The universe has long captivated us with its immense scales of distance and time. How far does it stretch? Where does it end and what lies beyond its star fields and streams of galaxies extending as far as telescopes can see? These questions are beginning to yield to a series of extraordinary new lines of investigation and technologies that are letting us to peer into the most distant realms of the cosmosBut also at the behavior of matter and energy on the smallest of scales. The mind-blowing answer comes from a theory describing the birth of the universe in the first instant of time.