Sixty years ago there was a rip-roaring debate over whether the universe actually had a beginning.
Was there really a creation moment dubbed the "Big Bang," where the universe spontaneously arose out of nothing - not even from ashes like the legendary Phoenix?
Or was the universe eternal, as Einstein himself imagined and worked into his concept of a cosmological constant that kept the universe forever in equilibrium?
It looks like cosmologists today might be able to have their cake, and eat it too.
An emerging new idea is that the universe had a Big Bang, but only one of countless creation moments in a "megaverse" that is eternally inflating with multiple big bangs, like a string of firecrackers going off.
In the 1950s, British astronomer Fred Hoyle was a strong proponent of the "steady state" universe. This theory held that universe is eternal; it always looked the way it does today. Stars are born and die endlessly inside majestic galaxies.
Yes, Hoyle had to concede the universe was expanding, as discovered by Edwin Hubble. But he said that space just spread on forever carrying galaxies with it like an infinitely long conveyor belt. New stars and galaxies were always replenishing the conveyor belt.