Watch: A Brief History of Everything Written and Narrated by Neil deGrasse Tyson

Wednesday, 22 July 2015 - 1:22PM
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Wednesday, 22 July 2015 - 1:22PM
Watch: A Brief History of Everything Written and Narrated by Neil deGrasse Tyson
What is the place of humans in the Universe? This is a huge question for philosophers, theologians, and scientists alike, and one that our friendly neighborhood astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson attempted to answer in his new video, "A Brief History of Everything," which he both wrote and narrated:



The video, which is part of the science YouTube series, Minute Physics, is a little over eight minutes long, and features Tyson explaining the entire history of the Universe. He's speaking very quickly, but that's still pretty impressive.

Boiling it down to its simplest terms, and using the most cutting-edge theories, he tracks the journey from the hot void before the Big Bang to the aftereffects of the Big Bang in which spacetime "gurgled into a spongy, foam-like form." Then there's the formation of planets, the advent of life forms on Earth, the mass extinctions, Darwinian evolution, and finally the rise of homo sapiens, who reached reached a level of intelligence that allowed them to invent astrophysics and to examine the origins of the universe. And here we are, making YouTube videos about the Universe.

The most striking aspect of this video is how little we really know about the Universe. Tyson is a foremost expert in astrophysics, but he still adds qualifications all over the place. He describes our knowledge of the time around the Big Bang, which led to the entire creation of our universe, as "admittedly speculative physics." If the balance between matter and antimatter hadn't become asymmetrical, our universe would have been composed of light and nothing else, but that occurred "for reasons unknown." And if anaerobic bacteria hadn't arisen on Earth "by an unknown mechanism" and made Earth habitable for oxygen-breathing life, life as we know it never would have existed. But, as Tyson puts it, "we've only just begun."

Opening quote
"Yes, the Universe had a beginning. Yes, the Universe continues to evolve. And yes, every one of our bodies' atoms is traceable to the Big Bang and to a thermonuclear furnace in high mass stars. We are not simply in the universe, we are part of it. We are born from it. One might even say we've been empowered by the Universe to figure itself out. And we've only just begun."
Closing quote
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