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In this presentation I will describe events that occurred in the first second of the life of the universe. There have been approximately four-hundred-thousand-million-million seconds since the beginning of the universe, so to concentrate on only one of them might seem the ultimate degree of overspecialization. But the very first second was really something special.

Cosmology is History

In some sense cosmology is history; it is the science of history. If history of science is a well established field, I see no reason why there can't be something known as science of history. Indeed, my approach to cosmology is that of a historian, and certainly not that of an antiquarian. An antiquarian is interested in old things simply because they are old. To an antiquarian, a laundry list from 1215 is just as significant as the Magna Carta since it is equally old. A historian, on the other hand, is interested in the past because past events shape the present. Of course, not every past event is equally significant. It is the job of an historian to sort through the past to find the most important events, those that shape the future. Studying the past helps us understand the present.

I am interested in the first second of the universe because events during that time are responsible for shaping the structure of the present universe. Just as in history, in cosmology the past shapes the present. We will never have a complete understanding of the present universe without at least a rudimentary understanding of the origin of the universe.

Contributed by: Dr. Edward Kolb

Cosmic Questions

Did the Universe Have a Beginning? Topic Index
A Recipe for Primordial Soup


Two Themes
Growing Cosmology
The Universe Today
The Ten Commandments
Into the Primordial Soup
The Recipe for a Universe
The Importance of Nothing
A Cosmic Symphony


Rocky Kolb

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Glossary Terms
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