The Universe: Beyond The Big Bang

The Universe: Beyond The Big Bang

2007, Science  -   181 Comments
Ratings: 7.33/10 from 48 users.

The Universe: Beyond The Big BangDocumentary that explores how mankind came to understand the Universe and its origins in the Big Bang.

From the earliest people who looked up at the sky and wondered about its nature to modern physicists like Einstein, Gamow, Alpher And Guth.

The universe began with a massive expansion, billions and billions of years ago, and it continues to expand with every passing second.

The idea that the universe, and man's very existence, began with a "Big Bang" is no longer a topic of debate among most scientists - it is essentially taken as fact.

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Al Jacinto
4 years ago

Understanding what was before us is terribly difficult...human mind is not fully capable of understanding - at this point in time - how the universe formed except for various scientific and mathematical theories...

Interested Party
6 years ago

So, if the Big Bang theory was how the universe was made, if I re-created the "big bang" in a library, I assume all the matter that the books are made from would re-organize itself onto the bookshelves? Tell me again there is no intelligent being that has organized all of this for a distinct purpose? And, which part of the Big bang created animals and humans? Lots of holes in the big bang.

7 years ago

What caused the bang in big bang... or wat was before it.... no one knws... Suppose u r moving from south to north assuming that u r moving frm present to past ( frm now to big bang).. whn u reach the north pole i.e. Big bang.. So this wud be meaningless if u say that to move in north direction further,, coz there wud be no north direction from north pole

8 years ago

I wouldn't go quite so far as to consider the Big Bang as a given, as there are eminent scientists now in contention as regards its validity. Don't misunderstand me, however, being that I'm only pointing out that some very bright minds in the field have found reason to fault the theory as less than satisfactory. What's more, the ideas that they have generated as an alternative explanation for the origin of the universe could hardly be viewed as less extraordinary, for what that's worth. So that, indeed, for sure, it would appear that we are living in quite extraordinary times as regards scientific understanding. So much so that the old adage of truth being stranger than fiction might very well seem particularly apt. Who can know what the coming decades may reveal to our understanding? My best guess would be to steady ourselves for unexpected revelations and excitements the likes of which we could not have anticipated or dreamed of.

szeredai akos
9 years ago

actually the big bang as a theory completely failed. it is completely nonexistent in my book. reason being, it failed every single prediction thrown at it.

it is basically scientific creationism

10 years ago

my life started with a big bang, thanks dad and mum.

11 years ago

Since both space and time (space-time) only came into existence with the big bang, it makes no sense to talk about what existed "before" the big bang ("before" implies that time was already operative), or how "small" the proto-universe was ("small" is a space related concept). What we need are powerful new modalities that have no relationship to either space or time with which to explore fundamental questions.

11 years ago

ok, so here's my theory; what im about to say is not backed by any science what so ever: before the big bang, on a scale unimaginably large compared to ours, they were trying to identify the smallest particules of their univers with their unimaginably large hydron collider and created what is to us the big-bang, only to find out there was a whole periodic table of new elemental smaller particules. we are living in the particules that appear for a trillionth of their second during their experiment, but on our scale it seems like trillions of years of expantion, during which we have all the time to develop ever bigger hydron colliders, to identify smaller and smaller particules... perhaps as we identify quarks and what makes up quarks, on a scale unimaginably small compared to ours, people are identifying the elusive smallest particule, at last! :{D

11 years ago

I usually hate watching science docs, but this was one was very interesting and even if it didn't do the best at relaying the factual information I felt it was an overall success in my book.

12 years ago

History Channel is the worst at documentaries.

12 years ago

damn numbers especially after thousands r difficult to understand while watching,listening to the doc for me and ppl like me i think, whose english isnt native
wow..a doc worth watching..5 stars to alan guth..
notes from the watching:primitive ppl looked at the sky because they dint have tv ,pc,dvd player etc screens to look at...

12 years ago

@Az, one of the several movies I know to be great, and haven't watched..yet

12 years ago

Atheism is the most daring of all dogmas, for it is the assertion of a universal negative."

But reason alone cannot prove the existence of God. Faith is reason plus revelation, and the revelation part requires one to think with the spirit as well as with the mind. You have to hear the music, not just read the notes on the page. Ultimately, a leap of faith is required.

12 years ago

Okay so this fight against MrMajestik & Dr. Critic
I would like to take Dr Critics side. I am in no way religious but athiest and do not believe that in any 'comprehensive' way that a god/almighty exist but just think back to Einstein - one of the greatest scientists/ mathamatician to have ever existed, a religous believer to almost solve the 'string theory' the theory that explains the whole question of how everything was created, something solely against his own beliefs. This proves that even 'if' and 'why' a god exists that you have the right to take the side that you believe in. If we were created by the big bang or something even before that then why were we given the mind, the willpower to comprehend something as complex as god itself purely because whatever it was that created us whether it be a massive being of power or something even tinier than a molecule itself wanted us wanted the vast universe of life to live and for a purpose but to us 'man' is something we still cant comprehend

12 years ago

The universe is "god", and it's quite beautiful and amazing.

12 years ago


"Ever heard the name ‘Science’ and ‘Scientists’? What makes the world work? Who gets you medicine when ur sick? Who lets you communicate with your near and dear ones? With whose contribution did you have the capability to come to this wonderful website and type “Typical Atheist Hogwash”. I could go on. . . . Most people actually they know what science is and what scientists do. But actually *THEY DON’T*!

theres no point in telling him that, he probably thinks god did all that lol!

13 years ago

Awesome and wonderful information! :)

13 years ago

God can be explained. Not yet, obviously, but I simply cannot agree when one says it is beyond comprehension. Everything that exist can and will be found, measured, quantified and explained thoroughly given enough time. If it really cannot be explained, it doesnt exist.

People have faith because they look for answers. I have faith in humanity because it looks for those answers relentlessly. Your faith is simply missplaced. If you truely believe in God, find him the only way we know how to: scientifically. You definitely will not find it in books written billions of years after his creation came to be. You will probably not find him on this planet. I'd bet you won't even find him in this galaxy.

The answers will come if you actually look for them. Looking for them doesnt challenge your faith. It is the reason for your faith. I dare you to try.

13 years ago

Ask 100 people if your think your opinion is right, you will soon find out if your right or not, who needs to ask 100 people if god exists you know what the answers will add up to, i find this works for most things. hope it helps some lost messed up god loons. yer your all messed up well 90% of people think you are. war is all the word god has given us.

Just be nice you don't need a god for that.
peace to all

13 years ago

Document made without considering astrology work done in china, india or persia.... I feel it is a incomplete document.

Creator of all things
13 years ago

I created the universe...from my butt. Duh.

13 years ago


My reply to your comment should definitely not be taken in any serious sense. I was merely having a bit of fun. I agree with most of what you've said, would be hard pressed to find anything specific that I don't agree with.

It's a pity that something like Quantum Mechanics has become scam bait.

13 years ago


Re: The bear in woods...My point of that was to suggest that a reality exists even when no one is around to see, smell, hear, etc it. Saying the room or smell doesn't exist if no one is there to sense it, does not jive with my reasoning. The room and smell both exist, it is like saying atoms didn't exist in 2500 BC much less 200 years ago. My comments were really directed at some tard, Dr. Critic, who was advocating "intelligent design" a few statements back... I must humbly apologize to razor...I think I was in a hurry and addressed my response to him and not Dr. Critic. Then Razor commented using some metaphysical quote and I think I snapped...and broke the flow of the last several days posting which were on science and QM. I would not even begin to know what to argue in that area, my field of study is sociology...don't like math but I love learning about things that I don't necessarily understand. Anyhow...kinda rambling off topic. So in keeping with my point, of significance, the need to explain the vastness and marvel of the universe with "God did it" just doesn't satisfy. I think several peeps on here show why the vast majority of humanity will simply accept "In the beginning..." It is much easier to absorb and eliminates the need for more questioning or learning.

13 years ago

Yes, that's why I qualified my statement with the words, "...or a starting point, for information..."

I just have the same recervations about internet information as Richard Dawkins. It's too easy, and it's too easy to manipulate on the fly. Leads to the tin-foil hat wearers going hog-wild. I mean you guys use realiable sources and check the veracity of author's claims, etc. as do I.

Which by the way, I'm having a hell of a time with a bunch of tin-foil'ers over at that Zeitgiest as a government movement (nonsense) board... You think talking logic to Creationists is hard... try to talk sense to a World-Wide-Conspiracy nut!

13 years ago

MIT open courseware is also very good for maths and physics. It is aslo totally free and has complete course video lectures (as well as problem sets and assignments) in many subjects.

I strongly recomend Walter Lewin's classes on classical mechanics and if you're feeling brave his classes on electricity and magnetism.


Achems Razor
13 years ago

Well the internet seems fine for me.

Many courses about Quantum theory at Stanford University.
some neat math!
If interested take as follows first, it is free!

..."youtube-lecture 1 quantum entanglements, part 1 (stanford)

13 years ago

Fascinating. Well, if you can believe Wiki, (and in many, many cases, you can't... take that to heart, younguns! The internet is actually a poor substitute, or just a starting point, for information!), it seems that those scientists may be on to... something.

Revisions in Newtonian mechanics may indeed be needed. But, seriously, this is really blasphemous in large, powerful circles of academia!

It will take awhile to get an idea like that through the "courts" of scientific approval. Which is a good thing. New ideas must be beaten to hell, and radical scientists must be put through the worst trials by fire before their ideas become accepted. This is a good thing.

Nature builds strong organisms by beating the CRAP out of them for millions of years. If they survive, they flourish. Same for new scientific thoeries.

13 years ago

As far as problems with gravity... here is a list of problem from wikipedia

Extra fast stars: Stars in galaxies follow a distribution of velocities where stars on the outskirts are moving faster than they should according to the observed distributions of normal matter. Galaxies within galaxy clusters show a similar pattern. Dark matter, which would interact gravitationally but not electromagnetically, would account for the discrepancy. Various modifications to Newtonian dynamics have also been proposed.

Pioneer anomaly: The two Pioneer spacecraft seem to be slowing down in a way which has yet to be explained.[21]

Flyby anomaly: Various spacecraft have experienced greater accelerations during slingshot maneuvers than expected.
Accelerating expansion: The metric expansion of space seems to be speeding up. Dark energy has been proposed to explain this. A recent alternative explanation is that the geometry of space is not homogeneous (due to clusters of galaxies) and that when the data are reinterpreted to take this into account, the expansion is not speeding up after all[22], however this conclusion is disputed[23].

Anomalous increase of the AU: Recent measurements indicate that planetary orbits are widening faster than if this was solely through the sun losing mass by radiating energy.
Extra energetic photons: Photons travelling through galaxy clusters should gain energy and then lose it again on the way out. The accelerating expansion of the universe should stop the photons returning all the energy, but even taking this into account photons from the cosmic microwave background radiation gain twice as much energy as expected. This may indicate that gravity falls off faster than inverse-squared at certain distance scales[24].

Dark flow: Surveys of galaxy motions have detected a mystery dark flow towards an unseen mass. Such a large mass is too large to have accumulated since the Big Bang using current models and may indicate that gravity falls off slower than inverse-squared at certain distance scales[24].

Extra massive hydrogen clouds: The spectral lines of the Lyman-alpha forest suggest that hydrogen clouds are more clumped together at certain scales than expected and, like dark flow, may indicate that gravity falls off slower than inverse-squared at certain distance scales[24].

13 years ago

I just figured dark matter was neutrinos... I think we need to keep forces about where they are now or we will never get to the point to need dark matter.

We keep the forces where the are to make the universe and star dust, add dark matter to keep galaxies from flying apart, add dark energy to keep the universe expanding.

You screw with a force then the whole model has to be rewritten. Since im not in the mode to start all over I will stick with my neutrinos bet

13 years ago

@Hate_Machine, (Pretty_Little)

"...we can only observe about 5% of the universe… the rest is dark energy and a splatter of dark matter."

Ah! Fascinating subject! I was all over Dark Matter for years! Studied it, wrote sci-fi stories specualting on what it could be, etc...

But, recently, last year some time, I was watching the Science Channel and I saw a documentary on gravititational forces and the idea that they are leaking into our dimension ('brane) from another. They touched on Dark Matter and Dark Energy and the equations that seem to prove their existence.

What got me thinking was this: a small part of the doc was devoted to the scientists, (few but reputable), that dispute the dark matter theory saying that the equations could easily balance if they throw away Newtonian gravitational rules!

Now, this is scientific heresy as you would imagine. But their arguments were quite logical and they intrigued me. I do not subscribe or say that I have verified any of this, because, I have really not had the chance to even look these guys up and read their work in detail.

But, think about it: maybe the forces of gravity actually do not respond always as Newton described, everywhere in the Universe... isn't that possible? If so, than the idea of dark matter is no longer needed.

Maybe someone knows more about this and can talk about it or point us to some reading/docs on the subject? Valid idea or silly idea?

13 years ago

@Randy - and thanks for reminding me of the 80s... ill send you my therapy bill

Achems Razor
13 years ago

Good stuff, @ H.M. and @ Randy.

13 years ago

Well to throw another shoe in the cogs... we can only observe about 5% of the universe... the rest is dark energy and a splatter of dark matter.

Even though it goes by a simple name no one has any clue about the who what where or how of the dark stuff. They are simply place holders in an equation that has to be there or the universe will fall apart in our models.

I personally believe that they are about to figure out the dark matter thing (30 or so years later) but the energy thing will be a while.

13 years ago

Well, that's all true, but, my original point is getting lost and it is my fault. The cat experiment reference really threw you off, Pretty little Hate_Machine!

I'm really only talking about Achem's original point that we can't prove the existence of the unobserved Universe. AND, more importantly, that it is pointless to really dwell on it, because we have enough to study in our observed Universe! LOL

13 years ago

If we had an infinite number of monkeys open an infinite number of doors, all things in the universe would show up on the other side. Stars, planets, quasars, you, me, another room full of monkeys and doors.

13 years ago

This all comes about because we cannot know where an electron is orbiting. We just have to know the chances of where it will be. There are very high chances that it will be in one of the defined orbits. But it is just a prediction.

Your door experiment leads us to believe that it is 50/50 whether the room is there or not. In reality it would be like 1 / .1 x -10^100000 or some really crazy small number... but that number does exist in reality.

13 years ago

#Randy - your right on about the NiN reference. As for
"Proving the existance of the room without seeing it" you dont have to prove it... you have to know that it is both there and not there.

Say for example you were buying carpet and you needed to know the sq footage to purchase. You would need to include the room because sometimes it would be there and sometimes it wouldn't. You never know if it happened to be there or not until you open the door... but every time you open the door the outcome would be different.

The scary part is this experiment is actually true. There is always a very VERY small chance that the room on the other side of the door doesn't exist anymore. The chances of it not being there are so small that we never have to worry about it... but there is still the chance.

13 years ago

@Hate_Machine (great name BTW, Trent Resnor reference or...)

LOL, yes, I realized the example was, shall we say "flaccid" as soon as I hit the send button! So I tried to correct it.

I realize the cat was illustrating an entirely different principle, but... hmmm... I'll try... the METHOD is the same to illustrate a differing point???

Am I salvaging myself or digging myself in deeper, LOL!

13 years ago

@Randy - You have it wrong. You speak of the Copenhagen interpretation but you are off.

In the case of Schrödinger's cat it is alive AND dead at the same time. Again... It is both. Until you make the observation you have to account for it being both. That is why it is called wave particle duality. Again thats duality.

In your experiment the room "does exist" and "doesn't exist".

You dont have to prove it exists or not you just have to account for the duality.

Sadly your experiment for god has gone haywire! You would need to both "believe in god" and "disbelieve in god"... accounting for the duality in your experiments.

Wow... kinda crazy.

Achems Razor
13 years ago

Good on you @ Randy:

Actually was thinking "Observation Effect"

13 years ago

Ooops, I should have said, "...LIKE the old Shroedinger's cat thought experiment..." because, obviously, he was illustrating a different principle entirely.

But the idea is similar, perhaps, as an example...? Can anybody back me up on that, or am I talking out of my ass?

HAHA, some really stimulating conversation on this site! I love talking about big things with big minds!

I miss my old PHD buddies...

13 years ago

@MrMajestic for Achems Razor:

[[You say…”there is reality, matter, and (sic) “existance” without human cognition”…that is a dumb statement, because how would anybody know??]]

MrMajestic, I think what Achems Razor was getting at was the old Shroedinger's cat thought experiment.

You and I both "believe" that the room still exists when we close the door, but we can't prove it, until we open the door again.

Proving the existance of the room without seeing it, is like trying to prove the existance of god, for example. I can believe in the room but I can't prove it without evidence. The evidence would be... open the door.

But like god, the idea is fun to think about, but generally pointless because without observation, as Heisenburg, (and I appologize for the bad name spelling), suggested in his work the act of observation changes the outcome of the experiment.

No one can prove the existance of the unobserved world, but that is really the pervue of the philosophers, I think, rather than the scientists.

13 years ago

@Achems Razor - ah so its not actually a theory or anything remotely resembling a theory... guess thats is where I went wrong. Thanks for explaining your "umbrella term".

Achems Razor
13 years ago

No problem @ H.M.

"Quantum Theory" just means is an "umbrella term" for all Quantum, like Physics, mechanics, and anything else concerning Quantum,

All you have to do,is google "Quantum theory". Knock yourself out.


13 years ago

@Achems Razor - I know of quantum mechanics and theories like M(Brane), String, but i have never heard of a "Quantum Theory"

Who devised this theory, where is it published, what does it state. Where there multiple authors? What schools do they work for( i assume the are professors).

I just need the facts... I am more then willing to read up on the matter once I know who wrote the theory.

13 years ago


To be fair. If a bear craps in the woods then it gives off a scent. It doesn't stink until a person smells it and labels it as such :P

And Quantum Mechanics is unfortunately a very unknown and easily twistable part of science... I'm considering writing a book called "The Quantum Diet", not sure what I'll put in it but I bet I could sell 200,000 copies easy just with that title.

As with anything mysterious people will try to make it fit their belief system or will build a belief system around the unknowns in it. And other will scam people by using the buzzwords it creates. Much like I'm considering doing :P

Achems Razor
13 years ago

@ Eric Howe:

Oh! but I can read it! even though it is second hand, what "first hand" theorems have you presented lately???

13 years ago

Oops sorry My bad...

I din't see there was a 'Manage your Subscriptions' option.. LOL

13 years ago

Hey Vlatko,

We should get an add-on functionality of 'un-following' a comment thread on this website. I guess that wouldn't take more than a few LOC..

@Mr. S D - Yeah :), referring to Morther - people should at least give some thought to what B.S. they are writing.

Cheers :)

Achems Razor
13 years ago

@ H.M.

You do not know what Q. T. is??

You could of fooled me, when you where "Waxing Rhetoric" about the fathers of Q. T.,...Schrodinger, Bohr, Planck, on "the genius of Darwin"...04/24/2010 at 04:02