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September2007
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In a Galaxy Far, Far Away

There is another galaxy—and another and another (and some atoms, stars and other bits and pieces). So the universe is expanding and has been ever since its beginning with the Big Bang. What exactly does this mean, though? Essentially, galaxies outside our own are moving away from us, and they are not only moving through space, they are moving in space.

The Earth with the Milky Way and moon. 1918 John Mather, 2006 Nobel Laureate in Physics Craig Mello, 2006 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine

Confused yet? Imagine the expanding universe as a loaf of raisin bread dough. As it rises and grows, the raisins move farther away from each other but still remain in the dough. Although the universe may be infinite, lucky for us the raisin bread dough isn't. Can you imagine that kitchen cleanup job?

This fun fact is brought to you by the Science, Technology and Business Division presentation of "Everyday Mysteries." These mysteries deal with everyday phenomena often taken for granted that can be explained scientifically. Wow friends with your knowledge of "freezer burn," static electricity and toothbrush trivia.

The Library hosted Nobel Prize laureates Craig Mello and John Mather, who discussed the origins of life and the universe, in a program sponsored by the Science, Technology and Business Division and John W. Kluge Center. The webcast features the two scholars offering their answers to life's fundamental questions (and the answer is not 42).


A. The Earth with the Milky Way and moon. 1918. Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction Information: Reproduction No.: LC-USZC4-6270 (color film copy transparency); Call No.: CAI - Benda, no. 43 (C size) [P&P]

B. John Mather, 2006 Nobel Laureate in Physics. Reproduction Information: Not available for reproduction.

B. Craig Mello, 2006 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine. Photo courtesy of University of Massachusetts Medical School. Reproduction Information: Not available for reproduction.