Our ability to make predictions about the future distinguishes our level of consciousness.
- One of the great questions in all of science is where consciousness comes from.
- When it comes to consciousness, Kaku believes different species have different levels of consciousness, based on their feedback loops needed to survive in space, society, and time.
- According to the theoretical physicist, human beings' ability to use past experiences, memories, to predict the future makes us distinct among animals — and even robots (they're currently unable to understand, or operate within, a social hierarchy).
When it comes to theories of the universe, the Big Bang theory is almost accepted as a fact. However, it's still uncertain, and some scientists believe that the universe didn't began with a bang, but a bounce.
- The Big Bang theory is treated as the de facto way the universe began, but it's had some issues.
- One issue was that it could not describe how the universe became uniform and homogeneous, which is what we observe today.
- Physicists tweaked Big Bang theory to accommodate this, but the Big Bounce theory can address these issues without too much tweaking.
When you zoom far enough out, our universe has a very unusual structure.
- Composed of massive filaments of galaxies separated by giant voids, the cosmic web is the name astronomers give to the structure of our universe.
- Why does our universe have this peculiar, web-like structure?
- The answer lies in processes that took place in the first few hundred thousands years after the Big Bang.
The periodic table was a lot simpler at the beginning of the universe.
- Michelle Thaller's "absolute favorite fact in the universe" is that we are made of dead stars.
- The Big Bang, when it went off, produced basically three elements: hydrogen, helium, and lithium. Every atom more complex had to be formed inside a star. Over time, stars such as the sun produce things like carbon and oxygen.
- They don't really get much more far off the periodic table than that. If you want to go any farther than the element iron, then you actually need a very violent explosion, a supernova explosion.
New research based on observational data from the Spitzer telescope provides clues as to how the universe first emerged from its dark age.
- Researchers using the Spitzer telescope were able to analyze some of the most distant and ancient galaxies in the universe.
- They discovered that these galaxies were far brighter than anticipated, shedding clues into how the universe first emerged from the "dark ages" that lasted until about a billion years after the Big Bang.
- This research serves as a stepping stone for future work to be conducted with the James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled to be launched in early 2021.