When did it happen?

1991/02/01 Martin Axpe, Iñaki Iturria: Elhuyar aldizkaria

The origin of the things around him has always worried man. When and how did the first human being arise? And the Earth? And the stars?


Table 1.

He has always been concerned about the origin of the things around him. When and how did the first human being arise? And the Earth? And the stars?

XVIII. In the nineteenth century Joan Bautista Bernik, professor at the University of Valencia, deduced that the world was less than 6,000 years old following a Bible-based reasoning (see Table 1).

Since then the age of the world has grown enormously, today between 15,000 and 20,000 million! It is estimated to be a year. What science reads in nature is not as clear as what we can read in the Bible. Therefore, there are still many problems to be discussed and unknown.

In any case, in this article we will talk as if we knew the correct truth, without any doubt. Because our goal is not to answer all the questions, but to put in one hand those great figures that, instead of rooting in our mind, mark us.


15 billion years ago there was nothing, no matter, no space, no time, except a point of infinite density. Then this point exploded (the famous Big Bang), starting a process of expansion. This expansion reduced density and temperature, initiating the world and setting the laws of Physics.

And it is that everything we see in our world, when we approach, is made up of smaller parts. These parts, in turn, are made up of smaller parts. However, there are basic fractions that cannot be divided: quark and necklaces, as well as four joining forces between them.

There are six necklaces, the best known is the electron. There are six quarks, whose combination gives rise to the proton. From there, like the Russian dolls, every object is formed, as can be seen in Table 2. There is also something else that is not matter: energy, whose smallest part is the photon.

Table 2.

If we know all this, we begin to explain the evolution of the world.


As has been said, it all began 15 billion years ago when this point of infinite density explodes. At that time the four forces united in one force and there were no differences between matter and energy. However, before a second after the explosion, the four present forces are born, matter and photons are separated, matter was divided into leptoi and quarks, and quarks formed protons and neutrons. Lots of events in such a short time!

Soon (in 3 minutes) protons and neutrons joined together forming nuclei. And so the world remained for 500,000 years. Then the nuclei began to retain the free circulating electrons forming atoms.

At that time we can say that the Universe was an expanding hydrogen and helium cloud. But the cloud was not like cotton, but like a sponge. Therefore, from the beginning, 1,000 million (109) years later, in the places where there was more matter, contractions were produced by weight action, giving rise to galaxies (see figure 1). Our galaxy (Milky Way) is recognized to have been born 13 billion years ago.

Figure .

But within each of these galaxies the same process was repeated with the smaller clouds that were spinning, which would be the first stars. These gigantic stars had a relatively short life and made carbon, nickel, iron, etc., unknown until then. When the fuel of the stars ended, new elements formed exploded, dispersing through space. Therefore, all elements could be found in the space dust.

4.8 billion years ago a star burst. The wave began to contract a cloud of gas and lateral dust, forming inside the core that is our Sun. The dust around the nucleus was collected on the planets. On earth, gravitation did not allow escape from the gases emitted by volcanoes (CO2, CO, N2, NH3, CH4 and H2O). Therefore, atmosphere appeared. And once the water was condensed, the seas were filled.

Solar energy (then there was no ozone protection) caused organic molecules: proteins, enzymes, etc... one day, a molecule capable of making copies in its form. From there, 3,000 million years ago, prokaryotic cells (bacteria and blue-green algae) appeared that live without oxygen. The latter produce oxygen. Thus, 1,000 million years later it was noticed the presence of oxygen in the atmosphere, appearing algae that breathed oxygen 1.5 billion years ago.

Subsequently appeared several hard skeleton animals and fish from them. Life spread from sea to land, forming after the fusion of amphibians, reptiles, mammals, birds and humans.

The detailed chronology of this long journey can be seen in Table 3-A.

In one hand

We have pointed out the history of the world as a tale. We have also included all dates in a table. However, do we really realize the proportion? I don't think, we're not used to using these figures. But there is a way to master all those millions.

We will sum up the entire history of the universe to a single year, that is, the Big Bang occurred on January 1, while we live on December 31. The result is shown in Table 3-B. Wonderful, right?

Within a month there were galaxies and therefore the universe we know. However, it took 8 months for the Sun and Earth to appear and almost ten months to appear. Life developed only has a fortnight. The Basque Country appeared yesterday, and the man, after an hour of development, remained in the caves when there were 30 seconds left to hear the bells of the New Year.

Last question

What was before the zero moment? The answer given by science is not comfortable. This question makes no sense. But why? Is it a prohibited tobacco? We have to make a little effort to understand it well.

Normally, when we think about the development of the Universe, we imagine ourselves as a balloon that expands into the empty and dark room in which we are. That's why we can ask what was out of the globe or before we began to expand. But this image is not correct because there are no rooms. We are inside the globe. Our concepts of time and space do not exist outside the Universe. They are characteristics of this world and were “invented” with the explosion. Therefore, there is not before when there is not the same time. Not where there is no space.

It is not so difficult if you try to understand it. However, if you want, there are much simpler explanations on the basis of any religion.

Gai honi buruzko eduki gehiago

Elhuyarrek garatutako teknologia