Scientists have claimed that the start of the Universe should be modelled not as a Big Bang but a 'Big Chill' like water freezing into ice. Physicists from the University of Melbourne and Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology have suggested that by investigating the cracks and crevices common to all crystals - including ice - our understanding of the nature of the Universe could be revolutionised.
"Ancient Greek philosophers wondered what matter was made of: was it made of a continuous substance or was it made of individual atoms? With very powerful microscopes, we now know that matter is made of atoms," lead researcher on the project, James Quach said.
"Thousands of years later, Albert Einstein assumed that space and time were continuous and flowed smoothly, but we now believe that this assumption may not be valid at very small scales," he added.
"A new theory, known as Quantum Graphity, suggests that space may be made up of indivisible building blocks, like tiny atoms.
"These indivisible blocks can be thought about as similar to pixels that make up an image on a screen. The challenge has been that these building blocks of space are very small, and so impossible to see directly," he said.
Quach and colleagues believe they may have found a way to see them indirectly.