That term was first coined by the late British astronomer Fred Hoyle, who tackled some of the biggest questions in twentieth-century science. Later, in an international competition for a better name, the term survived over thirteen thousand proposed alternatives judged by a panel of my former ABC colleague Hugh Downs, the later astronomer Carl Sagan and the exceptional science writer Timothy Ferris.
Before the "bang," say the experts, there was no space — everything was contained in the pinpoint. Today, the process of space expansion continues as the galaxies in our cosmos are flung farther away from each other. One obvious question is what preceded the big bang, and what existed outside the "boundaries" of space as it was exploding. When I put this to a friend who is a world-renowned cosmologist, he started trying to explain to me the virtual vacuum-concept before stopping with a smile and saying, "You just go back to the beginning — and that's it."