Physicists, cosmologists and astronomers are faced with at least two big questions in the coming months and years that should help us, scientists and laypeople, improve our understanding of our place in the universe. The first of these questions is provocative, the second inspires.

In an editorial at the end of 2022 The Economist asked: “Ten years on from the Higgs boson, what is next for physics?” The second question has been around for as long as we can remember; at least as far back as the Epicurean philosophers of ancient Greece who speculated about worlds beyond our own. Sometime in the first century, before the common era (CE), the poet and philosopher Lucretius averred: “Nothing in the universe is unique and alone and therefore in other regions there must be other earths inhabited by different tribes of men and breeds of beasts.”..

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