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Cosmic Melody

Tuning in to the early universe

Mark Whittle's new CD isn't likely to win a Grammy, but it's got a primal beat. Beginning with a scream and ending in a deafening hiss, the sound track reflects what he and many other astronomers suspect the universe sounded like immediately following the Big Bang and for some 100 million years thereafter. The entire cosmic symphony, Whittle notes, is the prelude to a remarkable transformation that continues to unfold nearly 14 billion years later: the evolution of the universe from a smooth, hot broth to a lumpy, cold stew of stars, galaxies, and galaxy clusters.

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