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The science of eternity

If humans do not destroy themselves they may spread beyond the earth into a universe that could last almost forever. Life would have tunnelled through its moment of maximum jeopardy
Martin Rees  

Before the big bang

As time and space only came into existence with the big bang, the question of what happened before it makes no sense to cosmologists. But why did time and space suddenly switch on? And where do the laws of physics…

Special report: the universe is savage

Every year there are at least 500 gamma-ray bursts in the universe. They destroy everything within a few hundred light years of the source. What do these extraordinary explosions mean for intelligent life in the cosmos?
Oliver Morton  

Millennium briefing: Mapping the cosmos

In the past few years the big cosmic picture has come into focus. We know (more or less) how the universe was created, where it is heading and how it will end. We don't (yet) know if there is intelligent…
Martin Rees  

Cosmology and evolution

The US physicist Lee Smolin is proposing an extraordinary marriage of physics and biology. He argues that there are many universes and, like the laws of physics themselves, they are all evolving. Smolin has written the most important science book…
John Gribbin  

The lab

John Maddox looks at new research which sheds light on the differences between Earth and the other planets
John Maddox