The Most Remarkable Discovery Of Modern Cosmology

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The Beginning of Time
This lecture is the intellectual property of Professor S.W.Hawking. You may not reproduce, edit, translate, distribute, publish or host this document in any way with out the permission of Professor Hawking.

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In this lecture, I would like to discuss whether time itself has a beginning, and whether it will have an end. All the evidence seems to indicate, that the universe has not existed forever, but that it had a beginning, about 15 billion years ago. This is probably the most remarkable discovery of modern cosmology. Yet it is now taken for granted. We are not yet certain whether the universe will have an end. When I gave a lecture in Japan, I was asked not to mention the possible re-collapse of the universe, because it might affect the stock market. However, I can re-assure anyone who is nervous about their investments that it is a bit early to sell: even if the universe does come to an end, it won 't be for at least twenty billion years. By that time, maybe the GATT trade agreement will have come into effect.

The time scale of the universe is very long compared to that for human life. It was therefore not surprising that until recently, the universe was thought to be essentially static, and unchanging in time. On the other hand, it must have been obvious, that society is evolving

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