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Cosmic background radiation: does the rakia separate matter from antimatter?


Creation according to the Bible and Modern Science

The Bible starts with a simple seven-word sentence:


In the beginning G-d created the Heaven and the Earth.

On reading this first verse of the Torah, several questions arise:

(1) Why is the first letter (bet) written extra large?

(2) How could Heaven and Earth be created at the "beginning," when the

Earth doesn't make its appearance until Day Three? In regard to question (1), note that the big bet opens on the left and is closed on the right. Hebrew is written from right to left. The oversized first letter of the Bible acts as a time barrier, with time's arrow flowing from right to left, following the written language. We cannot penetrate to the right of "Time Zero" ("the beginning," according to the latest theoretical models of the Big Bang). Is the Bible anticipating the difficulties of contemporary cosmologists struggling with the singularities at Time Zero? It is interesting that this scientific term ("singularity"), in reference to the point of Time Zero, could be interpreted as descriptive of the Oneness and Unity of G-d.

Table 1 provides the author's concepts of a modified Day-Age model, which contains some speculations which will be discussed in Part III.


How It All Began (The Origins of the Universe according to Science)

A. Red Shift and the Expanding Universe

The competing models of the Big Bang and the Steady State Universe were both attempts in the several decades before 1948 to explain the expansion of the universe.

Beginning in 1928, Edwin Hubble and his assistant Milton Humason, at the Mount Wilson Observatory in California, began a systematic study of red-shifted spectra from faint distant nebulae and discovered a linear relationship between their distance (r) and their velocity (v), as given in Equation 1:

v = [H.sub.0]r.

[H.sub.0] is known today as the Hubble constant.

One light year is the distance traveled by light in one year and is readily computed as 300,000 km/sec (speed of light) * 31,557,000 (number of seconds in one year) = 9.46 * [10.sup.12] km or approximately [10.sup.13] km. One billion light years is [10.sup.22] km. The Hubble constant is 2.3 * [10.sup.-18] [sec.sup.-1]. The convergence of Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, and the model of the Expanding Universe just before World War II became the basis for the New Astrophysics of our postwar world.

B. Steady State versus the Big Bang

The theory of the Steady State Universe was developed around 1950 by Fred Hoyle, Hermann Bondi, and Tom Gold as an alternative to the early theory of the Big Bang, first propounded by George Gamov in 1948. In fact, Hoyle invented the term, intending it as a pejorative (there never had been a "big bang," according to Hoyle). By 1948, most scientists had accepted the model of the expanding universe based on the observations of the red shift by Edwin Hubble. Hoyle and his colleagues proposed that as the galaxies moved apart, new galaxies were formed out of spontaneously created "new matter" (about one hydrogen atom every four cubic kilometers). These new galaxies filled up the voids produced by the expansion of the universe. As a result, the universe would look the same in the future as it did in the past. The density of matter and energy would stay approximately constant.

The controversy raged on for nearly two decades, punctuated by alternating moments of bitter invective and hilarious humor. Hoyle was quoted on the BBC as saying, "This instantaneous creation of the universe is like a party girl jumping out of a cake." George Gamov and his wife Barbara composed verses during the early 1950s poking fun at Hoyle and his supporters.

C. The Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR)

In 1964, Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson, two radio astronomers at the Holmdel Facilities of Bell Telephone Laboratories, were engaged in the difficult work of measuring the absolute source strengths of radio stars. They were troubled by an unexpected noise or hiss that added to the noise of their electronic circuits. They even went to the trouble of chasing out the pigeons that had made a comfortable home in their horn antenna (fifteen meters in length and four by four meters at the aperture), but to no avail. No matter which way they pointed their highly directional antenna, the noise persisted, with essentially equal amplitude from all directions. This means that it was coming from an isotropic source at the receiver frequency of their radio telescope (at approximately four gigahertz).

Holmdel is not far from Princeton University, where R.H. Dicke and his colleagues had predicted that a remnant of the radiation from the "primordial fireball" should still be detectable. They also gave an estimate of its temperature. (Alpher and Herman 1948) In a telephone call from Penzias, Dicke recognized the annoying hiss as a message from "the edge of the universe." He and his group were in fact preparing their own equipment to search for this radiation. As he hung up the telephone, he turned to his colleagues and uttered the nightmare of every scientist, "Boys, we've been scooped!"

In 1965, both groups published consecutive papers in the Astrophysics Journal on the theoretical interpretation and the experimental results, (Penzias and Wilson 1965; Dicke 1965) but only Penzias and Wilson received the Nobel Prize.

Subsequent measurements using satellites have confirmed that the CMBR is indeed a red-shifted remnant (by a factor of 1,000) of the Big Bang. According to the current Standard Model of the Big Bang, after the initial moments of the Big Bang, light was trapped inside the stew of ions and free electrons and was only able to "escape" when the temperature dropped below 3,000[degrees] Kelvin, allowing atoms to be formed.

According to the Standard Model, about 370,000 years after the Big Bang, as the universe inflated and expanded, the temperature had dropped from [10.sup.15] degrees K to 3,000[degrees], at which point the trapped light could be emitted.

The CMBR is 1,000 times cooler today, corresponding to a black body radiation temperature of approximately 3 [degrees] K.

Two satellites have provided significant confirmations of this model. In 1989, NASA launched the cobe mission into a circular orbit 600 miles above the Earth. The results, announced in 1992, found that:

(1) The temperature of the universe is 2.735[degrees] K, which agrees with the predictions of the Big Bang theory.

(2) The anisotropy (variation from uniformity in different directions) in the CMBR was found to be quite small, less than one part in 10,000. However, even such a small variation caused great excitement in the cosmological community. The conditions under which the galaxies were allowed to form are known as the "Goldilocks Conditions," in which the fluctuations in the ratio of temperature to matter must be "just right." If the fluctuations in this ratio were too large, the universe would only consist of many massive black holes; if too small, there would be no stellar formation.

If the early universe had been perfectly uniform, then Days Three, Four, Five, and Six would not have happened. (There would not have been any galaxies, no sun, and no Earth.)

In 2001, the WMAP (Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe) was launched into an orbit 1.5 million miles from Earth at L2 (one of five Lagrange points where a small object can be stationary relative to two larger objects, in this case the sun and Earth). The WMAP results have given us an "updated" value of the age of the universe at 13.7 billion years. These initial results also indicate that the first stars were formed 200 million years after the Big Bang--much earlier than was previously thought.

D. The Light of Genesis 1, Hagiga 12a, and the CMBR

Rabbi Elazar said:

The Light the L-rd created on the First Day enabled Adam to see from one end of the world to the other (Talmud Hagiga 12a).

It is tempting to identify the relative uniformity of the CMBR as the remnant of that Light. Rabbi Ehzar goes on to state that this light was subsequently hidden and "saved for the righteous." In Part iii we discuss the problems of identifying the twenty-fifth word of Genesis--"light"--as the CMBR, which would lead to serious chronological contradictions. Today, the CMBR spectrum is that of a black body at a temperature of 2.7[degrees] K.

Genesis 1:4 states, "... and G-d separated between the light and the darkness." Darkness is characterized as a specific creation--not just the absence of light. In Isaiah 45:7 we read, "He Who forms the light and creates the darkness." In that sense, until light and darkness were separated, they were mixed together in that hot soup of quarks and gluons, matter and antimatter, and finally, photons and electrons. The CMBR is therefore the earliest direct evidence available to us of the evolution of our universe.


A. What Is the Rakia?


And G-d said, "Let there be an expanse [or firmament] in the midst of the waters and let it cause a division between waters and waters." And G-d made the expanse and caused a division between the waters which were below the expanse and the waters which were above the expanse, and it was so. And G-d called the expanse Heaven, and it was evening and morning, a Second Day. (Genesis i:6-8)

This raises an analogous question regarding Day One. How could the Torah refer to waters "above" and "below" when the Earth, with its seas and clouds, only make their appearance on the Third Day? The standard commentary describes the waters "below" as the oceans that completely covered the face of the young Earth and the waters "above" as the clouds.

Consider "in the midst of the waters." Rashi explains: "In the exact center of the waters, because there is the same distance between the upper waters and the firmament [expanse] as there is between the firmament and the waters that are upon the Earth."

This seems to be similar language to the concept of the forbidden energy gap that separates the states occupied by matter and antimatter. Is it possible that the Bible is describing the rakia as the energy gap between the positive energy states and particles "above" and those negative energy states and anti-particles "below"?

There are three speculative connections of the rakia to the forbidden gap in the Dirac energy level solutions: that the rakia is-

(1) the barrier between the permitted positive energy and negative energy states;

(2) the separation in energy between matter and antimatter in our universe;

(3) a permanent barrier that prevents the mutual annihilation of all matter with antimatter

These speculations raise several questions:

(a) The word for waters is mayim. Isn't it rather a stretch to try to identify the primordial plasma as mayim?

(b) Isn't the verse "And G-d called the expanse Heaven" problematic?

(c) How can the chronology fit the current models of the early universe, if we wish to maintain the Day-Age thesis of Table I in Part I?

In the following sections, each of the above questions will be addressed.

B. Answering Question (a): Results from High Energy Collision Experiments Experiments performed at Brookhaven National Laboratory using the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (Aronson 2005) resulted in energy of the collisions high enough to simulate conditions at [10.sup.-8] seconds after the Big Bang with temperatures in excess of [10.sup.12] degrees Kelvin. In their report presented to the American Physical Society in 2005, Sam Aronson and his colleagues conjured up an image of the quarks and gluons behaving as "a very nearly perfect liquid." To quote from their report:
   When physicists talk about a perfect liquid, the word "perfect"
   refers to the liquid's viscosity, a friction-like property that
   affects a liquid's ability to flow and the resistance to objects
   trying to swim through it. Honey has a high viscosity; water's
   viscosity is low. A perfect liquid has no viscosity at all, which
   is impossible in reality but useful for theoretical discussions.

The Torah was written in the simple language of human beings living on the surface of our planet some 3,300 years ago, but it contains deep meaning for people living today. From the standpoint of a hypothetical observer, the liquid-like early universe may have been simply described as mayim.

In his commentary on Genesis 1:6 ("Let there be an expanse"), Rashi writes:
   Let the expansion become fixed, for although the heavens were
   created on the First Day, they were still in a fluid state and they
   became solidified on the Second Day ...

C. Answering Question (b): Some Commentaries on the Rakia lbn Ezra states that rakia means something stretched out (see Isaiah 42:5). We encounter the same root in Exodus 39:3 in reference to the gold on Aaron's vest:


... and they extended [stretched] the gold plates

Psalm 136, known as the Great Hallel, which outlines the primal events of the Creation of the universe, says in line 6:


To Him Who stretched out the Earth over the waters

Pirkei d'Rabbi Eliezer states that the rakia of Day Two is not the same as the shamayim (Heaven) of Day One.

The Midrash says that were it not for the rakia, the Earth would be engulfed in a cataclysmic clash between the waters above and the waters below. (ArtScroll 1977)

Bkhor Shor says that mavdil, the word for "caused a division [between the waters ...]," denotes a permanent division. (ArtScroll 1977)

Rashi in his comment on Genesis 1:8 proposes that shamayim, the word for "Heaven," is a compound composed of the two words sham ("there") plus mayim ("water"), meaning "There is water there."

Maimonides states that the word "shamayim" designates the extraterrestrial universe surrounding the Earth, whereas rakia designates that point in our atmosphere which demarcates the beginning of the heavenly realm where human beings cannot survive. This was obviously written before the age of space travel.

D. Baryon Asymmetry Problem (Where Has All the Antimatter Gone?)

Despite valiant and heroic attempts to detect its presence, our universe seems to be devoid of antimatter. This is a major unresolved problem in physics. (Sarkar 2007)

The baryon asymmetry mystery can be simply stated as follows:

At the Big Bang, equal amounts of matter and antimatter were created. All forms of matter and antimatter were mutually annihilated within five seconds of the Big Bang. From where, then, did the excess matter come to start the process of nucleosynthesis (hydrogen and helium nuclei) during the first three minutes and then go on to aggregate, forming the first stars and galaxies?

One proposed explanation of this asymmetry suggests that there was a slight difference in decay rates between matter and antimatter resulting from a process known as cp violation. This would lead to a slight excess of matter over antimatter of one part in ten billion before their mutual annihilation.

Recent experiments in high energy colliders at Los Alamos and Fermilab indicate that there may be some differences in these decay rates, but not enough to account for the asymmetry required by the Standard Model. These experiments on the dynamics of neutrinos were designed to provide a clear answer to explain the suggested imbalance between matter and antimatter. However, much like the numerous satellite attempts to detect gamma ray evidence for the presence of antimatter, the results are inconclusive or even negative. (Conrad and Lewis 2007)

Other suggestions have been put forth that matter and antimatter were physically separated before and during the recombination epochs by some unknown mechanism. If so, this might mean that somewhere beyond the horizon lie undetectable gigantic superclusters of antimatter.

Consider once again the description of the Second Day in Genesis 1:6:

G-d said, "Let there be a rakia in the midst of the waters."

This separation might correspond to the band gap between the unobservable negative energy states and the positive energy states of our world, and consequently it might serve as the divide between matter and antimatter. It is tempting to further speculate that the rakia might be also a physical barrier between our universe and a parallel antimatter universe. The language used by some commentators (ArtScroll 1977) to shed light on the description of Day Two in the Torah is quite suggestive:

Rashbam: "... the rakia segregated the waters leaving half above and half below ..." This is evocative of a process in which equal amounts [of matter and antimatter?] would have been separated into their respective universes.

Malbim: "... the barrier between the waters was not only a division in space but also in kind" [i.e., between matter and antimatter].

We have already cited Bkhor Shor's comment that the division of the rakia was permanent. We have also quoted the midrash that were it not for the rakia, the Earth would be engulfed by the waters above and below.

The rakia could thus provide an answer to the question "Where has all the antimatter gone?" In the early seconds of the Big Bang, the rakia formed an impenetrable barrier, forever separating our material universe from its antimatter twin. However, we cannot say how this may have occurred within the framework of causality and the laws of physics as we presently understand them.

E. Answering Question (c): Day One and Day Two Chronology

Does all this help us resolve the contradiction posed in question (c) on the different chronologies in our interpretation of the Day-Age model of the Bible according to present scientific theory? Unfortunately, it actually serves to deepen the mystery.

According to our interpretation, the rakia barrier between matter and antimatter is described as occurring during Day Two of Genesis--after the appearance of the First Light on the First Day. However, according to the Standard Model, this First Light appears some 370,000 years later. If we wish to retain our understanding of the Day-Age model, it would be necessary to modify one or more of our speculations.

The First Light would need to have been produced and to escape from its trap during the first seconds after the Big Bang, rather than 370,000 years later. Could it be that the observed diffuse soft x-ray background radiation (SXRB, extending from about 100 eV to 2KeV) is a downshifted remnant of the gamma rays which somehow may have escaped from the primordial plasma? This x-ray background is absorbed completely by our atmosphere; its detection and exploration is a new endeavor in astrophysics that started with the dawn of the satellite age. Perhaps our speculations are best summarized by Nahmanides, who remarks on Genesis 6:33:
   ... the events of the Second Day deal with the innermost mysteries
   of Creation, and I will not comment further.


ALPHER, R.A., AND R. C. HERMAN. 1948. "Evolution of the universe." Nature 162: pp. 774-775.

ARONSON, S., et al. 2005. "Researchers: early universe liquid-like?" Proceedings of the Meeting of the American Physical Society, Tampa, fl.

ARTSCROLL Tanach Series. 1977. Anthological commentaries from the Talmud--midrashic and rabbinic sources on Genesis. New York: Mesorah Publications. pp. 4447.

CARRERA, F.J., A. C. FABIAN, and X. BARCONS. 1997. "Soft x-ray background fluctuations and large scale structure in the universe." Royal Astronomical Society Monthly Notices 285:4: pp. 820-830.

CONDRAD, J., and W. C. LEWIS. 2007. "How did the universe survive the Big Bang? In this experiment, clues remain elusive." (Presentation at Fermilab) New York Times 12 Apr.

DICKE, R.H. et al. 1965. "Cosmic black-body radiation." Astrophysical Journal 142: pp. 4I4-419.

PENZIAS, A.A., and R.W. WILSON. 1965. "A measurement of excess antenna temperature at 4080Mc/s." Astrophysical Journal 142: pp. 419-421.

SARKAR, U. 2007. Particle and astroparticle physics. London: Chapman & Hall CRC Press.

David B. Medved, PHD

Presented at the Seventh Miami International Conference on

Torah and Science, 12-15 December 2007

David Medved worked as a control chemist in a defense plant while attending Central High School of Philadelphia. After serving as a radar technician for the US Navy, he did undergraduate work in chemistry and completed an MA and PHD in physics at the University of Pennsylvania while working as a research engineer at Philco and publishing papers in professional journals on his work on optics.

When the first Sputnik was launched, he transferred to work at a new division at General Dynamics, where he was appointed a group leader in physics research on ballistic missiles. The unclassified publications of the work of this small team appeared in the Physical Review, Advances in Electronics, and the Journal of Applied Physics. During this time, Dr. Medved taught solid state physics and physical electronics at ucla Extension and San Diego College. Later, he was a Visiting Associate Professor at ucla and Chief Scientist at the eos division of Xerox Corporation. The research of his group at Xerox on formation of p-n junctions by low energy ion implantation was published in Applied Physics Letters.

NASA selected him to serve as Principal Investigator on the Gemini Project, responsible for the design of the ion and electron particle detectors for the Agena satellite and the plan of the trajectory of the Gemini spacecraft's dress rehearsal for the Apollo moon mission. Dr. Medved was accepted as one of the final twenty out of five thousand applicants for the Scientist-as-Astronaut program. Disqualified by his periodontal history, he left NASA to become a scientist-entrepreneur. He established meret Inc, a pioneer in the design, fabrication, and installation of shortrange fiber optic communications systems, which operated for twenty years until it was sold to amoco.

After he immigrated to Israel, Dr. Medved founded the Jerusalem Optical Link Technologies (JOLT) on the campus of the Jerusalem College of Technology. Specializing in recondite wireless optical communications, JOLT was acquired by MRV Communications in 2000. Dr. Medved served as Chief Technical Officer of MRV alongside his service with the Jerusalem College of Technology. His book, Hidden Light: Secrets of the Bible, was published by Toby Press in 2008.

David Medved passed away on 15 Adar 5769 (2008). He is survived by his sons Michael, Jonathan, Benjamin, and Harry. May his memory be for a blessing.
Table 1: Comparison of the Six Days of Creation with Modern Science
Based on the cosmological age of the universe at 13.7 billion years

Day            Biblical account            Modern science

1a             Creation of                 The Big Bang-Dark
               matter, energy,             Ages of the Universe
               space, and time             CMBR (cosmic microwave
                                           background radiation)

1b             First Light

2a             Rakia                       Separation of matter
                                           from anti-matter

2b             Cycles of dark              Speculative model
               and light-erev              that the First Light
               v'boker                     was high-energy gamma
                                           rays downshifted to the
                                           soft x-ray background of
                                           today (see Part III)

                                           Stars and sun

3              Earth, plants,              Earth and moon,
               oceans, and seas            our solar system

4              Sun, moon, and stars        Transformation of the
                                           atmosphere of the Earth

5              Life begins in seas:        Life begins in seas: fish,
               fish, reptiles, and         reptiles, and birds

6              Land mammals                Mammals, hominids

               Adam on the evening         Homo sapiens
               of the sixth day

Day            Estimated time
               elapsed after
               the Big Bang

1a             The first three

1b             370,000 years

2a             Right after the
               Big Bang (about
               5 seconds)


               End of recombination
               epoch of 5 seconds

               200 million years
               to 8 billion years

3              9 billion years

4              10 to 11 billion years

5              13 billion years

6              13.6 billion years
               (100 million years

               Open question-
               biblical dating
               says 5,770 years ago
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Author:Medved, David B.
Publication:B'Or Ha'Torah
Geographic Code:7ISRA
Date:Jan 1, 2010
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