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In the Beginning...

assembling the Universe from simple energy to complex brains

The Universe

Milky way and Zodiacal light in Tunisia (Dr. Francisco Diego)

How old is the Universe? How did it appear and why? What is our place within it? The human mind always faced the deep mysteries of existence by creating imaginative myths, superstitions and religious beliefs. Modern science has found evidence for a Universe that develops by assembling tiny building blocks that emerged from a very simple and unique instant of creation. From that remote beginning, this lecture brings the broad perspective of a linear timeline to illustrate almost eternal processes of assembly that challenge our imagination. At least in one case, these processes have achieved extraordinary levels of complexity found in bio-chemical organisms that despite their physical insignificance, have developed awareness and emotions, questioning and exploring the very Universe that assembled them.


The lecture deals with basic concepts of Physics, Chemistry and Biology and it is usually followed by an open discussion/debate in the theatre or in a separate room with a smaller group. It could also take the shape of a cafe scientifique discussion. When time allows, the lecture can be very interactive, so members of the audience place the milestone images on the timeline. Production of those images by the audience can be arranged in advance.

Duration and Age group

The time line demonstration requires an auditorium with at least 10m wide stage. The lecture takes about 50 minutes and it is aimed at audiences older than 12 years. 

  • This lecture is also available as a Workshop for Science Teachers and Educators

View Lecture (UCL Lunch Hour Lecture Series)

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