Existence: Where did we come from?

Stephen Hawking

WHY are we here? Where did we come from? According to the Boshongo people of central Africa, before us there was only darkness, water and the great god Bumba. One day Bumba, in pain from a stomach ache, vomited up the sun. The sun evaporated some of the water, leaving land. Still in discomfort, Bumba vomited up the moon, the stars and then the leopard, the crocodile, the turtle, and finally, humans.

This creation myth, like many others, wrestles with the kinds of questions that we all still ask today. Fortunately, as will become clear from this special issue of New Scientist, we now have a tool to provide the answers: science.

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Are we alone? (Image: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty)

Are we alone? (Image: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty)

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