Like many positive terms, the phrase “big bang” originated as a pejorative. Fred Hoyle coined the term in 1949 as a way of deflating the concept of an expanding universe. It stuck, even after Edwin Hubble showed that 13.7 billion years ago, all of the matter in our massive universe was indeed compacted into “one superdense ball.” Astronomers have also figured out that the volume of the big bang was only 120 decibels, about the loudness of your average rock show (though how there might have been sound without an atmosphere escapes me). There is some irony in Hoyle’s dig: the “big bang” wasn’t particularly big, and wasn’t much of a bang, but it happened.
We learn all this and more in the video above from The Open University, and all within a minute, as the title of the series, 60 Second Adventures in Astronomy, promises. These amusing animations are very much like other OU series we’ve featured in the past: 60 Second Adventures in Economics; 60-Second Adventures in Economics: and 60 Second Adventures in Thought. (Find them all on iTunesU here.)
The university describes the new astronomy series like this:
Ever wondered where the Universe came from? Or more importantly, where it’s headed? Voiced by David Mitchell, this series of twelve 60 second animations examines different scientific concepts from the big bang to relativity, from black holes to dark matter. The series also explores the possibility of life beyond Earth and considers why David Bowie is still none the wiser about life on Mars.
Life on Mars