Part of the reason for writing the blog below regarding the big bang is the comparison with the Old Norse version of the creation and their subsequent view of existence. At the beginning of the Prose Edda, one of the first things we read the following account of the universe’s beginnings.
(By the way, I’ve cut and pasted most of this from here: www.sacred-texts.com For those parts of the text which come from older poetic sources (The Sibyl’s Prophecy) I’ve added the newer Penguin version as an alternative. This is because the newer text is more readable and the meaning feels slightly different. The older one has a poetic power, though. This distinction in use of language is significant in itself, with regard to my project, I think. The bits from the Penguin edition are in italics.
The older translation is from 1916 and is by Arthur Gilchrist Brodeur
The newer one is from 2005 and is by Jesse L. Byock)
One thing about this project that I’m really pleased about is the fact that I read ‘A Briefer History of Time’ by Stephen Hawking and thoroughly enjoyed it. It made my head go a bit funny. It had never really occurred to me but apparently space and time began with the big bang. They’re both entirely relative. That fact in itself is pretty mad. Time moves more slowly when closer to a strong gravitational force. This is part of how a hypothetical astronaut who travelled through the universe at light speed would be younger than their twin on their return to earth.
One of the first things I did in the House Gallery was make a layered set of illustrations of views of the universe. The ancient Greek mathematician Ptolemy realised the Earth was a sphere but thought it was at the centre of the universe and that all of the planets orbited around it. He said the Sun was where the Earth is. He couldn’t see clearly beyond Saturn. 1500 odd years later, Copernicus figured out, (with flat earth carried by turtle theories in between) that the Earth wasn’t at the centre of the universe, or even the solar system. Nowadays we realise everything’s much more complicated than we might have thought. This is shown with a diagram of the timeline of the universe after the big bang showing how everything that exists is set in the context of space time. I used different coloured chalk to illustrate these different views of the universe and show how they have changed with time.
Here’s the list of moments I’ve kept waffling on about in my essay and presentations. I use the word moment because I think the best way of looking at this history is to break it down in to a few snapshot moments. I don’t like the word moments that much but can’t think of anything better. I’m not saying these will defnitely be the ones I’ll use, but they’re what I’m looking at for the moment.