Neil deGrasse Tyson’s show Star Talk is ending its fourth season with a bang—a big one. The big one, to be precise. The show, filmed at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, features famous astrophysicist Tyson interviewing famous-for-things-other-than-physics folks through the lens of science. For this Sunday’s season finale, Tyson’s guest is arguably the only physicist more famous than he: Stephen Hawking.
Tyson asked Hawking your standard softball interview question: what was around before the big bang? In other words, what happened before the moment the universe began? Check out his answer:
“The boundary condition of the universe…is that it has no boundary,” Hawking says.
Basically, Hawking’s favorite answer to this question is that there kind of isn’t any such thing as a time before the big bang. Time smooths out as you get closer and closer to the big bang, such that it never actually narrows down into a starting point. In the words of another famous master of time and space, it’s just a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey… stuff.
If you’re colossally, cosmologically confused, I’ve got great news for you: in a recent issue of our print magazine (which, yes, still exists and yes, is still great, and yes, you should subscribe to) I co-wrote a piece on this exact, mind-trippy topic with physicist Matthew R. Francis. We described this theory thusly:
Read More: Popular Science