Saturday, April 9, 2011

Voyage to the Moments of Creation

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?"


  1. Absolutely fascinating. I feel like I've had my own mini lecture. Thank you Paul. I know I've come across some of this before, and I do understand (well, I think I do) when I hear or read it, but I keep needing to hear it again in the hope that, one day, it will stick!

  2. Thanks so much Clare! I'm glad you find it fascinating!

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. My earlier comment did not come through, I will recreate...

    I am so glad to finally get a moment to watch this!

    What a lovely concept 'tangle of geometry' and 'quantum froth', and enjoyed hearing about the weak force. So in the case of radioactivity is it possible to speed up the weak force?

    How does it violate the CP violation? Is this what created an unbalanced matter and anti-matter situation?

    Or were they in violation of parody without the weak force (or because of it)?

    Does anti-matter consist of three anti-quarks or a duo, or possibly both? Or do these not exist on opposite sides of the parody 'mirror'(or energy reflection) but in another place?

    I agree with Clare these are great mini-lectures, loved it, keep them up please!

  5. Woke up at 6 am sharp this morning thinking is it parody or parity? HA...a parody of a parity about a pair? I love the wonderful language of physics.

  6. String,
    Thanks for your comments. Interesting questions. Yes it is 'parity violation' but physicists are also known for parody too. I'm presenting a paper about physics and humor at an upcoming conference. Yes CP violation, which is present in certain types of decays mediated by the weak force, is thought to create the imbalance between matter and antimatter. Antimatter baryons (such as antiprotons) have three antiquarks. Glad you are enjoying the mini-lectures!