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Cosmology
Research in cosmology, including gravitation and field theory, covers the following topics. Theory of the origin and evolution of the
largescale structure of the Universe; the cosmic microwave background (depicted above, image courtesy of WMAP/NASA); quintessence, dark
energy and the accelerating Universe (Caldwell). The physics of the early
Universe at the interface of gravitation, particle physics and cosmology; gravitational radiation; inflationary cosmology; numerical and
analytical studies of nonequilibrium classical and quantum fields; dynamics of phase transitions (Gleiser). Theoretical cosmology: the cosmological constant problem, baryogenesis, cosmic inflation, structure
formation, singularity resolution, quantum fields in curved spaces, and string cosmology. Quantum gravity: string theory, modified
theories of gravity, and loop quantum gravity/spin foams (Alexander).
Images from research in cosmology.
Left: Cosmological phase transitions are very likely to have taken place in the early Universe, as a consequence of symmetry breaking. Such phase transitions have observational consequences for cosmology, playing a role in the cosmic matterantimatter asymmetry, and leading to the formation of topological defects such as monopoles. At left is a slice through a simulation of the dynamics of a phase transition as may occur in the early Universe, by Prof. Marcelo Gleiser.
Right: An epoch of primordial inflation in the early Universe may have left a unique imprint on the observed cosmic microwave background (CMB) anisotropy, by way of gravitational waves. These waves would leave a distinct pattern on the CMB polarization pattern which would allow us to directly "view" the Universe in the first fraction of a second of the Big Bang. At right is a depiction of the effect of a gravitational wave on a test mass, which in this case is the Universe at the surface of last scattering, by Prof. Robert Caldwell. The effect of a wave, here traveling upwards, is to induce alternating squeezing and stretching distortions of the sphere.
Further information is available at the
Cosmology research web page.
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