Cosmology

This video is about cosmology – the study of the properties of the entire universe.

For a short outline of the contents of this video, see the summary.

For a complete written record of the words in this video, see the transcript.

Learn More

The Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) has played an important role in cosmology research. They have an excellent website with information about cosmology:
http://map.gsfc.nasa.gov/universe/bb_concepts.html

How big is the universe? Check out these links to get an idea for the extraordinary scale of the universe.
http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap120312.html
http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap110201.html
http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap100120.html

To learn more about Dark Matter and Dark Energy, check out these units from Physics for the 21st Century:
https://www.learner.org/courses/physics/unit/text.html?unit=10&secNum=0
https://www.learner.org/courses/physics/unit/text.html?unit=11&secNum=0

 

Research Challenges

One way that physicists can learn about what the universe was like billions of years ago is by using powerful telescopes to look deep into outer space. How does looking far away help physicists to understand the past?

Cosmology attempts to understand the universe billions of years in the past and future. How is describing the origins of the universe different from or similar to predicting its future?

The Second Law of Thermodynamics plays a critical role in understanding why time only flows in one direction. How does this law relate to the “heat death” of the universe? What does it tell us about the entropy in the early universe?

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