Big Bang Under Fire

New data about the cosmos have exposed some holes in the theory, but reports of its demise are exaggerated

The term Big Bang has become part of the standard scientific vocabulary, but it was first coined in the 1940s as a putdown. The idea that the universe actually had a beginning seemed just plain wacky -- especially since there was almost no evidence at the time to support it. Yet by the end of the 1960s, virtually all astrophysicists were convinced that the cosmos was born in a single massive explosion, and doubters were left out on the fringe.

In recent months, however, that fringe has been growing. A spate of articles in both the popular and scientific press point...

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