4 Biggest Questions about the Universe

Question 1- How did the Universe begin and evolve?- The Big Bang

how did the universe begin

Who sought the first proof to support the theory of the Big Bang?

In 1929, Edwin Powell Hubble, an American astronomer, made what was considered the most important astronomical discovery of the 20th century. He found observable proof that stars exist in huge groups called galaxies. By tracing the light of those stars, he also discovered that all matter in space is moving away from each other. Hubble’s colleague, Milton Humason, photographed the distant galaxies and determined that some galaxies were moving away at one-seventh the speed of light.

This discovery was enormous, for it provided proof that the universe was expanding. This evidence alone made the Big Bang seem much more likely to be true.

The work of Edwin Hubble and Milton Humason is widely credited with ushering in the new era of modern cosmology – the study of the origin, evolution and structure of the universe.

What is Cosmology?- Cosmology Definition, Terms, Amazing Facts & Theories

What are some recent developments in the Big Bang theory?

Despite the Big Bang theory becoming the most widely accepted explanation of how the universe began by the mid-1960s, questions still remained. Measurements of background radiation produced by the big bang implied that the early universe was evenly distributed and that it evolved at a constant rate. If this was the case, homogeneity, or evenness of distribution of objects in the universe, should be observable. Instead, what exists is clumps of matter, such as star clusters and galaxies.

Two possible theories

Professor Alan Guth (Institute of Technology, Massachusetts) proposed an “inflationary theory”. This theory based on the belief that the universe underwent a rapid expansion-at a rate much faster than the speed of light-and then slowed down

In 1992, when NASA’s Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) looked fifteen billion light-years into space, it detected tiny temperature changes in the cosmic background radiation. This may be evidence of gravitational disturbances in the early universe; ripples, which were as long as ten billion light-years that could have eventually come together to form the lumpy mixture that is our universe. This last piece of evidence has caused all other theories about how the universe was created to be all but discarded.

Question 2- How did we get here?

how did we get here

Most of us, in the Western World at least, when pondering the possible answers to “How did we get here?” fall into either the evolutionist or creationist scientific camp. However, these are not the only two belief systems concerning the origin of plants, animals, humans, the rest of the world and universe. There are many hundreds of theories.

Many views; many religions

There are nineteen major world religions, according to David Barrett et al, publishers of the World Christian Encyclopedia, which are subdivided into a total of 270 large religious groups, with many thousands of smaller ones. Among these various faith groups, there are probably about 500 different creation stories.

From these many belief systems arise 3 dominant theories, each with their own characteristics.

Creation science | Naturalistic evolution | Theistic evolution

Creation science

  • New Earth creationists form the majority of creation scientists. They believe that, less than 10,000 years ago, God created the earth, its current life forms, and the rest of the universe. Since formation, only very small changes have happened within different species; no new species have evolved or been made. The primary proponents of this belief system are those who believe in the inerrant validity of the Hebrew Scriptures (aka the Old Testament).
  • Creationists of the Old Earth say geology and radiometric dating have proven that the universe is billions of years old. However, they still believe that God created the earth and the rest of the universe.

Read more: Einstein’s theory of Relativity made simple

Naturalistic evolution

  • The origin of the universe happened 10 to 20 billion years ago. The earth integrated about 4.5 billion years ago. Life subsequently started, perhaps as bacteria, and has developed since then. The mechanism of evolution, without input from a God, Goddess or multiple deities, has been powered by solely natural factors.

Theistic evolution

  • Evolution happened just as supporters of naturalistic evolution believe, but it was a tool created, used, and/or controlled by God.

The Mysterious Origins of Man

Producer Bill Coote thought that his new series might ruffle a few viewer feathers, “but we were not prepared for the enormous cry of outrage from some members of the scientific community.”

February 1996, NBC telecasted a documentary called The Mysterious Origins of Man (MOM). The switchboard lit up like a Christmas tree.

Professors of science and anthropology from some of the nation’s most prestigious colleges and universities were outraged about the special, which challenged long-accepted beliefs about man’s beginning.

The program presented evidence suggesting that man may have made the climb from Stone Age to civilization more than once; that present-day man is just the latest in this cycle; and that Darwin’s Theory of Evolution has some serious flaws.

Other points of contention included:

  • MOM claimed that some blue spheres, of an apparently artificial origin, had been found in South Africa in rocks dated to 2.8 billion years.
  • Another claim was that an advanced civilization lived on Antarctica 12,000 years ago, and was destroyed by a massive shifting of the Earth’s crust which also caused many mammoths to be instantly frozen
  • It was also claimed that the Oronteus Finaeus Map of 1532 supported the idea that Antarctica had been ice-free in historical times

Question 3-Where are we going?

where are we going

The Father of Cosmonautics had a vision

Mankind will not remain on Earth forever, but in his quest for light and space will at first timidly penetrate beyond the confines of the atmosphere, and later will conquer for itself all the space near the Sun.

Konstantin E. Tsiolkovsky (1857-1935) – father of cosmonautics.

Today the People support the vision

To show support for space exploration, several organisations have been established. One of them, the Space Frontier Foundation, is an organisation committed to the rapid opening of the Space Frontier to human settlement. Its aims include protecting the fragile biosphere of the Earth and creating a freer and more productive existence for each generation by using space’s infinite energy and material resources. Its goal is to unleash the power of free enterprise and permanently lead united humanity into the Solar System. Idealistic or not, organizations such as these are not alone.

NASA makes the vision a reality

Isaac Asimov wrote, “I think it is quite possible, starting now, to build settlements in space, to build worlds miniature in comparison to the Earth but large in comparison to anything we have done so far

Little did Isaac Asimov know that in 2002, within a decade of his death, the International Space Station would be scheduled for a grand opening.

Read more: What is Real?: Quantum physics and Reality

Question 4- Are we alone? – SETI

are we alone here in world

Attempts to answer this question will offend some and excite others. Either way, the answer will be gray.

There is no black or white. No zero or one – no binary yes or no. However, what we do know is that the question, “Are we alone?” is not taken lightly. For those serious about an answer, SETI is the acronym you need to remember. In other words, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence.

SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) is an effort to detect evidence of technological civilizations that may exist elsewhere in the universe, particularly in our galaxy. Outside our solar system, there are potentially billions of locations that may host life. We have the ability to discover evidence of cosmic habitation with our current technology where life has evolved and developed to a technological level at least as advanced as our own. The 1997 Hollywood blockbuster Contact, starring Jodie Foster, was probably the most notable fictionalized awakening to the question, “Are we alone?” for many people. The film was based on Carl Sagan’s novel, Contact. Also, Watch- ‘Are We Alone – In The Universe?’ on Amazon.

If you are curious and want to explore the Universe then ‘A Brief History of Time ‘ by Stephen Hawking is a highly recommended book. Check on Amazon-

Other Recommended Books

1. Why Are We Here?: The Story of the Origin, Evolution, and Future of Life on Our Planet

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2. Are We Alone?: Philosophical Implications Of The Discovery Of Extraterrestrial Life

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3. Who We Are and How We Got Here: Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past

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4. Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe

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