Know Scope

Andrew Sullivan —  Feb 5 2015 @ 8:00pm

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Marcelo Gleiser reminds us that, even though science has not yet detected gravitational waves from the Big Bang, “we should take note of what we do know about the early universe, which is nothing short of spectacular”:

We know that the universe is about 13.8 billion years old (a number that, updated from 13.7, has given us pause about the name of this very blog). We know its composition, or at least the relative contribution of the ingredients — if not the ingredients themselves (dark matter and dark energy remain a mystery). We have a firm grasp of the cosmic history from 400,000 years after the Big Bang to now — and we can even push it earlier, to a minute or so after the event, when the first atomic nuclei were synthesized. We also understand how galaxies form and how they are distributed across space, even if we still don’t know where the seeds that leapfrogged their emergence came from. …

We share with our ancestors the urge to understand our origins, to unveil the mystery of creation. The fact that science opens a window for us to peer into our deep past should be a cause for celebration, irrespective of what we find when we are finally able to look.

(Image from Hubble Space Telescope via NASA/ESA/UCSC/Leiden Univ.)