically, the known results on the resolution of the big-bang singularity in loop quantum cosmology are significantly extended as follows: (i) the scalar field is shown to serve as an internal clock, thereby providing a detailed realization of the "emergent time" idea; (ii) the physical Hilbert space, Dirac observables, and semiclassical states are constructed rigorously; (iii) the Hamiltonian constraint is solved numerically to show that the big bang is replaced by a big bounce. Thanks to the nonperturbative, background independent methods, unlike in other approaches the quantum evolution is deterministic across the deep Planck regime. © 2006 The American Physical Society.

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Physical Review Letters

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