Space is the stage on which physics happens. It's unaffected by what happens in it and it would still be there if everything in it disappeared. This is how we learn to think about space at school. But the idea is as novel as it is out-dated.

Cosmologists gathered in the Netherlands last week to discuss a new view of the Universe. The Universe as seen by Planck was an international conference to discuss the recently released scientific results from the Planck satellite, including two particularly striking snapshots of the early Universe.

This is the first part of the lecture given by Astronomer Royal Martin Rees at Stephen Hawking's birthday symposium.

That geometry should be relevant to physics is no surprise — after all, space is the arena in which physics happens. What is surprising, though, is the extent to which the geometry of space actually determines physics and just how exotic the geometric structure of our Universe appears to be. Plus met up with mathematician Shing-Tung Yau to find out more.

You're unlikely to ever run into a black hole, but here's what it "looks" and "sounds" like when two black holes run into each other. The movie shows a simulation of the gravitational waves generated when two black holes collide and form a third, and the sound file shows what these waves would sound like if you cold hear them.

Most precise experiment to date confirms one of Einstein's predictions
And what are gravitational waves?
Find out with Martin Rees
Are the unchanging features of the Universe really unchanging?
The world's biggest physics experiment is due to start