According to the most widely accepted theory of the universe - all started with a big bang, and has
been expanding ever since.
Now, Christof Wetterich, a theoretical physicist at the
University of Heidelberg claims that Universe may not be expanding, but the mass of all of its particles
are instead increasing.
In his research paper, "Universe without expansion"
Wetterich discuss a cosmological model where the universe shrinks rather than expands during the radiation and
matter dominated periods.
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Instead, he says, "the Planck mass and all particle masses grow exponentially, with the size of atoms shrinking
correspondingly. Only dimensionless ratios as the distance between galaxies divided by the atom radius are observable.
Then the cosmological increase of this ratio can also be attributed to shrinking atoms."
According to the Big Bang theory, the expansion of the observable universe began with the explosion of a
single particle at a definite point in time.
Georges Lemaître (1894-1966) a Belgian cosmologist and Catholic priest was the first to proposeyhis startling idea.
Today, the theory was accepted by nearly all astronomers.
In the 1930s, however, many astronomers were uncomfortable with the idea that the universe is expanding.
That the entire observable universe of galaxies began with a bang seemed ridiculous.
Edwin Hubble(1889 - 1953), using the world's largest telescope at Mt. Wilson in California, had shown that
the distant galaxies all appeared to be receding from us at speeds proportional to their distances.
The galaxies themselves are not getting larger, but the distance between the galaxies grows.
When matter moved away, they discovered that galaxies exhibited a shift to the red, lower frequency part of the spectrum.
It was at this point that Lemaître's 1927 paper began to draw attention of other cosmologists.
Together with Hubble's observations, Lemaître's paper convinced the majority of astronomers and revolutionized
the study of cosmology.
Wetterich's new theory presents a completely different picture of the Universe than what we're used to.
The universe may be static, but the mass of everything is growing exponentially, he says.
The scientist has constructed a "variable gravity universe" whose main characteristic is a time variation
of the Planck mass or associated gravitational constant.
"The masses of atoms or electrons vary proportional to the Planck mass. This can replace the expansion of the uni-
verse. A simple model leads to a cosmology with a sequence of inflation, radiation domination, matter domination, dark
energy domination which is consistent with present observations. The big bang is free of singularities," we read in his paper.