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The Cosmology Portal


Map of the sky in microwaves

Cosmology is the study of the origin, evolution, and eventual fate of the universe. Physical cosmology is the scholarly and scientific study of the origin, evolution, large-scale structures and dynamics, and ultimate fate of the universe, as well as the scientific laws that govern these realities. Religious cosmology (or mythological cosmology) is a body of beliefs based on the historical, mythological, religious, and esoteric literature and traditions of creation and eschatology.

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The Big Bang theory is the prevailing cosmological model for the birth of the universe. The model postulates that at some moment all of space was contained in a single point from which the universe has been expanding ever since. Modern measurements place this moment at approximately 13.8 billion years ago, which is thus considered the age of the universe. After the initial expansion, the universe cooled sufficiently to allow the formation of subatomic particles, and later simple atoms. Giant clouds of these primordial elements later coalesced through gravity to form stars and galaxies. The Big Bang theory does not provide any explanation for the initial conditions of the universe; rather, it describes and explains the general evolution of the universe going forward from that point on.


Did you know...

  • ... that space is flexible, and has been expanding at a measurable rate since the beginning of time?
  • ... that most of the atoms in our bodies were created in stars through fusion?
  • ... that the Earth isn't flat, but the universe is? Based on Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, there are three possible shapes that the Universe may take: open, closed, and flat. Once again, measurements by WMAP on the CMBR have revealed a monumental confirmation – the Universe is flat.
  • ... that the average density of visible matter in the universe is about 10−30 g/cm3?
  • ... that the Earth is neither the center of the Universe nor the galaxy, because the universe has no center?
  • ... that considering only the largest structures, the Universe is made up of filaments, voids, superclusters, galaxy groups and clusters? By combining galaxy groups and clusters, we come up with superclusters. Some superclusters in turn form part of walls, which are also parts of filaments.


Stephen Hawking 050506.jpg

Stephen William Hawking is an English theoretical physicist, cosmologist, author and Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology within the University of Cambridge. Among his significant scientific works have been a collaboration with Roger Penrose on Penrose–Hawking singularity theorems in the framework of general relativity, and the theoretical prediction that black holes emit radiation, often called Hawking radiation. Hawking was the first to set forth a cosmology explained by a union of the general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics. He is a vigorous supporter of the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics.

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