Did Big Bang sound as loud as we think?

Did Big Bang sound as loud as we think?

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As we all know, There is no sound in space, because sound waves don't travel in a vacuum. But even if Big Bang did sound, what was the main source of it's cause?

"Was it as loud as we think" is difficult to answer, since it's opinion-based. But since sound is nothing but longitudal oscillations in a gaseous medium, Big Bang was not at all silent.

If the Universe were completely homogeneous, it would stay like that. But primordial quantum fluctuations ensured that space was a tiny bit more dense in some places, and a tiny bit more dilute in other places.

Gravitation then ensured that the overdensities attracted matter and grew in size, until the pressure thus built up resisted further compression, and waves traveled outward from these overdensities. They then contracted and expanded again a few times, until 380,000 years after Big Bang when the photons decoupled from the gas, relieving the gas of its pressure, and freezing the waves in (comoving) space.

This phenomenon is called baryonic acoustic oscillations (BAOs). You may also be interested in my answer to the question "What is the speed of sound in space?"

However, humans wouldn't be able to hear it, since the wavelength (at decoupling) were roughly half a million lightyears, and the corresponding frequency thus orders of magnitues below the human threshold of ~20 Hz. Due to the expansion of space, the frequency increases as we go back in time, and scaling by a factor of $sim10^{26}$, it is possible to get a notion of what the early Universe sounded like. This has been done e.g. by John Cramer from U. of Washington on the basis of WMAP's observations of the cosmic microwave background which hold information about the BAOs.

You can hear it here. It doesn't really sound nice, though.

Monseigneur Georges Henri Joseph Édouard Lemaître circa 1933

Between the announcement this week that scientists have detected primordial gravitation waves and FOX's reboot of Carl Sagan's groundbreaking series, "Cosmos", the Big Bang theory is enjoying its biggest moment since it banged the observable universe into existence 13.8 billion years ago.

While the Big Bang is as old as the universe itself, our concept of it is still strikingly new — less than 100 years old. And if you dig into its origins, you come across a curious fact.

Atheists, devout Christians, you might want to sit down for this: The Big Bang theory was first proposed by a Roman Catholic priest.

It wasn't just any priest. It was Monseigneur George Lemaître, a brilliant Belgian who entered the priesthood following his service as an artillery officer in the Belgian army during World War I. He was also an accomplished astronomer and a talented mathematician and physician. After earning his graduate degree in astronomy from the University of Cambridge in England, he came to Boston and spent a year at the Harvard College Observatory before earning his doctorate at MIT.

In the late 1920s, Lemaître quietly put forth a theory he called his "hypothesis of the primeval atom." At the time, Einstein’s notion of a finite-sized, static universe ruled the day. But the fields of astronomy and cosmology were developing rapidly on the heels of Einstein’s breakthrough 1916 Theory of General Relativity. And as brilliant minds began extrapolating new equations from Einstein’s work, a static universe was posing some serious problems in the math. Problems that in many cases, could be ironed out if the universe was not fixed, but rather growing.

Lemaître imagined that if the universe was expanding, it had to be expanding from somewhere and some point in time. He figured that if you traced the idea of the universe back in time, all the way to the very beginning, everything had to converge into a single point. Lemaître called that point a superatom. He suggested that the expansion of the universe had resulted from the explosion of this superatom that hurled materials in all directions, and set the universe as we know it in motion.

At a conference in the 1930s, where Lemaître presented his theory, Einstein reportedly remarked, "This is the most beautiful and satisfactory explanation of creation to which I have ever listened."

As astonishing as Lemaître's idea was, perhaps equally surprising to us now was the reaction of the church. Lemaître was not jailed by the Pope like Galileo. He was not excommunicated the way Johannes Keppler was by the Lutheran Church. Quite the opposite. In the early 1950s, Pope Pius XII not only declared that the big bang and the Catholic concept of creation were compatible he embraced Lemaître's idea as scientific validation for the existence of God and of Catholicism.

For his part, Lemaître was not pleased with the Pope’s position. He believed fiercely in the separation of church and lab. He viewed religion and science as two, equally valid, distinct ways of interpreting the world, both of which he believed in with deep conviction:

"We may speak of this event as of a beginning. I do not say a creation. Physically it is a beginning in the sense that if something happened before, it has no observable influence on the behavior of our universe, as any feature of matter before this beginning has been completely lost by the extreme contraction at the theoretical zero. Any preexistence of the universe has a metaphysical character. The question if it was really a beginning or rather a creation, something started from nothing, is a philosophical question which cannot be settled by physical or astronomical considerations."

It might seem surprising today to read words like this from a man of God. Consider the recent Bill Nye v. Ken Ham debate at the Creation Museum, or browse the comment thread in an article about the Cosmos reboot. We're living in climate where science and religion are not just framed as a debate, but often as a zero sum game. And that debate is not just at times divisive, it is sometimes downright derisive.

Don't try to bend the Scriptures to fit "Evolution" or "The Big Bang." It did NOT happen that way. God created every atom out of NOTHING.

If you think #cosmos shouldn’t teach facts that contradict with your beliefs then perhaps you should re-evaluate your beliefs. #FactsWin

No matter how much I learn about the Big Bang theory & evolution I still believe w all my heart & soul that God created the earth in 6 days

Today, experimental PROOF that the Big Bang happened. How ever will the assholes @foxandfriends explain this to their moron fans?

With the big bang enjoying a moment in the sun, perhaps it's no surprise that those who view science and religion as an "either/or" way of explaining the universe or the human condition are strengthening their resolve.

But, it might also be an opportunity to look back to the man who advanced the very theory that started the debate. If science does indeed pose a problem for religion, or if religion does for science, they appear to be problems that Lemaître solved a long time ago.

Edgar runs WGBH's Curiosity Desk, where he aims to dig a little deeper (and sometimes askew) into topics in the news and looks for answers to questions posed by the world around us.

9 Attitude At Work

As time goes on, we slowly but surely get the chance to take a deep dive into what Bernadette is like when she’s at work. While some may sympathize with her given that she has a high-stress job at times, others think she comes across as a bit of a bully.

She’s clearly an intimidating presence to many members of her team, and at points, that even includes Penny. If you take away the canned laughter from the audience she’d just seem like a super mean person, and that’s a shame.

The Psychology of Big Bang

Big Bang is the only theory taught in school. It is the only opinion introduced or ever presented. It seems to be a form of mental programming. Consider the ramifications of believing in the Big Bang. It makes use feel small in a randomly exploded universe that’s 13.8 billion years old. We don’t feel important as a fish that crawled out of pond scum to fornicate into a monkey. We don’t like being considered a creatures from a black lagoon. We lose confidence in our humanity as a tiny cinder of a random cosmic detonation. The psychology of Big Bang controls our every outlook. It puts us on the outskirts of a spiraling arm, orbiting the center of a vacuous black hole eating every form of light without prejudice. And none of this can be directly observed. These secrets were scribed by the hands of an elite few in academia. What is the weight of their feather on your mind?

Halton Arp pulled up to the train tracks and shut off his motor. He could have made it across, but he wanted to feel the train’s energy. He got out and sat on the hood of his Buick with his arms folded. Stillness settled across his mind as he saw the train approaching. A giant steel centipede of wheels and coal was barreling down the track and Halton was as cool as a cucumber. He understood the universe and closed his eyes as the doppler effect raised the pitch of the train whistle. He felt torque vibrating the road moments before a gush of wind smashed him in the face and kept pounding. He opened his eyes to a cold fast blur of metallic snake segments carving a thundering will through the atmosphere. Nothing can stop a train that’s coming. Halton feels the rumble of passage in his kneecaps. The arthritis was killing him and he wanted to get home. The train was so loud he missed his cell phone ringing. There was a message waiting for him on his voicemail. He lost his job as the train was passing. He knew that call would come eventually. Halton didn’t believe in Big Bang.

Big Bang cosmology is massively flawed. It contradicts itself in cosmic homogeneity. We see a universe of smooth peanut butter while a Big Bang model should look chunky. Our observation directly contradicts what we are taught yet the scientific community still enforces it. The Big Bang is cosmic dogma. The Big Bang is based on telescope red-shift measurements. Red shift is like the Doppler Effect of the train whistle but with starlight instead of sound. The pitch of the red shift determines the direction and momentum of its signal. It’s why they think the universe exploded. It’s how we measure its size, shape, and distance. The red-shift is the keystone of astrophysics and the cornerstone of Big Bang theory.

Deep past the northern wing of the Milky Way galaxy is a little known binary star system. The bigger star is sucking the tail out of the smaller star like a Frappuccino. Halton discovered these stars presenting a conflict of red shifts. They should be light years away from each other. Yet here they were, one drinking the other like a liquidated coconut. Halton added this image to his collection of 386 galaxies in his, Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies . His colleagues had finally had enough. They cleared their throats as they explained the observatory owed the scientific community an obligation to not squander the facilities’ resources on claims that have little or no merit.

The Big Bang universe has always had a big weight problem. To compensate for the physics they invented a substance called dark matter. Big Banger’s insist 96% of the universe is hidden in a veil of darkness. Dark matter or dark energy can only be perceived by a few elite theoreticians and each one’s work depends on the accuracy of red shift. The clergy of academia is as rampant in astronomy as it was in climatology. How does a dark matter psychology change your experience? Do you feel more confident being told you only have 4% visibility?

How much does Big Bang’s feather weigh on your mind as a belief? How small are we in an ever-expanding explosion? How weightless, rudderless and unimportant is a man in a soup that’s 14 billion light years across and still spilling? Evolution is an expensive psychology in a cold vacuum that doesn’t match our observations. So why is it such a large part of our programming?

Think of the weight of every feather placed on your mind by our programmers. Do you stand tall under a psychology of Big Bang? Beware the theory that makes you into a kernel of gruel in a dark cosmic spittle. You are a living Sequoia of breathing skin with feet. Let the moon see your fingertips reach for splendor. Unlock your psychology from the barrel of monkeys. Place yourself back in the center of a torus. Make this your universe and take its feather as your new psychology. How heavy is your mind now?

My new book Blueprints for Mind Control is on shelves now! Paperback, eBook , or I can mail you an Autographed Copy

The Big Bang Is Hard Science. It Is Also a Creation Story.

I n some ways, the history of science is the history of a philosophical resistance to mythical explanations of reality. In the ancient world, when we asked “Where did the world come from?” we were told creation myths. In the modern world, we are instead told a convincing scientific story: Big Bang theory, first proposed in 1927 by the Belgian Roman Catholic priest Georges Lemaître. It is based on observations that galaxies appear to be flying apart from one another, suggesting that the universe is expanding. We trace this movement back in space and time to nearly the original point of the explosion, the single original atom from which all the universe emerged 14 billion years ago.

While it is based on empirical measurement and quantitative reasoning, it is also a creation story, and therefore shares some of the traits of the stories that have come before. For one thing, it resonates with the ethos of the modern age—this is the era of big explosions, like those in White Sands and over Nagasaki. Also, like all creation stories, it explains in comprehensible language something which otherwise requires unobtainable categories of thought. After all, we cannot really know what the world was like before its creation. But we do see how things around us change, grow, are born, and die. And, like the ancients, we fashion these observations into the story of our creation.

T he oldest creation myth on the planet, from perhaps 2600 B.C., was given as a preface to a Sumerian poem about the descent of Gilgamesh’s friend Enkidu into the underworld. 1 The account begins:

After heaven had been moved away from earth,
After earth had been separated from heaven,
After the name of man had been fixed
After An had carried off heaven,
After Enlil had carried off Ki…

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At some time, the myth tells us, heaven and earth were united, and then they were separated. The separation of Sky and Earth made possible the appearance of man. The poem introduces us to elements that we see repeated again and again in ancient myths: First, creation was not from nothing, which you never find in ancient myth, but from something that was already there. What was it? In a tablet listing the Sumerian gods, the goddess Nammu is said to be “the mother, who gave birth to heaven and earth” and her name is written as a sign that means “sea.” Second, the act of naming and spoken language is deeply mixed into the act of creating: Man is created only “after [his name] had been fixed.”

We see these two elements used in the pyramid texts, which come from Egypt around the year 2300 B.C. and are the oldest religious texts in the world, and some of the oldest texts of any kind. They refer to the creation of the world in order to guarantee the vigor of the glorified king, buried in an artificial primeval hill. On this hill, Atum, the creator god took his stand:

O Atum-Kheper, you who were on high on the primeval hill! You did arise as the ben-bird of the ben-stone in the ben-house in Heliopolis. You did spit out what was Shu, you did sputter out what was Tefnut. You did put your arms around them as the arms of a ka, for your ka was in them.

Atum, “the complete one,” is the sun-god, always the great god in Egypt, the principle of unified creative power. Kheper, the scarab, means “the becoming one,” hence the principle of generation, a force for change and progress. The creation is imagined as an event like when the ben-bird (our word “phoenix,” through the Greek) bursts suddenly, astoundingly, from the reeds. Then the ben-bird alights on top of the primeval mound, symbolized in Egyptian architecture as the obelisk in the temple of the Sun in the “city of the sun,” Heliopolis, near modern Cairo. That’s what the moment of creation was like to the ancient Egyptians.

Of course Atum-Kheper is still all alone on the primeval mound, so he “spits” out Air (Shu) and “sputters” out Moisture (Tefnut), the first duality, the source of all that is. The Egyptian is punning on Shu and Tefnut, which sound like “spit” and “sputter” in Egyptian. Then he puns again, because the Egyptian hieroglyph for ka, which we might translate as “vital force,” are two upraised arms, and this ka Atum-Kheper placed in Shu and Tefnut.

The act of naming and spoken language is deeply mixed into the act of creating.

Such puns are not funny: In the resemblance of words to one another lie the deepest secrets of the universe, the Egyptians thought. We are reminded both of the power of naming in the Sumerian story, and of the power of common mathematical forms, in modern physics, to point us to the deep realities of nature. The children of Shu and Tefnut are Geb, “Earth,” and Nut, “Sky,” just as in ancient Sumer. And like in ancient Sumer, the moment of the universe’s creation consists of one thing becoming two through the agency of the mouth, even as in the Sumerian account man is spoken into existence. Again, we are reminded of the creation of matter and anti-matter at the moment of the Big Bang, which we expected to be created in equal proportions, but were not, making for an outstanding puzzle in modern cosmology.

For most Westerners, the most familiar myth of the creation, even a canonical account, is verses one through eight in Genesis. It is therefore hard to hear the words in their original meanings. An examination of the opening lines of the Hebrew text, however, reveals parallels with the creation myth of ancient Mesopotamia:

In the beginning, when Elohim created the heaven and the earth, the earth was a formless and unbounded mass, with darkness covering its fluid chaos and with a wind from Elohim sweeping over it. Elohim said, “Let there be light!” and there was light. Elohim saw the goodness of the light and separated it from the darkness. The light he called “day” and the darkness “night.” Thus evening and morning came into being, a complete day. Then Elohim said, “Let there be a partition in the middle of the watery chaos, spreading out to separate the waters.” So it came about, and the partition divided the waters below it from those above. Elohim called the partition “sky.”

In the Mesopotamian and Egyptian accounts, the great elements of nature are gods, whereas in the monotheistic Hebrew account the powers that made the world are stripped of personal names and attributes. “Elohim” is a plural form meaning “gods,” but it seems in the context to refer to a single God (it is usually translated “God”). This usage probably descends from a time when there were many gods. Again, we see that in the beginning heaven and earth (An and Ki, Nut and Geb) were together. The Hebrew word for “wind” is ruach, which, like Greek pneuma and Latin spiritus, may mean air in motion, breath, or psychological power. In a polytheistic system the ruach is Enlil, god of the storm, who separated heaven from earth. In Egypt, it was Shu, “air,” who separated Geb from Nut in representations in many Egyptian papyri.

As in Sumer, creation in the biblical account is by speech: Night and day are called into being, just as the Sumerian account refers to the time “After the name of man had been fixed.” Once again, to name is to call into existence. As in Sumer, creation is by separation: there is a partition, literally, “something solid,” in the middle of the watery chaos.

W hy does the sea feature so prominently in Sumer and Judeo-Christian myth? We take from what we see around us and suppose that the universe is governed by the same processes. Human babies are born in a sack of water and of course all sorts of things emerge from the sea. The sea is formless and dark and mysterious and hence an excellent symbol for the conditions that logic tells us must have existed before creation. Today, we look to the shapeless, formless sky for our creation story, and not the sea. For the lay person, the naming of the process discovered by science—“Big Bang”—is in some ways the content and comfort of the story. Even as science reveals new layers of our reality, creation stories remain just that—stories giving us explanations in comprehensible language of something which otherwise requires unobtainable categories of thought.

Barry B. Powell is the Halls-Bascom Professor of Classics Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has written many books on myth, Homer, and the history of writing.

You Can Still Hear the Hiss of the Big Bang

Photo by Fabioj/Wikimedia Commons

Robert Wilson and Arno Penzias accidentally discovered the afterglow of the Big Bang in 1964. Their now-famous horn antenna, built for Bell Labs in New Jersey, was supposed to be picking up the radio waves emitted by galaxy clusters and supernova remnants. But it recorded a temperature that was 3.5 kelvin hotter than it should have been, no matter where they pointed it.

We now know this was caused by the first photons to be released after the Big Bang, which still pervade the cosmos as radio waves. These days, Wilson keeps a sound recording of those waves on his cellphone, as New Scientist discovered when we interviewed with him last week at a celebration marking half a century since the discovery.

Lisa Grossman: What was your view of the history of the universe before your discovery?
Robert Wilson: As a graduate student, my one cosmology course was taught by Sir Fred Hoyle, a British astronomer who was a proponent of the Big Bang’s biggest competitor, the steady state theory of the universe. Philosophically, I really liked the steady state theory, with no beginning and no end.

LG: How did it feel when you first found what later turned out to be the Big Bang’s afterglow?

RW: It was a big disappointment. The antenna was hotter than it should have been by 3.5 degrees. We spent nine months improving, checking, calibrating, but that 3.5-degree difference was always the same everywhere we looked.

LG: You converted the radio waves your antenna detected into sound waves to help you analyze the data. What does the Big Bang’s afterglow sound like?
RW: (Takes out his phone and hits “play.”) This is what it sounded like at the time, though this recording was taken later. About 10 percent of that noise is from the cosmic microwave background. The rest of it is system noise, unfortunately, but that’s the best we could do. Mostly we only listened to it to see if there was radar or something going on—we were not really listening to it.

LG: There’s a famous story about pigeons roosting in the antenna. You worried that their droppings could be causing the noise. What happened to the pigeons?
RW: We trapped the pigeons and mailed them to a pigeon enthusiast in New Jersey, but he released them and two days later they were back. So in the interest of science, our technician came in with a shotgun, and that was the end of the pigeons.

LG: That’s so sad.
RW: Yes, well, there are lots of pigeons in the world. They aren’t endangered.

LG: What did it feel like when you finally realized what you had discovered?
RW: Arno and I were happy to have any explanation at all, but we didn’t take the cosmology explanation seriously at first.

LG: When did you realize how important it was?
RW: There was no “Aha!” moment. How big a deal it was only became clear after many years. I don’t think anyone had a concept of how much information was going to be available from it at that time.

#2: Quasars exist

As soon as researchers developed sensitive radio telescopes, in the 1950s and '60s, they noticed weirdly loud radio sources in the sky. Through significant astronomical sleuthing, the scientists determined that these quasi-stellar radio sources, or "quasars," were very distant but uncommonly bright, active galaxies.

What's most important for this discussion is the"very distant" part of that conclusion.

Because light takes time to travel from one place to another, we don't see stars and galaxies as they are now, but as they were thousands, millions or billions of years ago. That means that looking deeper into the universe is also looking deeper into the past. We see a lot of quasars in the distant cosmos, which means these objects were very common billions of years ago. But there are hardly any quasars in our local, up-to-date neighborhood. And they&rsquore common enough in the far-away (that is, young) universe that we should see a lot more in our vicinity.

The simple conclusion: The universe was different in its past than it is today.


Tonight, we begin a two-part look at the iconic music group the group Grateful Dead, who are this week preparing for their final reunion concerts in Chicago.

First up, we focus on longtime Dead drummer Mickey Hart and his fascination with finding sounds in the most unlikely places.

Special correspondent Mike Cerre takes us on a very special trip to learn more.

MICKEY HART, Drummer, Grateful Dead:

This is really the sounds of the universe. This is what the cosmos sounds like.

Pythagoras found the secrets of the universe, the rhythm of the universe, the mathematics of the universe through just a long string which vibrated. If I had any guru, it would have to be Pythagoras, and of course rhythm is the god.

In the pantheon of rock 'n' roll gods, the Grateful Dead have always been known for their somewhat cosmic approach to music. As one of its founding drummers, Mickey Hart has spent the better part of his professional life outside of the Grateful Dead exploring the cultural and scientific basis of good vibrations.


The universe is made up of vibrations. I have been very interested in sonifying the universe, the cosmos, the sun, the Big Bang, taking those radiations from telescopes, radio telescopes, and turning that radiation into sound, which I make music out of and compose with, in the macro, and now in the micro with the brain waves, heart rhythms, DNA, stem cells.

All of these have a sound. And so we take these sounds in and we embed them in the music.

Mickey's search for the universal source of rhythm has gone intergalactic and all the way back to the beginning of the cosmos.


The moment of creation, beginning of time and space, when the blank page of the universe exploded and it created the stars, the planets, black holes, pulsars, supernovas, this was the beginning of time and space, and then us. And then we are still now toying with this rhythmic stimuli that was created 13.7 billion years ago.

GEORGE SMOOT, University of California, Berkeley: What is needed is someone who is artistic to hear these sounds and be inspired by them and turn them into something that is really pleasing for people to hear.

Astrophysicist George Smoot earned a Nobel Prize for his work in charting the origins of what many believe to be the beginning of creation, with the Big Bang. He's also a longtime Dead Head.


He can show me waveforms of the first million years and all that. And that's really great. But as soon as I see it, I said, give me those waveforms, George. And let's see what they sound like. And let's dance to those things. And George said, yes.

With the help of the University of California at Berkeley's supercomputer, Smoot's team converted light wave traces from the Big Bang into sound waves for Mickey to work with.


Because it's very inharmonic. It's very dense. There's a lot of collisions up there, and there's a lot of bumps and grinds and pulses and stuff and noise, which you wouldn't call music.

But I take it, and I make it into what the human ear would call music, so we can enjoy it.

We're getting there, George. I'm getting there, George.

This was one of Mickey Hart's first laboratories for his scientific experiments. He and the Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia used to sneak onto the Golden Gate Bridge at night when it was closed to pedestrians, sometimes armed with rubber mallets, so they could record the vibrations of the bridge and include them in the Grateful Dead performances in the '60s and '70s, during the band's heyday.

Years later, he worked with the Exploratorium museum and the National Science Foundation on creating a replica of the bridge with sensors, so he could actually play it as a musical instrument. And he did, with great fanfare, for the Golden Gate Bridge's 75th anniversary.


Now, I would like to do something with it, as it is as important as playing Grateful Dead music.

See, the thing about music is that you take the feeling that you get from music and you take it out in the world and you do some good with it. It can be used for other things than dancing and pleasure. It can be used as medicine. When I played a drum for my grandmother who had Alzheimer's, she spoke my name. She hadn't spoken in a year. That was power. Where did it come from? How did this do that?

Dr. Adam Gazzaley, a research neurologist at the University of California, San Francisco, is working with Mickey on identifying rhythms that can stimulate different parts of diseased and damaged brains.

DR. ADAM GAZZALEY, University of California, San Francisco: Mickey's wearing an E.G. cap, and each of these electrodes are detecting those very subtle signals that have rhythmic activity being generated by the neurons in his brain. Quite a nice looking brain.


Thank you. Thank you. I like it.


Mickey should be proud of that brain.

So, this a live recording right now of Mickey's brain.


The only way to find the code on how music works is through science. And that's my relationship with Adam Gazzaley and other scientists, to find, how does it work on the brain?


So if you can prescribe a certain rhythmic treatment and actually validate that there is an outcome that is reproducible, it would be a really powerful way of looking at modern medicine.


It seems like a very natural thing from my research in music and medicine. The shaman use drums. They use rattles in all their forms of healing. So it's not something that we're inventing, but we're progressing because of science.

A team of stem cell researchers at the Gladstone Institute at the University of California, San Francisco, are working with Mickey on identifying impulses generated by brain and heart cells.

DR. DEEPAK SRIVASTAVA, Gladstone Institutes:

The idea is that we might be able to, with Mickey Hart's approach, convert that electrical energy into sound and be able to map differences between diseased cells versus normal cells.


So, we will know what frequencies, what rhythms have been cut or broken and then be able to replace that with a healthier rhythm, a healthier sound, a healthier frequency perhaps that will make this a therapy, a legitimate science.

For the Grateful Dead's upcoming 50th anniversary concerts, Mickey Hart is pulling out all the science stops and digging deep into his research of the origins of rhythm and good vibrations to create one of the band's signature rhythm devils sequences with drummer Bill Kreutzmann for the Grateful Dead's final performance together.


Pythagoras is the owner of this, actually. He's the guy.

And what are people going to hear for the 50th anniversary that maybe no one has ever heard before?


Oh, they're going to hear the lowest note sounded in a concert, which is 19 cycles that you can't really go to.

And will you feel that in your chest?


Oh, yes, you will feel it all over. It will vibrate your whole body. And it won't scare you. It will just make you feel really good. It's kind of just like a bath.

For the PBS NewsHour, this is Mike Cerre reporting from San Francisco.


We will have more on the Grateful Dead and the band's final concerts on Monday.

How Did the Universe Start?

As the title of the popular TV show “Big Bang Theory” illustrates, the idea of an explosion of sorts to produce a universe has taken hold as the dominant concept of how our place of existence started. When schoolchildren learn about cosmic creation, they are usually taught the underpinnings of the Big Bang.

It’s posited that immediately after this big spark, we would have seen a 10 billion-degree sea of neutrons, protons, electrons, anti-electrons, photons and neutrinos cooling off. As the piping fresh hot universe cooled, either the neutrons decayed into electrons or protons, or they combined with protons to create an isotope of hydrogen. Further cooling led to more combinations: electrons merged with nuclei to form neutral atoms and also change what was a murky celestial backdrop into a transparent one that could be later discerned by modern scientists. Those photons formed an afterglow that’s known as cosmic background radiation. That’s the part of this creation show that can be observed today.

“The first three minutes of the universe is an exciting place,” said Leslie Brown, an associate professor of physics at Connecticut College. “We’re looking at the guts of a star. We’re looking at thermonuclear fusion, and that’s where our elements come from. The two elements made during those moments are hydrogen and helium.” Those elements, in fact, comprise nearly all of the nuclear matter in our universe. Scientists say the abundance of hydrogen and helium helped determine the speed with which the universe expanded.

And that’s another chapter in the Big Bang story: just as quickly as the universe formed, it rapidly expanded, as if a newborn suddenly filled out to the size of an NBA power forward. To put it into perspective, try to picture the infinite jumble of stuff that was created after the Big Bang. That pack of stuff has a defining term— the “singularity”— that could also be the name of a rock group. The analogy is fitting. Like any rock group that is full of distinctive personalities, the neutrons, protons and anti-electrons that made up the singularity were perhaps too homogeneous for their own good. The singularity separated and moved on — far on — only a second or so after the Big Bang. (And people think the Beatles broke up too soon.)

Thanks to a temporary shot of dark energy, the universe expanded faster than the speed of light, separating all the stuff and placing stars and planets in particular places, giving us the home we have today and explaining why all of the radiation around us smoothed.

Five facts about the Big Bang

It&rsquos the cornerstone of cosmology, but what is it all about?

Astronomers Edwin Hubble and Milton Humason in the early 20th century discovered that galaxies are moving away from the Milky Way. More to the point: Every galaxy is moving away from every other galaxy on average, which means the whole universe is expanding. In the past, then, the whole cosmos must have been much smaller, hotter and denser.

That description, known as the Big Bang model, has stood up against new discoveries and competing theories for the better part of a century. So what is this &ldquoBig Bang&rdquo thing all about?

The Big Bang happened everywhere at once.

The universe has no center or edge, and every part of the cosmos is expanding. That means if we run the clock backward, we can figure out exactly when everything was packed together&mdash13.8 billion years ago. Because every place we can map in the universe today occupied the same place 13.8 billion years ago, there wasn't a location for the Big Bang: Instead, it happened everywhere simultaneously.

The Big Bang may not describe the actual beginning of everything.

&ldquoBig Bang&rdquo broadly refers to the theory of cosmic expansion and the hot early universe. However, sometimes even scientists will use the term to describe a moment in time&mdashwhen everything was packed into a single point. The problem is that we don&rsquot have either observations or theory that describes that moment, which is properly (if clumsily) called the &ldquoinitial singularity.&rdquo

The initial singularity is the starting point for the universe we observe, but there might have been something that came before.

The difficulty is that the very hot early cosmos and the rapid expansion called &ldquoinflation&rdquo that likely happened right after the singularity wiped out most&mdashif not all&mdashof the information about any history that preceded the Big Bang. Physicists keep thinking of new ways to check for signs of an earlier universe, and though we haven&rsquot seen any of them so far, we can&rsquot rule it out yet.

The Big Bang theory explains where all the hydrogen and helium in the universe came from.

In the 1940s, Ralph Alpher and George Gamow calculated that the early universe was hot and dense enough to make virtually all the helium, lithium and deuterium (hydrogen with a neutron attached) present in the cosmos today later research showed where the primordial hydrogen came from. This is known as &ldquoBig Bang nucleosynthesis,&rdquo and it stands as one of the most successful predictions of the theory. The heavier elements (such as oxygen, iron and uranium) were formed in stars and supernova explosions.

The best evidence for the Big Bang is in the form of microwaves. Early on, the whole universe was dense enough to be completely opaque. But at a time roughly 380,000 years after the Big Bang, expansion spread everything out enough to make the universe transparent.

The light released from this transition, known as the cosmic microwave background (CMB), still exists. It was first observed in the 1960s by Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson. That discovery cemented the Big Bang theory as the best description of the universe since then, observatories such WMAP and Planck have used the CMB to tell us a lot about the total structure and content of the cosmos.

One of the first people to think scientifically about the origin of the universe was a Catholic priest.

In addition to his religious training and work, Georges Lemaître was a physicist who studied the general theory of relativity and worked out some of the conditions of the early cosmos in the 1920s and &rsquo30s. His preferred metaphors for the origin of the universe were &ldquocosmic egg&rdquo and &ldquoprimeval atom,&rdquo but they never caught on, which is too bad, because &hellip

It seems nobody likes the name "Big Bang."

Until the 1960s, the idea of a universe with a beginning was controversial among physicists. The name &ldquoBig Bang&rdquo was actually coined by astronomer Fred Hoyle, who was the leading proponent of an alternative theory, where universe continues forever without a beginning.

His shorthand for the theory caught on, and now we&rsquore kind of stuck with it. Calvin and Hobbes&rsquo attempt to get us to adopt &ldquohorrendous space kablooie&rdquo has failed so far.

The Big Bang is the cornerstone of cosmology, but it&rsquos not the whole story. Scientists keep refining the theory of the universe, motivated by our observation of all the weird stuff out there. Dark matter (which holds galaxies together) and dark energy (which makes the expansion of the universe accelerate) are the biggest mysteries that aren't described by the Big Bang theory by itself.

Our view of the universe, like the cosmos itself, keeps evolving as we discover more and more new things. But rather than fading away, our best explanation for why things are the way they are has remained&mdashthe fire at the beginning of the universe.

Watch the video: BIGBANG - LAST DANCE EASY LYRICS (December 2022).