Saturday, March 22, 2014

Cosmos Redux

"The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be."
—Carl Sagan, Cosmos

His eloquence capturing my curiosity and imagination, Carl Sagan is one of my all-time favorite scientists. His cosmic journeys stirred my sense of wonder about the universe and solidified my lifelong passion for science. How fitting that one of my other all-time favorite scientists, Neil deGrasse Tyson, should revisit and revise this cosmic journey that Sagan began 30+ years ago. The newly-launched Cosmos is once again stirring my imagination and reviving that sense of wonder I first felt decades ago. Cosmos, both the original series and the new series, should be required reading and viewing for "every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner."*

*Excerpted from Carl Sagan's Pale Blue Dot speech (with apologies)

Our cosmic journey just got more interesting this week with the announcement of confirmatory experimental evidence for a key piece of the Big Bang Theory, the scientific explanation for the origin and evolution of our universe. Scientists used careful telescopic observations to detect faint ripples that emanated from the inflationary expansion of our universe in its nascent micro-moments. While behind most humans' everyday experience, this new knowledge is a triumph and celebration for astrophysicists who have sought to understand the very beginnings of this universe in which we exist. Carl Sagan would smile with this astonishing discovery.

Thank you to all scientists who dare ask bold, audacious questions about our universe and who courageously seek the truth amidst the mystery of the unknown—despite the charlatans who would endeavor to discredit you. You inspire us!

Excellent explanations about this week's discovery about cosmic inflation have been produced by:

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