Science Made Simple: What is Cosmology?

Science Made Simple: What is Cosmology?

Cosmology, the study of the origin and structure of the universe, is divided into observational and physical branches. It evolved from the discoveries of Copernicus and Newton to Einstein’s theory of relativity. Modern cosmology explores the formation of the universe, including dark matter and dark energy, and examines phenomena such as the Big Bang and the cosmic microwave background.

What is cosmology?

Cosmology It is the study of the origin, development, structure, history and future of the entire universe.

In modern science, cosmology is divided into two branches. Observational cosmology It studies the universe using telescopes and other equipment to examine direct evidence of the evolution and structure of the universe. Physical cosmology It studies the structures and evolution of the universe and the physics that created it. It uses a combination of theory and experiments to build and research cosmological models. These models are sometimes called “cosmology.” They integrate theories and information collected by observational cosmology. Cosmology relies on advances in many scientific disciplines, including astrophysics, plasma Physics, nuclear physics, particle physics, relativity, and quantum mechanics.

The origins of current cosmology begin with Nicolaus Copernicus’ observation in the early 16th century that the Earth revolves around the Sun. The next step was Isaac Newton’s discovery in the late 17th century that objects in space behave according to the same laws of physics as objects on Earth. The door to modern physical cosmology opened at the beginning of the twentieth centuryy 20th century with Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity, which proposed a model of space-time.

Cosmology studies how the history of the universe led to the creation of the stars, galaxies, and other objects we can observe today. Source: ESA/Hubble and NASA

Today’s cosmologists believe that ordinary matter — the type of matter we interact with every day — is only a small part of the universe. Most scientists agree that dark energy and dark matter make up a large percentage of the universe. According to this theory, dark energy makes up more than two-thirds of the universe. This dark energy could be the force that overcomes gravity and allows the universe to expand in what is called cosmic acceleration. Another quarter of the universe is dark matter in this model. It is a hypothetical form of matter that interacts so weakly with ordinary matter and electromagnetic radiation that until now it has been impossible for scientists to detect directly.

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Modern physical cosmology studies many general areas related to astrophysics, nuclear physics, particle physics, and other fields. They understand:

  • the the great explosion. It is the process by which the universe expanded from a point of infinite temperature and density to infinity to become the universe we live in today.
  • The formation and evolution of the large-scale structure of the universe. This indicates the formation of patterns of galaxies and galaxy clusters throughout the universe. The origins of galaxies and this large-scale structure date back to the first fraction of a second after the Big Bang.
  • the great explosion Nucleosynthesis. This includes the formation of nuclei heavier than hydrogen-1 in the first seconds and minutes of the universe.
  • Cosmic microwave background. This is the light, in the form of particles called photons, that remains about 380,000 years after the Big Bang. This light is the result of the conditions following the Big Bang. It reflects the density and regularity of the universe immediately after the Big Bang, giving scientists a view of the universe as it existed 380,000 years after the Big Bang.
  • Substantia nigra. This is what current theory says must exist to explain how gravity affects galaxies and galaxy clusters in the universe. Scientists don’t know what dark matter is, but it may be a type of subatomic particle that has not yet been discovered and is not part of the standard model of particle physics.
  • Gravitational waves. These ripples in spacetime are caused by massive, violent, high-energy events such as supernovas, black hole collisions, and neutron star collisions.
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quick Facts

  • Scientists estimate that there are 2 trillion galaxies in the universe. This is an amazing number. But this is much less than the 37.2 trillion cells in the human body.
  • The oldest light to reach Earth is 13.77 billion years old.
  • The universe’s total energy budget consists of about 5% regular matter, 27% dark matter (which interacts with regular matter via gravity but not with light), and 68% dark energy. This is why it is so important for science to learn about dark matter and dark energy.
  • In the dark about dark matter? Watch the following video from NASA.

There is more to the universe than meets the eye. About 80% of the matter in the universe is not visible with telescopes, but the effect of its gravity is evident in the orbital velocities of stars around galaxies and in the movements of galaxy clusters. However, despite decades of efforts, no one knows what this “dark matter” actually is. Many scientists believe that the mystery is likely to be solved through the discovery of new types of subatomic particles, types that are necessarily different from those that make up the atoms of ordinary matter around us. Research is underway to detect and identify these particles in experiments around the world and beyond.

DOE Office of Science: Contributions to Cosmology Research

The Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science supports cosmology research primarily through its nuclear and high-energy physics programs. The High Energy Physics Program focuses on research related to its five scientific engines of particle physics

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. These motivations include work on the particles that make up the universe and studies of dark matter and dark energy. These subroutines include several procedures that are closely related to cosmology. At the same time, the Nuclear Physics Program supports research on the atomic nucleus and the subatomic particles that comprise it. This work helps scientists understand the universe as a whole.

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