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Compact Cosmos

37 36 BIGBANGORSTEADYSTATE fabricating a universe The big bang theory is our most popular scientific creation myth, interpreting many,though not all,of the mysteries that surround us. It suggests that some fourteen billion years ago the entire universe burst into being as a searingly hot, infinitesimally small point. Spacetime curved into existence from this singularity,held together by one unified force. As the new universe rapidly cooled,the force crystallized into the four we are familiar with today. Suddenly undergoing inflationit grew enormously,stretching tiny fluctuations in its fabric into seeds for largescale structures. Matter condensed out from energy, clumping first into subatomic particles, then atoms,stars,galaxies,clusters,and eventually us. Another take is steady statecosmology. This leans toward continuous creation in a universe that has always existed. Here hydrogen forms in interstellar space,or possibly galactic cores,slowly collecting into molecular clouds and higher order objects. A quasi steady state variant pictures the universe as expanding and contracting over immense periods of time, each phase building on structures remaining from the previous one. Cosmic in and out breath is echoed in the cyclic braneworlds model in which our universe coexists alongside another. A pair of brane universes periodically crash together,bouncing off each other to initiate a new round of creation. After trillions of years the initial impetus fades and the universes once more approach, ending one epoch and beginning another with a big splat. Like everything else,theories are born,reproduce,and evolve.
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