History/Origins/Future of Energy,
Matter, Space, Time, and Life (1 of 7)
From Past Infinity to ~3.5 Billion Years Ago

(updated August 16, 2009)

Years Ago



.... Preface ....

Excerpt from "After The First Three Minutes: The
Story of Our Universe", by T. Padmanabhan
"Given a description of a quantized universe, we
should be able to ask questions about the 'creation'.
The most important question is: 'Why is there a
universe at all? Why is there all this matter?'
Classical cosmology offers us no explanation:
given a certain amount of matter in the universe,
classical cosmology merely traces it back to the
big bang and then throws up its hands, being at
a loss to explain further! ...

Some of the quantum mechanical models of the
universe do give an answer. One can show -- in
these models -- that equations describing such
a universe *do not allow* an empty universe.
In other words, quantum cosmology not only
describes a universe with matter in it, but
actually demands that there should be matter
in it. In these models, empty space becomes
unstable due to the quantum fluctuations of the
gravitational field and makes a spontaneous
transition into an expanding universe filled
with matter. ...

It would, of course, be very wrong to say that
all that needs to be known is known. At best,
quantum cosmology is in its infancy. Several links
in the chain of arguments need to be strengthened
and several gaps need to be filled. All the same,
combining quantum theory and general relativity,
two major intellectual triumphs of this century,
seems to lead us to a far richer and more beautiful
vision of our universe."

And now, on to the grand symphony of energy,
matter, space, time, and life...

Infinity (past) ....

The totality of naturalism (all that is /
all that ever was / all that ever will be)
"... Naturalistic infinity ... Infinity is a very long time,
after all ... Isn't it wiser to reach from the known (the
natural) to the unknown (as a natural but as of yet,
incompletely understood area) -than it is- to fantasize
about the unknown (via ancient myths of supernatural
entities / places) in an effort to pretend the unknown
(the supernatural) interacts with the known (the natural)?

Infinite Universes, Infinite Size,
No "In the Beginning", No End
when one opens one's mind up to the possibility
that there was really never nothing,  that the all of
which we are a part had no absolute beginning, and
has no absolute ending, that the infinity that spawned
each of us is endless, I suppose one is faced with
a paradox, to either feel one's existence is validated,
as being an important part of an infinite and never-
ending and never-not-existing all -or- to feel infinitely
small and unimportant -or- both, as it's simply just
a matter of how you look at it ..."

Universe(s) Video

"...There May Be Other Worlds Out There, Extra
Dimensions, A Sea of Parallel Universes
... Level
One Parallel Universes
(part of our space but so
far away we can't see it -- universe infinite in size,
possibility of infinity of universes)"

"... Level Two Parallel Universes (infinite soap bubble
universes in a sea of bubble universes in the 'bulk' or
'hyperspace', level one parallel universes exist within
level two parallel universes, chaotic eternally branching
universes -- bubble nucleation), Parallel Universes
Hold the Secrets of All That Is, Pre-Big Bang Physics"

"...  Level Three Parallel Universes (infinite number of
universes exist in the same space as we exist in, in
different dimensions

"... Level Four Parallel Universes (physics could differ
from universe to universe), Physicists Hoping to Prove
That Parallel Universes are Really Out There"

"... At Least Some Kinds of Parallel Universe Almost
Certainly Exist

"... There Could Be an Infinite Number of Universes
Each With a Different Law of Physics -- Our Universe
Could be Just One Bubble Floating in an Ocean of 
Other Bubbles

"... The Universe may be Nothing Special -- It is Nothing
More than One of an Infinite Number of Membranes --
Just One of the Many Universes which Make Up the

Inspirational Science (Tribute to Carl Sagan) Video

"... An infinity of the very small (when considering cutting
an atom in half, and cutting that in half, etc.) and an infinity
of the very large
(when considering the cosmos and going
beyond the edge of all that is known), these infinities are
among the most awesome of human ideas
, an unending
progression which goes on forever. ..."

"... How did the universe arise? What was around before
that? Might there have been no beginning? Is the universe
infinitely old?
... Hinduism and its notions of creation and
nature are explored. Among its ideas, some of which
resemble modern ideas of science & cosmology:
  • the cosmos itself undergoes an infinite number of
    deaths & rebirths
  • a day and night of Brahma is 8.64 billion years long 
  • the universe is but a dream of a god 
  • there are an infinite number of other universes, each
    with its own god
  • humans may not be a dream of the gods, but rather,
    the gods may be a dream of humans ..."

FREELOVER Principles
"...Some viewpoints on what life is all about ... And in the
infinity of that which has always been and will  always be 
(Nature 1:0) there was, is, and will always be  the natural 
(Nature 1:1) ... yes, an expansion of time and  space did
take place in a finite part of an infinite cosmos ... (Nature 1:5) ..."

What did the 'big bang' bang into?
"... The standard presumption is that there was nothing, a bang,
and then everything. More recently, scientists have theorized
about a before the big bang realm, and of many dimensions
possibly existing beyond the -4- we're familiar with. Multiple
universes, also part of the possible realm of the 'all'. Cyclic
universes, also part of the possible realm of the all. Infinite
universes, infinite time, also part of the possible realm of the
all. ..."

Universe(s) Origin(s) Preface

Universe(s) Origin(s) 1 of 7 - String Theory /
Infinities / Singularities

Universe(s) Origin(s) 2 of 7 - No Origin of the Universe?
"... viewed through the eyes of a quantum physicist, the spon-
taneous appearance of a universe is not such a surprise,
because physical objects are appearing all the time -- with-
out well-defined causes -- in the quantum microworld ..."

Universe(s) Origin(s) 3 of 7 - Multiverse?
... Our entire universe may be just one element -- one atom,
as it were -- in an infinite ensemble: a cosmic archipelago.
Each universe starts with its own big bang, acquires a dis-
tinctive imprint (and its individual physical laws) as it cools,
and traces out its own cosmic cycle. The big bang that trig-
gered our entire universe is, in this grander perspective, an
infinitesimal part of an elaborate structure that extends far
beyond the range of any telescopes. ...

Universe(s) Origin(s) 4 of 7 - Universes from Black Holes?
"... is it possible that what is beyond the horizon of the black
hole is the beginning of another universe?... time branches like
a tree so that each black hole is a bud that leads to a new
universe of moments. ..."

Universe(s) Origin(s) 5 of 7 - Cyclic Universe?
"... our universe just one phase in an infinite cycle of birth and
rebirth ..."

Universe(s) Origin(s) 6 of 7 - Einstein / Big Bang / Superstrings

Universe(s) Origin(s) 7 of 7 - Nothing / Everything
"... the nature of being in this grand cosmos of wonder and mystery
whereby nothing is the most important something that resides at the
core of everything that has existed, does exist, and will ever exist ..."

~13.7 billion years ago ....

Big Bang (quantum fluctuation ?) or collision in a recycled universe (of
branes ?) or a result of a black hole (in another universe ?) or a result
of an infinite expansion (of branches of an infinite number of inflating
universes ?) ... for details on what happened *after* that mysterious
causality, see

WMAP data enables us to determine the age of
the universe is 13.7 billion years, with an uncertainty
of 1%

A trip through the Big Bang:

Stephen Hawking's Universe - links to details on
various theories regarding the origin and makeup
of the universe we happen to reside in:

Stephen Hawking's Universe - links to details on
strange stuff:

Stephen Hawking's Universe - links to details on
mysteries that still vex cosmologists:

Cosmologists Aim to Observe First Moments of Universe

The Universe Big Bang


Graphical timeline of the Big Bang:

Graphical timeline of our universe, from the Big
Bang to now to 8 billion years from now:

~13,699,700,000 ...

Formation of atoms from electrons and nuclei;
first atoms of hydrogen, helium, and lithium are
many millions of times larger than any of the
particles or nuclei of the previous era; the atomic
universe breaks apart into clouds due to gravita-
tional attraction (the universe transitioned from
being radiation dominated to being matter
dominated); inside the clouds are primal
galaxies with hydrogen and helium rushing
together, heating up, and after hundreds of
millions of years, bursting forth as the first

WMAP picture of the universe about 300,000
years after the Big Bang, when matter and radia-
tion decoupled:

~13.6 billion ...

Hydrogen gas makes first stars about 100
million years (up to 250 million years) after
the Big Bang:

The First Stars in the Universe

The first adult stars were bright, short-lived behe-
moths that ended the so-called cosmic dark ages
 — a 100-(to 250)-million-year period beginning
shortly after the Big Bang when there was no
visible light.

Over a period of hundreds of millions and billions
of years, formation of over 32 sextillion stars into
over 100 billion galaxies, grouped in clusters and
superclusters of galaxies.

From First Stars to the Quasars

~13 billion ....

Earliest occurrence of Gamma Ray Burst (due to "cataclysmic
explosion of a giant star") detected:

~12.8 billion ....

Hundreds of galaxies discovered about 900 million years
after the Big Bang. To-date, far fewer galaxies have been
discovered between 400 million to less than 900 million
years after the Big Bang:

~11 billion ....

Faraway supernovae shatter distance record
Astronomers say stellar blasts occurred 11 billion years ago
"The remnants of two massive stars that exploded about
11 billion years ago have shattered the record for the
most distant supernovae in the known universe. ..."

~4.54 billion ....

Formation of Sun, Earth and sister planets; intense
bombardment of planet surfaces.

Solar system to scale, based on size not distance:

Position of our solar system in the Milky Way galaxy:

Reference to geologic time periods referred to
in some of the following material:

Reference to comprehensive Earth history, as of
2001 (note-a great deal of information is contained
in this page, and some of the referenced dates are
no longer applicable, due to ongoing discoveries
which are one of the greatest advantages of the
scientific method):

Prehistoric Time Line

Earth's Timeline

Milestones in the History of Life & Evolutionary Science

~4.5 billion ....

Earth smash spawned Moon

"... The Earth and Moon were once one. The Moon
was blasted away from the early Earth by a massive
interplanetary collision, according to an idea which
has received strong new support. The new data comes
from the Lunar Prospector spacecraft ..."

Apollo samples reveal Moon's origin
"... Analysis of lunar samples returned by the Apollo
astronauts confirms previous indications that the
ratios of the different types, or isotopes, of oxygen
in the Moon's soil are similar to those of Earth. It is
a finding that is consistent with the giant impact model
for the Moon's formation. ..."

For a brief recap of this event, see the beginning of
part 1 of Walking With Monsters:

~4.5 billion to 542 million ....

4.5 Billion to 542 Million Years Ago
"Precambrian time covers the vast bulk of the Earth's
history, starting with the planet's creation about 4.5
billion years ago and ending with the emergence of
complex, multicelled life-forms almost four billion
years later.

The Precambrian is the earliest of the geologic ages,
which are marked by different layers of sedimentary
rock. Laid down over millions of years, these rock
layers contain a permanent record of the Earth's past,
including the fossilized remains of plants and animals
buried when the sediments were formed. ..."  

~4.4 to 3.9 billion ....

Asteroids may have enhanced early life?
"... These new results push back the possible beginnings
of life on Earth to well before the bombardment period
3.9 billion years ago ... It opens up the possibility that
life emerged as far back as 4.4 billion years ago, about
the time the first oceans are thought to have formed.

... hydrothermal vents may have provided sanctuaries 
for extreme, heat-loving microbes known as 'hyperther-
mophilic bacteria' following bombardments ... Even if
life had not emerged by 3.9 billion years ago, such
underground havens could still have provided a 'cruci-
ble' for life's origin on Earth ... Exactly when life origin-
ated on Earth is a hotly debated topic ...

The discovery challenges our fundamental understanding
of processes active in the early history of the Earth.  It
suggests that life may well have appeared on Earth long
before the period of heavy-meteorite bombardment
believed by some to have initiated the emergence of
life on Earth ..."

Simple Life Form
"... 4.2-billion-year-old diamonds ... are the oldest-known
samples of Earth’s carbon ... discovery of very high con-
centrations of carbon 12, or 'light carbon' within these
crystals is remarkable as it is a feature usually associated
with organic life. ... We interpret the range of light carbon
values observed in these inclusions as a unique chemical
marker that opens up the possibility of biological activity
during the period not long after the Earth’s formation ..."

Oldest Known Rocks On Earth Discovered:
4.28 Billion Years Old
"...The Earth is 4.6 billion years old, and remnants of
its early crust are extremely rare—most of it has been
mashed and recycled into Earth's interior several times
over by plate tectonics since the Earth formed. ... Geol-
ogists now have a new playground to explore how and
when life began, what the atmosphere may have looked
like, and when the first continent formed. ..."

~3.85 billion ....

Comet Swarm Delivered Earth's Oceans?

"... A barrage of comets may have delivered Earth's oceans
around 3.85 billion years ago ... Scientists have long sus-
pected that Earth and its near neighbors were walloped by
tens of thousands of impactors during an ancient event known
as the Late Heavy Bombardment. ... by the time of the Late
Heavy Bombardment, things had cooled down, allowing
meltwater from the flurry of comets to become the world's
first seas.

... Greenland rocks contained about 150 parts per trillion of
iridium, supporting the idea that comets were the main players
in the Late Heavy Bombardment. All that ice from the comet
swarm then thawed to create a global ocean more than half
a mile (about a kilometer) deep ... it's possible that comets
seeded Earth not only with water but with life. According to
some controversial studies, the oldest evidence for life on
Earth dates back to about 3.85 billion years ago, around the
time of the Late Heavy Bombardment ..."

~3.8 to ~3.5 billion ....

Microbial life (eubacteria, archae) evolved.

Oldest evidence of photosynthesis
(3.7 billion years ago)
... microbes much like present-day cyanobacteria were
converting sunlight to chemical energy through oxygenic,
or oxygen-producing, photosynthesis. Anoxygenic
photosynthesis, a form of the reaction that does not
produce oxygen as a by-product, is widely thought to
have evolved before the oxygenic form. ... "The prob-
lem is that one doesn't know how long life was evolving
on Earth before 3.7 billion years ago. The geological
record more or less stops there." 

... "The biochemistry needed for oxygenic photosyn-
thesis requires lots of bacterial evolution. If their find-
ings are correct, life was very sophisticated, very early
on in Earth history. ... For three-quarters of a billion
years after its formation, the Earth was being pounded
by meteorites. That bombardment only ends around
3.8 billion years ago." ...

Adobe file with sizable graphic displaying all life on
a timetree

Time Tree Resources

Evolutionary history of life

Details on current life (300 species) which resides
near hydrothermal vents:

Map of currently known hydrothermal vent locations:

Life's First Scalding Steps:

How did it all begin? The self-assembly of organic
molecules and the origin of cellular life:

Clues to a Secret of Life Found in Meteorite Dust

Origin of Life On Earth: Scientists Unlock Mystery
of Molecular Machine

Synthetic Biology Yields Clues to Evolution
and Origin Of Life

How Did Life Begin? RNA That Replicates
Itself Indefinitely Developed For First Time

Life's Raw Materials May Have Come
From the Stars, Scientists Confirm

Meteorites Delivered the 'Seeds' of
Earth's Left-hand Life, Experts Argue

Life's Building Blocks From Space?
Meteorites a Rich Source for Primordial Soup

Key to Life Before Its Origin On Earth
May Have Been Discovered

New Insights Into the Origin of Life On Earth

NASA Identifies Carbon-rich Molecules
in Meteors as the 'Origin of Life' 

"... These molecules, called quinones, are poten-
tially significant for the "origin of life" or the habit-
ability of planets. ..."

Comet probes reveal evidence of origin of life,
scientists claim 

"Recent probes inside comets show it is over-
whelmingly likely that life began in space,
according to a new paper by Cardiff Univer-
sity scientists. ..."

Discovery Implies Life Could Be 
Everywhere In the Universe
"... Scientists have managed to create 
'primitive cells' in an experiment which 
may indicate that life began in space 
and was delivered to Earth. ..."

The Ingredients : The Recipe for Life

Stage 2: combining these ingredients to make life

Life's origins among the stars

Study Offers Insights Into Evolutionary Origins of Life

Scientists Probing the Origins of Life Develop Method
of Making Novel Proteins Using a 21st Amino Acid

Clues to origins of life

Life 'began on the ocean floor'

Calculations Show Life's Origins
Possible In Volcanic Gases

NASA Scientists Find Clues That
Life Began In Deep Space

New Theory on The Mystery of the Origin of
Life Proposed by Weizmann Institute Scientists

Yale Scientists Recreate Molecular "Fossils," Now Extinct,
That May Have Existed At the Beginning of Life

Kick-start for life on earth

Origins of Life

(this video made in 2001, opens with a date of 15 billion
years ago for the Big Bang -- since this video was made,
WMAP has recently  discovered that the actual age of
the expansion of the space-time continuum we exist in
is 13.7 billion years)


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