I was 10 years old when I learned that humans could only move forward in time and that the Sun would eventually engulf the earth for the first time. The fear of death and inexistence immediately swallowed me, who was too young to think about and question the meaning of life. I wondered for such a long time what the point of living was if eventually everything would be exploded and gone and how could the future creatures know that I once existed. Even till today, I feel so lost and flustered to think about these questions to which I have never had an answer.
My first-year spring at Colby, I took a Stars, Stellar Systems, and Cosmology class which gave me an introduction to astronomy and a brief overview on the main stream theories regarding the formation of universe. As I took this class as a pure science experience, my take-away impression of astronomy at that time was how fascinating it was to see the modern science could help ‘solve’ the mechanism of universe and dig so far back to the ‘origins’ of everything. It was a pretty bold saying – now I see it.
This week, Prof. Kocevski lectured on the three evidences of the Big Bang – the Hubble expansion, the cosmic micro background, and the Big Bang nucleosynthesis. From early back in history, humans were constantly curious about the emergence of universe. It seems to me that this curiosity came from the inherent human nature of questioning the origins and destiny. Where did something come from? Where will something end up with? These are the two most common questions we ask when encountering unknown things, because the origin and the destination are an necessary part of our understanding of identity. Humans hence came up with various theories regarding the origins of the universe, most of which were proved wrong eventually. I learned from both the seminar and the lecture that even till today there are still many questions that scientists cannot answer and endless debates on the theories that we might know as mainstream. Often times we consider unknowns and uncertainties as a disruption to a world that emphasizes knowledge and balance. However, with the tiny amount of data we have gained compared to the temporal and spatial scale of the universe, can we or should we even think about bringing the so-called chaos to orders?
Back to my long-lasting questions on the destiny of the universe, I felt resonated when reading Isaac Asimov’s fiction, the Last Question. In Asimov’s fiction, from humans to the future people, each generation keeps asking the same question about the destiny and reverse of entropy, a question that no one can answer even till the end of everything. To me, the universe started from a chaos and expands to end with another one. Just as the metaphor of the light at the end of the fiction, the light brings the old world to an end and then raises the beginning of a new one. And this new world is, again, full of chaos.