Liberal Arts Blog — The Orion of the Big Bang plus a Few Pictures and Carl Sagan’s Cosmic Calendar
Liberal Arts Blog — Wednesday is the Joy of Science, Engineering, and Technology Day
Today’s Topic — The Orion of the Big Bang plus a Few Pictures and Carl Sagan’s Cosmic Calendar
What are the seven big facts about the Big Bang that every third grader should know? How about fifth grader? 8th grader? 12th grader? Harvard graduate? Which are the most important three of these seven? Which is the most important of the top three? Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
THE TOP THREE: the truth, the timing, what happened before
1. It’s just a theory. Or not.
2. It happened about 13.8 billion years ago.
3. It’s when the whole thing started. Really? what happened before? You expect me to believe absolutely anything, don’t you?
THE NEXT FOUR: the observation, backward extrapolation, the cooling
1. The observational basis for the theory is that the farther away a galaxy is the faster it is moving away from the earth.
2. Extrapolating backwards gets you to “singularity” in which space and time lose meaning.
3. After the initial explosion the universe started to cool allowing the formation of subatomic particles and then atoms.
4. “Giant clouds of these primordial elements — mostly hydrogen, with some helium, and lithium — later coalesced through gravity forming early stars and galaxies.” The rest is footnotes.
FOOTNOTES — Carl Sagan’s cosmic calendar — condensing the history of the universe into a calendar year
FINAL WORD: We’re just getting started.
A LINK TO THE LAST FOUR YEARS OF POSTS ORGANIZED BY THEME:
Please share the coolest thing you learned this week related to science, engineering, or technology. Or, even better, the coolest or most important thing you learned in your life related to science and engineering.
This is your chance to make someone else’s day. Or to cement in your mind something that you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply about something dear to your heart. Continuity is key to depth of thought.