big bang

Category archives for big bang

“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.” -Albert Einstein And yet, this is a very good reason! We need things to happen in stages: you can’t form human beings before you form planets (that would be bad); you can’t form stars before you form atoms (also bad); you can’t form…

“I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can’t see from the center.” -Kurt Vonnegut The Universe is expanding and cooling, with all but a few of the closest galaxies receding from our view. In fact,…

The status of the Universe: 2015 (Synopsis)

“People are trapped in history and history is trapped in them.” -James A. Baldwin We’ve come a long way since we first started watching the night skies. Even just a century ago, we thought our Universe was governed by Newtonian gravity and consisted only of our Milky Way and the stars inside. In the past…

The Big Bang for Children (Synopsis)

“To begin, begin.” -William Wordsworth Is the Big Bang the greatest scientific achievement of the 20th century? I — along with many others — would argue that it is. It’s something that even young children are curious about! Perhaps it’s in our nature to wonder about where we come from? Yet despite the fact that it’s been…

Memory Monday: Our Universe Changes (Synopsis)

“Our feeblest contemplations of the Cosmos stir us — there is a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a faint sensation, as if a distant memory, of falling from a height. We know we are approaching the greatest of mysteries.” -Carl Sagan 34 years ago, Carl Sagan became the first person to present —…

The Moment of Truth for BICEP2 (Synopsis)

“The paradigm of physics — with its interplay of data, theory and prediction — is the most powerful in science.” -Geoffrey West So earlier this year, the BICEP2 team shook up the world by announcing the discovery of primordial gravitational waves: a signal from the earliest stages of the Universe, going all the way back to before the Big Bang!…

Sure, the Big Bang is great. Going back to very early times, it tells us the Universe was in a hot, dense state, where even the possibility of forming neutral atoms was impossible due to the incredible energies of the Universe at that time. The patterns of fluctuations that are left over from that time…

“I think one of the coolest things you can do is disappear for a while, because it gives you the chance to re-emerge.” -Josh Homme The Big Bang — and General Relativity in general — teaches us that in an expanding Universe, it’s the fabric of space itself that evolves over time. One of the…

“Let others praise ancient times; I am glad I was born in these.” -Ovid With all that we know of astronomy, with the hundreds of billions of galaxies and hundreds of billions of stars in each that we know are there, it might surprise you to learn that the stars — for the most part…

“We were marching down the street, & we were at the head of the troops. We went on marching, & the troops went off to the left.” -Geoffrey Burbidge It’s such a part of our cosmic and scientific history, that it’s difficult to remember that it’s only been for the past 50 years that the…