The cosmic story of us, from before the Big Bang until today, is a story that all of us share. Enjoy it, in just 200 words.
In the beginning, there was space and time, and the fabric of space was expanding at a fantastic rate.
That inflationary state came to an end where we are, converting the energy of space into matter, antimatter and radiation.
This hot, primordial soup expanded and cooled, creating a slight asymmetry between matter (slightly more) and antimatter (slightly less).
The cooling continued, nuclei formed, and eventually, so did neutral atoms.
These atoms clumped together in gravitationally overdense regions, forming the first stars after tens of millions of years.
The most massive stars run out of fuel and die in supernovae, enriching the Universe with heavy elements.
On larger scales, star clusters, galaxies and more merge together to form the large-scale structure we see today.
On small scales, generations of recycled, burned-out stellar material give rise to new generations of stars.
These later generations contain 1–2% heavy elements, some of which form rocky planets.
Some of these planets, rich with life’s fundamental ingredients, form in the habitable zones of their stars.
On one of them, 4+ billion years ago, life takes hold.
After evolution, catastrophes, and extinction, we, the survivors, arrived.
Mostly Mute Monday tells the story of a single scientific phenomenon or object primarily in visuals, with no more than 200 words of text. Talk less; smile more.Ethan Siegel is the author of Beyond the Galaxy and Treknology. You can pre-order his third book, currently in development: the Encyclopaedia Cosmologica.