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About Time

June 21, 2012

According to Nobel Laureate and high-energy physicist Dr. Steven Weinberg, the timing and precision of the universe’s creation almost defies comprehension. If the energies of the Big Bang were just the slightest bit different from what they were the universe would have gone through a complete cycle of expansion and contraction before life could have arisen or it would have expanded so rapidly that no stars could have formed.

We came that close to no stars, no galaxies, no elements. The stellar conditions to make gold, for instance, are so rare that they occur for only 2 or 3 minutes every century in a galaxy of a billion stars.

Precise timing. It’s everything.

So write about it: what has your character just missed? The last seat on a train that derails two minutes later or the love of his life as he turns from a ticket counter? Bring two people together because of three exquisite moments of timing (conception? a phone call? a power failure?) Or let one slip through the other’s life unseen.

Professor John Wheeler describes the timing of creation: “To my mind, there must be at the bottom of it all, not an utterly simple equation, but an utterly simple IDEA. And to me that idea, when we finally discover it, will be so compelling, and so inevitable, so beautiful, we will all say to each other, ‘How could it have ever been otherwise?”

Make that statement true of your characters as well.

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