Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Golden Age of Cosmology

This is a fascinating article by Nobel Laureate George Smoot on our current understanding of Cosmology.

The second reason why this is such an incredibly exciting time in cosmology is that these observations, combined with careful reasoning and an occasional brilliant insight, have allowed us to formulate an elegant and precisely quantitative model for the origin and evolution of the universe. This model reproduces to high accuracy everything that we observe over the history of the universe, images of which are displayed in the planetarium.

We now have precise observations of a very early epoch in the universe through the images made using the CMB radiation and we hope to start a newer and even more precise and illuminating effort with the launch of the Planck Mission on 14 May. However, we also have many impressive galaxy surveys and plans for even more extensive surveys using new ideas to see the relics of the acoustic oscillations in the very, very early universe, as well as the gravitational lensing caused by the more recently formed large-scale structures, such as clusters of galaxies that slightly warp the fabric of space–time by their presence. Each will give us new images and thus new information about the overall history of the universe.


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