What is the universe made of?
How did it get this way?
How big is it?
Where did it come from, and where is it going?
Are we alone it?
At one time in our lives, most of us did ask such questions But then we 'grew up', grew to realize that things like job creation, economics, financial investment, politics, gas mileage and the study of neolithic fertility rites--or whatever narrow field of study you chose to dedicate yourself to-- were much more relevant, and what life was really about.
In their book, View from the Center of the Universe, authors Primack and Abrams suggest that these fundamental questions are not childish, that they remain profound and to the list should be added one more: "What difference does this all make to me?" (10)
Such a conclusion is wrong. Today we do have answers to all these questions which is an amazing thing. It is a gift from the universe, and a triumph of scientific endeavour. The results of this work are not widely known. And knowing the answers to these questions does in fact make a profound difference to our understanding of our place in the universe and our ability to solve the 'practical' problems of everyday human existence.
More to follow...