Origins - The Universe
Origins – The Universe

The Universe…Here, everything exists. All that humanity has ever seen, all that humanity has ever known exists here. The universe is a vast place (around 90 billion light years in diameter) but, a question that strikes one’s mind is how did it all come to be? Most people believe it was god, but I see this answer as a way to get around the answer of “we don’t know”? Let’s look at one possible answer to the above question…

The most widely accepted theory of the origin of the universe is “The Big Bang”. This theory explains that 13.8 billion years ago, the universe started out as an infinitely small, infinitely dense and infinitely hot zero-dimensional point called the singularity. From this point on, the universe started expanding outwards in all directions. In a span of time between 10-36 and 10-33 seconds, the universe went through a phase that physicists called the inflation wherein the universe expanded rapidly (faster than light) to several hundred times its initial size. From here on, the expansion slowed down. At one second into the expansion, the universe cooled from infinite degrees to 10 billion degrees Celsius. Many particles where formed at this point- electrons, neutrons, neutrinos, photons and protons. After a 100 seconds, the universe cooled down to a temperature of about 1 billion degrees. Now at this point, the first protons and neutrons fused together to form the first element deuterium- an isotope of hydrogen that has 1 proton, 1 neutron and 1 electron. After deuterium, the elements hydrogen, helium, lithium and beryllium followed. The first star formed due to the result of collapsing hydrogen gas clouds and first shone light into a dark universe 200 million years after the Big Bang. The first galaxies took about 50 more million years to form. The Milky Way too is believed to have started to form somewhere around this time… Our sun was born 8 billion years later and the Earth just 500 million years later than that. We humans where born just 200.000 years ago- this stretch of time seems to be like a blink of an eye at the cosmic scale.

Interestingly the universe is still expanding and the rate is faster than ever. But, why does this universe exist. What came before the Big Bang? Did it form out of sheer nothingness or was it something or as some people believe “someone” else? I guess we are five Einstein away from answering that question.

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