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I've always thought that a story should start at the beginning. Since this book is the story of Earth, we will start at the beginning. According to the astronomers, in the beginning, there was no need for geology because there were no minerals or rocks; there was no Earth; there was no Sun; there were no stars or planets. According to the astronomers, there was a time when even our present universe didn't exist. In the 1920s, the Belgian astronomer Georges Lemaitre hypothesized that everything presently contained within the entire Universe was once compressed into in a sphere he called the "primeval atom"; a sphere that was possibly the size of a golfball ! As you might suspect, the conditions of temperature and pressure that would have existed in that golfball-sized sphere were so extreme that matter as we know it could not possibly have existed. Even the atoms of which matter is made could not have existed; even the parts of the atoms would have not survived such conditions. What􀁃 then, was contained within such a sphere? According to Lemaitre, his primeval atom contained quarks which physicists consider the most basic of all atomic particles that they are the smallest subdivision of matter. Then where did the Universe come from? The astronomers say that about 13.7 billion years ago, Lemaitre's primitive atom exploded and all of the quarks were released into space; an event cal1ed the Big Bang. The term Big Bang, by the way, was coined as a derogatory term by a leading astronomer of the 20th century, Fred Hoy]e, who refused to accept such an origin.

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