The big bang singularity might be avoided by replacing it with a theory of initial conditions, or by considering a bounce from an earlier contracting phase. I will describe how both proposals can run into difficulties with instabilities when the spacetime must be treated semi-classically (i.e. when bounces occur due to a quantum tunneling transition rather than as classically non-singular solutions). The absence of such instabilities places new restrictions on the available theories, implying a selection criterion whose consequences remain to be explored.


Talk Number PIRSA:17060100
Speaker Profile Jean-Luc Lehners