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A range of new possibilities was then opened up in 1915, when Albert Einstein devised his general relativity theory that describes the nature of space, time and gravity. In 1917, an astronomer named Willem De Sitter applied Einstein's theory to the entire universe, and t... ... middle of paper ... ...anding universe, we imagined a dense, hot beginning of our universe 13.7 billion years ago in the past. After the universe then began to expand, it cooled, going from extremely small to the size and temperature of our current universe. During the middle of this century, we discovered that nuclear reactions in this hot early universe precisely account for the previously mysterious abundance of helium and deuterium. However, we detected a faint glow after the Big Bang occurred 13.7 billion years ago.