The BIG History Project

(Learn this great story about our past and future then test your knowledge!


The Rise of Complexity

Every culture has an origin story.

  • Pan Gu and the Egg of the World
  • Titans and Gods of Olympus
  • The Great Turtle's Island
  • Genesis
  • Popul Vuh
  • Modern Scientific

Threshold 1 - The period of Plasma and mush: All of a sudden - Bang! The Big Bang explosion which happened about 13.7 billion years ago which lead to the entire expansion of our universe. We don't know why it happened but we do know what happened thereafter. It was immediately responsible for the development of the elements in the periodic table we learned about in science class.  The first atoms to develop were hydrogen and helium atoms. There was also time and space and matter and energy.  But it was so hot initially matter and energy were inseparable, but It started cooling shortly after and they began to separate. Energy started to take many forms including gravity and electro-magnetism. The molecular matter appeared as electrons and quarks. Quarks linked up to form protons and neutrons. "Nothing" turned into "something" - the beginning of all the physical laws of the universe that were discovered by scientists such as Newton and Einstein becoming present. But the beginning was considered the Dark Ages filled with cooling darkness and space.

Georges Lemaitre in the 1920s was the first to propose the expanding universe theory and even Einstein didn't believe it. Even after Edwin Hubble invented the telescope to show that galaxies were speeding away from each other many still didn't believe it. In 1964 New Jersey scientists aimed an extra sensitive antenna toward space and got a low hiss sound. Astrophysics mathematical calculations determined that energy released from a Big Bang would make the same low static hiss, thus the evidence needed after this claim testing.

Threshold 2 - Galaxies are formed: 380,000 years after the big bang is when the first elements of the periodic table started to form. The universe was cooling down and positively charged protons developed which could link up with the electrons negative charge. They formed electrically neutral atoms. Gravity also developed pulling mass of protons and electrons together into clouds. They formed various elements and now the formation of stars could develop. It was the tiny variations in the mass that was the first goldilocks condition for this threshold. Gravity had more affect on the heavier ones. It squashed them together causing pressure and heat so gravity created our second goldilocks condition. When the temp got 10 million degrees celsius protons began to fuse together. The growing pressure and heat caused the protons and electrons to split apart once more recreating plasma. This huge release of heat and energy counteracted the pressing gravity. This is how the first stars lit up. After the stars released all their energy then the galaxies began to form. This started to provide structure to the universe.

Lifecycle of the Stars - Super Novas created the heavier elements in the periodic table.