AUSTRALIAN researchers believe they may be on the brink of rewriting the history of the universe.
A paper being published in a US physics journal suggests it may be possible to view "cracks" in the universe that would support the theory of "quantum graphity", considered to be the holy grail of physics.
The team of researchers from the University of Melbourne and RMIT say that instead of thinking of the start of the universe as being a big bang, we should imagine it as a cooling of water into ice.
"Think of the early universe as being like a liquid," Melbourne University theoretical physics researcher James Quach said.
"Then as the universe cools, it `crystalises'.
"The reason we use the water analogy is water is without form.
"In the beginning there wasn't even space, space did not exist because there was no form."
Their research rests on a school of thought that has emerged recently to suggest space is made of indivisible building blocks, like atoms, that can be thought of as similar to pixels that make up images on a computer screen.
Mr Quach says the standing model for the origins of the universe, the big bang, needs to be rewritten.
He hopes experimentalists will be able to find evidence to support the theory put forward by the Melbourne team of researchers, that would replace it.
"The biggest problem with the big bang model is the bang itself," Mr Quach says.
"At the bang, physics breaks down.
"The model cannot make any predictions at what occurs at the big bang. You can't use any of the mathematics (or) any of the theories."
Mr Quach and his fellow researchers theorise that if quantum graphity "cracks" do exist, they will bend or reflect light, which, if observed through a telescope would support their predictions.
"If they prove my predictions that's really good evidence for the condensed matter model of quantum graphity in which case you can throw out all the other attempts."