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Scientists now have a fairly thorough understanding of the event known as the Big Bang, but what, if anything, came before it? According Tim Maudlin, professor of philosophy at New York University, modern cosmologists must consider two possibilities: that the universe was born of out nothing, or that the Big Bang was preceded by ‘another state’. However, both possibilities – that time simply began, or that an infinite amount of time has elapsed – provoke discontent among scientists and philosophers, which leaves the door open for a range of competing theories.
Interviewer: Nigel Warburton
Producer: Kellen Quinn
Editor: Adam D’Arpino
Why making if-then connections might be the key to consciousness
Thinkers and theories
Bernard Williams on Descartes’s audacious endeavour to prove knowledge is possible
Ageing and death
When his elderly parents make a suicide pact, Doron struggles to accept their choice
To understand the limits of human senses, look to the wild world of animal cognition
Design and fashion
From sheep to sea – an ode to the iconic sweater that warms Cornish sailors
Yes, the Inuit have dozens of words for snow – but what does each one mean exactly?
History of science
How one of history’s most beautiful books was used to find fate in the cosmos
Symmetry rules life on Earth – but it comes with many fascinating exceptions
There’s no one way for an insect to fly, but they’re all amazing in close up and slo-mo