Rather than emerging from a point, that ball may have been the densest part of an ongoing process, in which a previous universe had collapsed in on itself, "bounced" against the limits of density, and then expanded again to become our current universe. Or, after its initial growth, the universe may have paused before expanding as it does today. Future analysis of gravitational waves left over from the early universe could validate the work, Ferreira says. "Einstein's theory is simpler," he admits. "But sometimes the simplest idea isn't the best one."