The ekpyrotic universe (ˌɛkpaɪˈrɒtɪk) is a cosmological model of the early universe that explains the origin of the large-scale structure of the cosmos. The model has also been incorporated in the cyclic universe theory (or ekpyrotic cyclic universe theory), which proposes a complete cosmological history, both the past and future.
The original ekpyrotic model was introduced by Justin Khoury, Burt Ovrut, Paul Steinhardt and Neil Turok in 2001.
Steinhardt created the name based on the Ancient Greek word ekpyrosis (ἐκπύρωσις, "conflagration"), which refers to a Stoic cosmological model in which the universe is caught in an eternal cycle of fiery birth, cooling and rebirth.
The theory addresses the fundamental question that remains unanswered by the Big Bang inflationary model, "What happened before the Big Bang?" The explanation, according to the ekpyrotic theory, is that the Big Bang was actually a big bounce, a transition from a previous epoch of contraction to