Contraction and relaxation at the micro and cosmic level

The birth of the universe is one of cosmology's favorite topics. Recently, Anna Ijjas and Steinhardt proposed a new kind of cyclic universe model. This model states that the universe explodes and bounces back to a big crunch in repeated cycles.

The periodic oscillations of parameters imply the universe is undergoing ultra-slow contraction and relaxation; however, the scale factor is increased from one cycle to another exponentially. The transition from contraction to relaxation is so slow that it allows the universe to greatly expand. This model assumes that the universe, with each bounce, would convert gravitational energy to matter and radiation which will be used as the fuel of the next cycle.

Above image: Microscopic and cosmic cycle - Copyright protected by Isha Parlikar.

Similarly, a biological cell, the unit of life, also grows in number by dividing itself and gives rise to two identical daughter cells. Prior to cell division, genetic material is duplicated, condensed, and aligned on the center of the cell. Two sets of chromosomes are segregated between two cells in such a way that each new cell receives a copy of genetic material to continue the identity of the original cell. This sequence of events taking place in the cell is identified as the cell cycle, related to alternate contraction and relaxation, while growing as a cell exponentially.

The cell cycle is divided into 4 stages. This starts with the G1 phase - increasing cell size and achieve protein synthesis rate as required after division. S phase is the synthesizing stage where DNA is duplicated, and the G2 phase is when a cell prepares for division and lastly, the M phase is where cells undergo mitosis, where the actual division of genetic material takes place. Nature doesn’t let this exponential growth happen indefinitely, but until the resources are available.

The cell cycle functioning for biological growth distributes the inheritance material to its progeny equally. DNA is then relaxed and spaced evenly inside the nucleus.

Is that the reason why the universe might have been undergoing the cyclic model, alternating relaxation and contraction to distribute its creation in space evenly?

What do you think?

The tools for understanding microscopic and cosmic life are very different due to the huge scale difference between the cosmos and a cell. But this phenomenon of sharing the same principle on both scales is simply fascinating.

Writer's profile

I am Isha Parlikar a Biochem and MolBio post-graduate from the University of Bremen. I graduated in Biotechnology at Pune University. I admire the arts in every walk of life. Absorbing various art skills to date has turned me into a passionate multimedia artist. To expand my professional horizons, I worked in ACTREC and Himedia.

The R&D work in academia and industry has boosted my confidence as a researcher and as an artist in science. Currently, I am contributing to a private waste management consultancy. Science illustrations, graphical summaries, and science comics have been part of my hobbies for a long time. Now, I am doing that digitally. Contributing to public awareness with artwork that has strong roots in science is my goal.









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