Big Bangs


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Suddenly, a new world

Where do we start? Often, with a bang. Take our modern universe. It didn’t grow slowly and linearly, but was instead a violent departure from what came before. Big Bangs like this aren’t exclusive to cosmology: There are the sudden appearance of language and tool use, the Cambrian explosion in the diversity of life on Earth, and the sharp divergences of economic cycles.

  • Can You Ever Really Know an Extraterrestrial? Knowledge about aliens might be as dangerous as the aliens themselves, by Caleb Scharf
  • The Family That Couldn’t Say Hippopotamus: The origins of language are not what inherited disorders seemed to suggest, by Elizabeth Svoboda
  • To Understand Religion, Think Football: Sacred beliefs likely arose out of prehistoric bonding and rituals, by Steve Paulson
  • This issue also includes contributions from: Jennifer Barone, Brooke Borel, Rose Eveleth, Brandon Keim, Amy Maxmen, Kira Peikoff, Adam Piore, Barry B. Powell, Edward Tenner, Karen Weintraub, and Ed Yong.