The Beginning of the Universe and the Limit of Knowledge

“Despite its name, the big bang theory is not really a theory of a bang at all. It is really only a theory of the aftermath of a bang.” –Alan Guth So you finally understand it. The Big Bang tells us that the Universe was hotter, denser, and expanding at a faster rate in the … Read moreThe Beginning of the Universe and the Limit of Knowledge

Inflation, Dark Energy, and the Physics of Spacetime

“Orbiting Earth in spaceship, I saw how beautiful our planet is. People, let us preserve and increase beauty, not destroy it!” –Yuri Gagarin Fifty-two years ago today, the first human being left Earth, and we began our journey into outer space. But back in 1961, we didn’t really know how far outer space stretched, or … Read moreInflation, Dark Energy, and the Physics of Spacetime

What Happened Before The Big Bang?

“The aim of science is not to open the door to infinite wisdom, but to set a limit to infinite error.” –Bertolt Brecht One of the most frequent questions I get about the Universe — as a cosmologist — isn’t quite about the Big Bang in and of itself. The Big Bang is a remarkable … Read moreWhat Happened Before The Big Bang?

The Cosmic Story of Carbon-14

“Life exists in the universe only because the carbon atom possesses certain exceptional properties.” –James Jeans Here on Earth, every living thing is based around four fundamental, elemental building blocks of life: hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and, perhaps most importantly, carbon. From diamonds to nanotubes to DNA, carbon is indispensable for constructing practically all of the most intricate … Read moreThe Cosmic Story of Carbon-14