The Wonder of It All

 

ESO Milky Way
A public domain image from the European Southern Observatory

 

Gerald L. Schroeder, an American Jew who now lives and teaches in Jerusalem, earned B.Sc., M.Sc., and Ph.D. degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in nuclear physics and in earth and planetary sciences.  The following passage is taken from his book God According to God: A Scientist Discovers We’ve Been Wrong About God All Along (New York: HarperOne, 2009), 28-29:

 

The big bang did not produce matter as we know it, not any of the ninety-two elements, such as carbon and oxygen, and not the protons, neutrons, or electrons that would eventually combine to make the atoms of those elements.

By a fraction of a microsecond following the creation, the primary material product of the big bang was concentrated as exquisitely intense energy.  There are many types of energy, but the form most manifest microseconds after the creation was electromagnetic radiation — in simplistic terms, something akin to superpowerful light beams.  Then, within the first few moments following the creation, as the universe raced outward, stretching space, a transition took place (a transition the basis for which was discovered by Albert Einstein and codified in that famous equation E = mc2) as energy condensed into the form of matter.  A minute fraction of those light beams of energy metamorphosed and became the lightest of elements, primarily the gases hydrogen and helium.  Over eons of time, mutual gravitational forces pulled those primordial gases into galaxies of stars.  The immense pressures within the stellar cores crushed the nuclei of hydrogen together, fusing them to form heavier elements and, in doing so, releasing the vast amounts of energy we see as starlight.  These forces of fusion coupled with those of stellar explosions, supernovae, yielded the ninety-two elements that eventually on planet earth would form building blocks of beings that became alive and sentient.  All this was made from the lightlike energy of the creation.  Now that is a cause for wonder.

Light beams became alive, and became not only alive, but self-aware, and acquired the ability to wonder.  The wonder is not whether this genesis took six days or fourteen billion years or even eternity.  The wonder is that it happened.  Of that fact there is no debate in science. . . .  Every physical object in this vast universe, including our human bodies, is built of the light of creation.

 

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And, in other news:

 

“Back to square one on dark matter find: Better imaging reveals earlier observation to be a product of less-than-perfect optics.”

 

 

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