Cosmology: Procreation in Space

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How was the universe created? All at once, and billions of years ago, says the "big bang" faction of cosmologists, and not a single atom has been created since that explosion. "Continual creation" cosmologists take a different tack. They believe that the matter in the universe was created gradually and is still being created, probably as neutrons or hydrogen atoms in the lonely spaces between the galaxies. Not quite satisfied with either theory, Professor William H. McCrea of the University of London's Royal Holloway College now offers an improvement on continual creation. In the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, McCrea argues that matter is created in the places where matter is thickest, the dense centers of galaxies.

The biggest failing of the standard version of continual creation, says McCrea, is that almost no matter has been found between the galaxies. According to the theory, there should be 100 times as much in intergalactic space as in galaxies themselves. But it was always rather silly, McCrea thinks, to assign to space, which is the absence of matter, the ability to create tangible things such as hydrogen atoms. He bases his own theory on the principle that "continual creation of new matter is a property of existing matter depending upon its physical state."

In the McCrea universe, the galaxies are the breeding place of matter. Deep in their hearts new atoms appear, gathering together to form new stars or adding to the mass of old ones. Eventually the galaxy reaches a limit, breaks up and expels into space a clot of matter that forms the embryo of a young, growing galaxy. In accordance with some principle that McCrea does not claim to understand, new galaxies are born at the proper rate to fill the vacant spaces left by the general expansion of the universe.

Deep in space, many galaxies have recently been found that are apparently exploding. These "quasars" (quasi-stellar objects), give off more energy than any other bodies in the universe. If McCrea is right, they have created their limit of new matter and are in the throes of stupendous parturition.