Our Universe 3: CMB, Inflation & Dark Matter


Our Universe 3:
CMB, Inflation,
& Dark Matter

by
Robert L. Piccioni, Ph.D.

Part of the
Everyone's Guide Series


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This book continues our exploration of cosmology, the science of the universe as a whole.

Here we examine four critical and somewhat mysterious phenomena that have shaped our universe and the science of cosmology: Inflation, the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) radiation, Dark Matter, and the Cosmological Principle.

Inflation was an extremely brief period of extremely rapid expansion, occurring just after the Big Bang. While not derived from any fundamental principle, Inflation has become an indispensible part of cosmology. It was added to address problems in the original Big Bang theory, including “fine tuning” of the geometry, uniformity, and large-scale structure development.

CMB, first seen as irritating noise, was discovered accidentally, but has become the most definitive evidence of the Big Bang and a cornerstone of cosmology. The CMB has revealed more about our universe than almost any other scientific discovery.

Dark matter comprises over 80% of all the matter in our universe, and has dominated both the expansion of the universe and the formation of stars and galaxies. Yet, we are barely beginning to understand this invisible, nearly inert substance.

The Cosmological Principle asserts that our universe is the same everywhere and in every direction. We will examine the evidence that supports it, and the critical importance of it being almost but not exactly correct.





Example


During Inflation, the universe expanded by an incredible amount, and at an exponential rate. As the figure above illustrates, the space created at t=0 probably expanded to become vastly larger than our observable universe.

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Our Universe 3:
CMB, Inflation & Dark Matter






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