Global Creation Stories (03:01)
Recent technological advances provide a detailed picture of universal origins. Indigenous Australians have observed stars for 40,000 years; hear about the emu. Professor Brian Cox believes curiosity about cosmic origins is inherently human.
Big Bang Theory (02:42)
Academics attempt to explain Western science's creation story. Some cosmologists believe it was an event in a pre-existing universe. In 1927, Edwin Hubble noticed the light is stretched in distant galaxies—suggesting an expanding universe.
Big Bang Evidence (03:32)
Discovered in the 1960s, cosmic microwave background radiation carries information about the beginning of time and allows scientists to "photograph" the universe in infancy. The Big Bang theory predicted its existence, but it raised new questions about pre-universal conditions.
Inflation Theory (05:29)
Cox explains the horizon and flatness problems in the Big Bang model. Inflation theory proposes the universe expanded more rapidly and is much bigger than originally thought. Rapid expansion must have occurred before the Big Bang.
Inflaton Field (04:02)
Cox visits Tidbinbilla, a deep space tracking station. Learn about the repulsive gravity mechanism that caused rapid universal expansion before the Big Bang. Quantum theory predicts denser regions that collapse to form galaxies and stars.
Multiverse Theory (02:38)
Many cosmologists accept the theory of inflation; some speculate the universe is infinite. The inflaton field's repulsive gravity may have generated multiple big bangs and multiple universes.
Inevitable Existence of Life (03:08)
The multiverse theory proposes multiple universes with infinite combinations of physical constants, dark energy and particle masses. Using this logic, conditions on Earth may not be unique. Scientists discuss the progression of knowledge about the universe.
Future of the Sun (04:32)
The second law of thermodynamics says that things can only deteriorate across the universe. The sun has burned halfway through its hydrogen; in 1.1 billion years, life on Earth will become uninhabitable. Learn about the red giant phase.
Heat Death of the Universe (03:31)
Eventually, the star recycling process will stop as available gas decreases. Decreased star formation is already visible in the Milky Way.
Fading Universe (02:10)
In a few billion years, the night sky will contain stellar mass black holes and fading stellar remnants. Eventually, it will be completely black.
Big Rip Theory (04:36)
In the 1990s, scientists discovered that universal expansion is accelerating. Hear how phantom dark energy could pull apart the fabric of the universe. This idea can be combined with the inflation theory.
Inflationary Multiverse (02:09)
If inflation occurs in patches, new universes could be created indefinitely. Cox uses wine barrels as an analogy for different expressions of possible physical conditions in universes.
Vacuum Decay Theory (01:51)
The Higgs-Boson particle, discovered at CERN's Large Hadron Collider, suggests that our universe could be in an unstable, false vacuum state. Hear how it could be annihilated at any moment.
Cosmology Becomes a Religion (04:22)
Whether through vacuum decay, a big rip or a slow heat death, our universe will eventually die. Human descendants will only observe dark night skies and be unable to deduce truths about the universe. Cox reflects on his Australian tour.
Credits: Life of the Universe (00:32)
Credits: Life of the Universe
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