Podcast Starts with a Bang #84 – Cosmological Mysteries

Starts With A Bang Podcast #84 – Cosmological Mysteries – Big Think Skip to content

Begins with a blow —

Our model of the Universe, dominated by dark matter and dark energy, explains almost everything we see. Almost. Here’s what’s left.

This image shows a structure 15 million light years long that arises from a detailed simulation of the cosmic web and how galaxies, galaxy clusters and cosmic filaments form on the largest scale of all . Although this theoretical simulation, like many aspects of our standard cosmological models, largely agrees with our observations, there are points of tension that should not, despite the successes, be ignored.

(Credit: Jeremy Blaizot, SPHINX project, sphinx.univ-lyon1.fr/)

Key points to remember

  • A few simple ingredients, such as dark matter, dark energy, normal matter, photons and neutrinos, allow us to model and simulate the entire Universe from the Big Bang until today.
  • For almost everything we can predict, what we model dramatically matches what we observe. On a grand cosmic scale, what we expect to see is really what we get.
  • But in early times, at small scales and extreme densities, a host of mysteries remain. Here are some of the main thoughts surrounding these cosmic boundaries and the hopes for finding solutions.

From the early stages of the hot Big Bang to the present day, one cosmic image is enough to describe virtually everything we observe: the cosmological Lambda-Cold Dark Matter (ΛCDM) model. With a mixture of dark matter, dark energy, normal matter, photons and neutrinos, we can not only model, but also simulate the Universe from the earliest times and smallest scales to the present and on the full scale of the observable Universe. .

In most cases, theory and observation match, and dramatically so. But there are some current points of tension: the cosmological mysteries, which range from the rate of expansion of the Universe and the formation of small-scale structures to the link between the pre-Big Bang Universe and our current accelerated expansion caused by dark energy.

Travel the universe with astrophysicist Ethan Siegel. Subscribers will receive the newsletter every Saturday. All aboard!

Where are we, where are we and how far do we still have to go? I am delighted to welcome Dr. Santiago Casas, who specializes in many of the same subfields of cosmological physics that I specialized in about a decade earlier, to the Starts With A Bang podcast! In this nearly 90-minute episode, we cover a host of fascinating topics in greater depth and detail than normal, and I hope you enjoy extra-deep diving into some of the weirdest realms of modern cosmology!

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