Historians debate the role of various players in events that happened only hundreds of years ago. Prognosticators are uncertain what twists and turns worldly events might take little more than years, months or even weeks from now. Yet, thanks to the steady, predictable nature of many of the laws of physics, such as Einstein's general theory of relativity, along with space probes and telescopes able to collect ancient light from remote objects, cosmologists feel comfortable discussing events billions of years ago or speculating about possibilities billions of years hence. The precise sequence of what happened only a fraction of a second after the Big Bang, some 13.75 billion years ago, has become a central part of modern cosmological discussion.
In this second installment of my contribution to the AT&T Science and Technology Series I discuss the profound question, "What was the universe like when it was formed?"