Science Made Simple: What Is Cosmology?

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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 into Einstein’s theory of relativity. Modern cosmology explores the composition of the universe, including dark matter and dark energy, and investigates 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 instruments to examine direct evidence of the universe’s growth and structure. Physical cosmology He studies the structure and evolution of the universe and the physics behind it. It uses a mix of theory and experiments to build and test cosmological models. These models are sometimes called “cosmology”. They include theories and data collected by observational cosmology. Cosmology draws on advances from many scientific disciplines, including astrophysics. Plasma Physics, Nuclear Physics, Particle Physics, Relativity and Quantum Mechanics.

The origins of today’s cosmology began in the early 1500s with Nicolaus Copernicus’ observation that the Earth revolved around the Sun. The next step was Isaac Newton’s discovery in the late 1600s that objects in space behaved according to the same laws of physics as objects on Earth. The door to modern physical cosmology was opened in the early 20s.Th century with the theory of Albert Einstein RelativityHe proposed a model of space-time.

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Cosmology is the study of how the history of the universe gave rise to the stars, galaxies, and other features we can observe today. Credit: ESA/Hubble and NASA

Today, cosmologists believe that ordinary matter, the kind we interact with every day, is a small part of the universe. Most scientists agree that dark energy and dark matter make up a very large percentage of the universe. In this concept, Black energy It makes up more than two-thirds of the universe. This dark energy may be the force that overcomes gravity and allows the universe to expand at cosmic speed. It includes another quarter of the universe Dark matter In this model. This is a hypothesis of matter that interacts with normal matter and electromagnetic radiation so weakly that scientists have yet to directly detect it.

Modern physical cosmology studies many broad areas that cover astrophysics, nuclear physics, particle physics, and more. They include:

  • of Big Bang. This is the process by which the universe expanded from an infinitely hot and infinitely dense space to become the universe we live in today.
  • Formation and evolution of the large-scale structure of the universe. This refers to the formation of galaxies and patterns of galaxies throughout the universe. Galaxies and this large-scale structure originate in the first fraction of a second. The big explosion.
  • Big Bang Nucleosynthesis. This is the creation of a nucleus heavier than the isotope hydrogen-1 in the first seconds and minutes of the universe.
  • Cosmic microwave background. This is light, left over 380,000 years after the Big Bang in the form of particles called photons. This light is the result of conditions after the Big Bang. Because it reflects the density and homogeneity of the universe after the Big Bang, it gives scientists a view of the universe 380,000 years after the Big Bang.
  • Dark matter. The current theory is that it must exist to explain how gravity acts on galaxies and clusters of galaxies in the universe. Scientists don’t know what dark matter is, but it could be a type of subatomic particle that hasn’t been discovered yet. The standard model of fractional physics.
  • Gravitational waves. These ripples in space-time are caused by massive, violent and high-energy events, e.g SupernovaColliding black holes and collisions Neutron stars.

Fast facts

  • Scientists estimate that there are 2 trillion galaxies in the universe. It’s an amazing number. But it is much smaller than the 37.2 trillion cells in the human body.
  • The oldest light reaching the earth is 13.77 billion years.
  • The total energy budget of the universe consists of approximately 5 percent normal matter, 27 percent dark matter (which interacts with ordinary matter gravitationally but does not interact with light), and 68 percent dark energy. That’s why learning more about dark matter and dark energy is so important to science.
  • In the dark about a dark matter? Watch the next video NASA.


There is more to the cosmos than meets the eye. About 80 percent of the matter in the universe is invisible to telescopes, but the effects of gravity can be seen in the orbital speeds of stars around galaxies and the motion of galaxy clusters. However, despite decades of effort, no one knows what this “dark matter” is. Many scientists think that the mystery will be solved when new subatomic particles are discovered. The quest to detect and identify these particles is ongoing with experiments all over 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 the Nuclear Physics and High Energy Physics programs. The High Energy Physics program focuses on related research. The five science drivers of particle physics

. These drivers include work on the particles that make up the universe and studies of dark matter and dark energy. Those subprograms include several closely related to cosmology. Meanwhile, the nuclear physics program supports research on the atomic nucleus and the subatomic particles that make up the nucleus. This work helps scientists understand the universe as a whole.





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