Cosmology and Dark Matter

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George E. Pake Auditorium 2003-12-11

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Event

Cosmology and Dark Matter

Modern cosmology -- the study of the universe as a whole, its origin, evolution, and structure -- is undergoing a scientific revolution. New ground and space-based telescopes can now observe every bright galaxy in the universe, and see back in time to the cosmic dark ages before galaxies formed. We can read the history of the early universe in the ripples of heat radiation still arriving from the Big Bang. We now know that everything that we can see makes up only about half a percent of what is there, and that most of the universe is made of invisible stuff called "dark matter" and "dark energy." The cold dark matter theory based on this appears to be able to account for all the main features of the observable universe, including the heat radiation and the large scale distribution of galaxies, although there are possible problems understanding some details of the structure of galaxies. Modern cosmology is developing humanity's first story of the origin and nature of the universe that might actually be true. Will this be relevant to other aspects of modern life?

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