Monday, December 28, 2009
The Beginning of the Universe
Closer to Truth presents a fascinating series of interviews on whether the universe had a beginning.
The answer is yes, about 13.7 billion years ago. The universe originated spontaneously, out of nothing, because the laws of quantum physics require particles to pop in and out of existence. Yet, and this is remarkable, the laws of physics - the same laws that describe the universe - would seem to have existed before the universe itself.
The Big Bang, we learn, may have itself arisen out of cosmic inflation, which is to say that the Big Bang may have a history and pre-history. But whatever this prior state, the Big Bang happened because the laws of physics made it happen.
One nice thing about this video is that it leaves us with a question: Why? Why did our universe begin? Why the laws of physics? The video nicely suggests that the proper answer is silence. It's not god, gods or even no gods. The answer for now is silence.