“Nineteen years after Edwin Hubble’s discovery that the galaxies seem to be running away from one another at fabulously high speeds, the picture presented by the expanding universe theory—which assumes that in its original state all matter was squeezed together in one solid mass of extremely high density and temperature—gives us the right conditions for building up all the known elements in the periodic system. According to calculations, the formation of elements must have started five minutes after the maximum compression of the universe. It was fully accomplished, in all essentials, about 10 minutes later.”
—Scientific American, July 1948
More gems from Scientific American’s first 175 years can be found on our anniversary archive page.