NEW YORK: There was nothing around before the Big Bang, according to renowned British physicist Stephen Hawking.
Speaking during a TV talk show "Star Talk", aired on Sunday on National Geographic Channel, Hawking propounded his theory on what happened before the universe came into existence.
Hawking's theory lies upon the assumption that the universe has no boundaries, the Xinhua reported late on Sunday.
"The boundary condition of the universe ... is that it has no boundary," he told TV host Neil deGrasse Tyson.
The Big Bang is the rapid expansion of matter from a state of extremely high density and temperature which according to current cosmological theories marked the origin of the universe.
The theory holds that the universe in retrospective can shrink to the size of an extremely small "subatomic ball" known as the singularity.
Hawking said that the laws of physics and time cease to function inside that tiny particle of heat and energy.
In other words, the ordinary real time as we know now shrinks infinitely as the universe becomes ever smaller but never reaches a definable starting point.
During the show, Hawking argued that before the Big Bang, real ordinary time was replaced by imaginary time and was in a bent form.
"It was always reaching closer to nothing but didn't become nothing," he said.
Further, Hawking drew an analogy between the distorted time with Ancient Greek philosopher Euclid's theory of space-time, a closed surface without end.
Taking the example of Earth, he said: "One can regard imaginary and real-time beginning at the South Pole ... There is nothing south of the South Pole, so there was nothing around before the Big Bang."
"There was never a Big Bang that produced something from nothing. It just seemed that way from mankind's perspective," Hawking said, hinting that a lot of what we believe is derived from a human-centric perspective, which might limit the scope of human knowledge of the world.