Plus Advent Calendar Door #8: What happened before the big bang?

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A Hubble image

An image taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. It shows stars in the Globular Star cluster NGC 6397, which is one of the closest to us, about 8500 light years from the Earth. Image courtesy NASA.

If the Universe started with a big bang nearly 14 billion years ago, then what happened before that? Was there nothing at all? Did time and space not exist? Or was there something else? Back in 2009 we put the question to the famous cosmologist John D. Barrow. The Universe is an infinitely self-perpetuating foam of bubbles, it seems.

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