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Cosmology and the unexpected

  1. Sep 20, 2007 #1


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    arXiv:0709.3102 [ps, pdf, other]
    Title: Cosmology and the Unexpected
    Authors: Edward W. Kolb
    Comments: Two lectures presented at the International School of Subnuclear Physics, "Searching for the 'totally unexpected' in the LHC era," Erice, Italy 2007
    Subjects: Astrophysics (astro-ph)
    In these two lectures I will discuss some outstanding problems in the standard model of cosmology, concentrating on the physics that might be related to the title of this school, ``Searching for the totally unexpected in the LHC era.'' In particular, I will concentrate on dark energy, dark matter, and inflation.
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  3. Oct 25, 2007 #2


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    I was about to mention this paper, but thought I'd do a search first. It's quite a readable review paper which is (dare I say it) amusing in some places. There's no new material in it, but I guess that's since the paper is a summary of two lectures that the author gave at a summer school.

    The paper starts with a brief overview of the standard model of cosmology, then goes on to discuss dark energy; renaming the cosmological constant the cosmoillogical constant. Another "interesting" point he makes is in comparing the anthropic principle to "duct tape"-- namely that, like duct tape, the anthropic argument ties up loose ends in a theory, but not necessarily in a permanent or elegant way! The rest of the first section is given to different ways of measuring variables in order to determine what dark energy is.

    In the second part of the paper, the author discusses dark matter, identifying possible candidates for what dark matter actually is, focussing mainly on WIMPS and cold dark matter. Finally, he briefly discusses inflation and a few different models of inflation based on scalar fields with different characteristics.

    Anyway, the paper is quite an entertaining read, if you like that sort of thing. Finally, a quote from the paper, which in turn came (in a different guise) from Einstein: Nothing more can be done by the theorists. In this matter it is only you, the astronomers, who can perform a simply invaluable service to theoretical physics. But, as one of my fellow students commented, it doesn't bode well for our future job prospects!
  4. Oct 29, 2007 #3


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    The universe is far too devious to yield its secrets so easily. Our descendants will someday characterize our primitive views as the 'Einsteinian' universe.
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