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Undergraduate Advising and Research
Parker House, HB 6201
Hanover, NH

David Spergel

2012 Symposium abstract: "Dark Energy, Dark Matter and Inflation: New Physics or 21st Century Phlogiston"

Observations of the microwave background, the left-over heat from the big bang, are snapshots of the universe only three hundred thousand years after the big bang. These measurements and other astronomical observations imply that we live in a universe that is both simple and strange: a simple cosmological model with only five basic parameters (the age of the universe, the density of matter, the density of atoms, its initial lumpiness and the scale dependence of the lumpiness) can describe all of our precision cosmological measurements.  This model implies that atoms make up only 5% of the universe and that the rest is composed of dark matter and dark energy.  I will describe this model and discuss whether the astronomical evidence is suggesting the existence of new particles (dark matter) and new properties of space-time (dark energy) or whether it is implying the breakdown of general relativity.

Last Updated: 8/23/12