Thanks to astronomer Mark Whittle, you can listen to the Big Bang’s first million years of primordial sound, compressed into ten seconds and shifted up 50 octaves into the human range of hearing. Click on this page’s first sound file.
Even on my tinny laptop speakers, I got a chill up my spine hearing this reproduction of what Whittle calls the universe’s primal scream (this link is a fine non-technical description of his scientific work).
The universe was born in silence and soon grew into an awesome roar. Whittle says:
Have you ever wondered what the "Big Bang" actually sounded like? Surely, you may be thinking, this is a trick question -- didn't it just sound like, well, a really big BANG! Surprisingly, perhaps, the answer is "no, not really". As is often the case with Nature, things are not so simple, and a more accurate description would be something like this: a moment of silence followed by a rapidly descending scream which builds to a deep roar and ends in a deafening hiss.
Fundamentalists like to say that science strikes at the heart of religion. That’s hogwash. Exactly the opposite is true: scientific understanding produces a sense of wonder that is the essence of genuine spirituality.
Reading Whittle’s description of how the Big Bang formed the seeds of our present universe is to gain a glimpse into the cosmos’s blueprint of creation, the “mind of God” if you want to use a religious term. He notes that the cosmic microwave radiation that can be sensed by sophisticated scientific instruments depicts the universe’s “genome."
Now, 12 hours after conception, a human is tiny and formless, and all that is present is its DNA. Yet within that DNA, hidden and encoded, is information which determines much of what the developing child and adult will become. So too with the microwave background.
It depicts a compact Universe which is virtually formless, and yet hidden within its delicate patchiness is encoded a huge amount of information, much of which determines how the Universe will subsequently evolve and grow. In a sense, then, studying the microwave background is to astronomy what the human genome project is to the life sciences.
From formlessness came form. From silence came sound. From nothing came something.
Modern science gives us a view of creation that is orders of magnitude more compelling (and, clearly, convincing) than the Genesis mythology and other purely human religious imaginings.
Listen to the Big Bang. You’ll hear more truth in those sounds than in any sermon.