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The evolving Universe
The evolving Universe

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1 The evolving Universe

1.1 A history of the Universe

In the beginning there was nothing at all. To the north and south of nothingness lay regions of fire and frost.

Snorri Sturleson, 1220 AD

The cosmos is all there is, all there ever was, and all there ever will be.

Carl Sagan, 1934-1996

The two viewpoints expressed above sum up the difficulty in describing the origin of the Universe and perhaps show that we haven't really moved very far in the 750 years or so that separate the two statements. In this course, we attempt a more detailed description than either of these. The ideas presented are the best explanation we currently have for the reasons why the Universe has the structure, contents and behaviour that we observe today.