Peter Diener and Parampreet Singh

Age: 44
Occupation: Assistant Research Professor, LSU Department of Physics & Astronomy
Hometown: Copenhagen, Denmark

Age: 35
Occupation: Assistant Professor, LSU Center for Computation & Technology
Hometown: New Delhi, India

Way to go, Einstein. The physics icon’s Theory of Relativity suggests the universe began with a big bang, but this year, two LSU researchers could log data that will turn Einstein’s bang into a bounce.

Among just 20 scientists worldwide to receive a quarter of a million dollars from the prestigious New Frontiers in Astronomy & Cosmology International Grant, Peter Diener and Parampreet Singh are now at the forefront of brand-new research into the age-old mystery of how it all began.

The problem, Singh says, is that Einstein’s theory breaks down when gravity becomes infinite, such as with a big bang singularity. He and Diener will examine whether our expanding universe did not start from scratch, but instead “bounced” out of another contracting branch of the cosmos.

Harnessing the university’s computers and others throughout the country, the local scientists will develop complex models and algorithms for studying new theories.

“This is one of the most fundamental questions for humanity to answer,” Singh says. “The question we are passionately focused on answering will open doors to resolve many mysteries about the universe.”