Student Activity: The Big Bang

The big bang theory is the most accepted theory for the formation of the universe. The “big bang” is a misnomer because there was no explosion, but rather a rapid expansion. It is not known what existed the moment before the big bang, however the evolution of the universe from the first instant after the big bang and onwards is well understood. There is considerable evidence supporting the big bang theory, including the following observations:

  • There is an abundance of light elements (hydrogen and helium) in the universe. This is as predicted by the big bang theory.
  • The universe cooled as it expanded so that today the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) radiation corresponds to a temperature of 2.7 K. This is consistent with scientists’ predictions of that an expanding universe would by now have cooled to a temperature in this range.
  • The universe is expanding and the galaxies appear to be moving away from us at speeds directly proportional to their distance from us.

This balloon activity models the universe: once compact but now expanding.

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David Christian: The history of our world in 18 minutes

Backed by stunning illustrations, David Christian narrates a complete history of the universe, from the Big Bang to the Internet, in a riveting 18 minutes. This is “Big History”: an enlightening, wide-angle look at complexity, life and humanity, set against our slim share of the cosmic timeline.
TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, and TEDTalks cover these topics as well as science, business, development and the arts. Closed captions and translated subtitles in a variety of languages are now available on TED.com, at http://www.ted.com/translate.

Why is the universe flat?

Cosmic inflation is a theory that was proposed in the 1980s by cosmologist Alan Guth to answer some of the most fundamental questions of the origins of our universe. It also solved the Horizon Problem and the Flatness Problem.

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The Big Bang

Courtesy of Luis Fernández García via Wikimedia Commons

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The big bang theory is the most accepted theory for the formation of the universe. The “big bang” is a misnomer because there was no explosion, but rather a rapid expansion. It is not known what existed the moment before the big bang, however the evolution of the universe from the first instant after the big bang and onwards is well understood. Continue reading