Science magazine writer Charles Seife has written a new book, Alpha and Omega: The Search for the Beginning and End of the Universe. According to Publishers Weekly, Charles claims, "Scientists...now know how the universe will end and are on the brink of understanding its beginning. Their findings will be among the greatest triumphs of science, even towering above the deciphering of the human genome." A brave statement! Charles is happy to answer your questions about ongoing research that is busily revealing the basic nature of life, the universe, and everything in a serious (as opposed to humorous) sense, so ask away. One question per post, please. We'll post the answers as soon as we get them beck.