Big Bang – The Beginning
Music; Ambience: timelapse sounds of creation of universe, from Big Bang forward 500,000 years
JM: Let’s go back to the beginning — the beginning of everything. The cataclysmic explosion of light and matter that marked the creation of the universe, what scientists call The Big Bang. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.
MW: “The Big Bang refers to those early moments when the universe was created, and it’s a constellation of ideas and theories and observations, really.
JM: Mark Whittle is a Professor of Astronomy at the University of Virginia.
MW: “I suppose the original piece of evidence, if you like, goes back to the 1920s, when Edwin Hubble, first noticed that galaxies all seemed to be moving away from us, which sounds a little bit odd. But when you think about it more deeply, it turns out that all galaxies are moving away from every other galaxy. This means that the universe is expanding. And if you run the clock backwards, it means that everything was closer together until there was a moment when everything was on top of itself.
MW: So, the picture was emerging that the universe had a finite age. It hasn’t always been here. The early universe was thousands, millions, or even higher degrees in temperature. This refers to the state of matter and light. It was highly energized. There was a moment, which to some extent, is still shrouded in mystery, but there was a moment when everything burst forth. And one of its primary characteristics was it was exceedingly hot and bright, actually. There was a great deal of light at the same time. The universe was born principally as light, and the matter was a trace. It was a small component. It was primarily the energy of light early in the universe’s history. Those two roles actually gradually switched places. Now, light is a rather feeble component of the universe, and matter is dominant.
JM: That sound, by the way, is a reproduction of the first million years of our universe, raised 50 octaves so we can hear it. Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation.