big bang

Category archives for big bang

The Two Big Bangs (Synopsis)

“These theories were based on the hypothesis that all the matter in the universe was created in one big bang at a particular time in the remote past.” -Fred Hoyle It’s making headlines every time someone brings it up: a quantum calculation, a new theory or some mathematical evidence proves it once and for all: there…

“Our knowledge of physics only takes us back so far. Before this instant of cosmic time, all the laws of physics or chemistry are as evanescent as rings of smoke.” -Joe Silk When people use the word theory colloquially, they use it to mean an “idea” or a “possibility” that could conceivably be at play.…

“Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain – and most fools do.” -Benjamin Franklin The history of science is rife with stories of cases where a person or team, usually with a lot of clout, reached a conclusion that seemed incontrovertible. When that occurs, we often find that subsequent measurements agree with that conclusion, even if that…

“To know that we know what we know, and to know that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge.” –Nicolaus Copernicus As we peel back the layers of information deeper and deeper into the Universe’s history, we uncover progressively more knowledge about how everything we know today came to…

“The paradigm of physics — with its interplay of data, theory and prediction — is the most powerful in science.” –Geoffrey West Cosmic inflation, our earliest theory of the Universe and the phenomenon that sets up the Big Bang, didn’t just explain a number of puzzles, but made a slew of new predictions for the Universe. In the subsequent…

“Gamow was fantastic in his ideas. He was right, he was wrong. More often wrong than right. Always interesting; … and when his idea was not wrong it was not only right, it was new.” -Edward Teller Considering what we know about our Universe today, it’s hard to believe that just a century ago, Einstein’s…

“They say it all started out with a big bang. But, what I wonder is, was it a big bang or did it just seem big because there wasn’t anything else drown it out at the time?” -Karl Pilkington Looking out at the distant stars, galaxies and radiation in the Universe today, we’ve been able…

“The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity.” -Harlan Ellison Shortly after the Big Bang, the Universe was filled with 99.99999993% hydrogen and helium, with the rest being lithium. But stars change everything, by fusing those elements — the lightest ones — into heavier ones, climbing the periodic table and enriching…

“In theory, there’s no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.” -Yogi Berra Scientific theories are a dime a dozen, yet only the most successful have a large range of validity, hold up to many disparate lines of evidence, and stand the test of time. Inevitably, our explorations go beyond that range of…

Dear Ben Carson: an open letter (Synopsis)

“In science it often happens that scientists say, ‘You know that’s a really good argument; my position is mistaken,’ and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn’t happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change…