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how should i prepare myself for cosmological research

how should i prepare myself for cosmological research

Grade:11

1 Answers

Ashutosh Mohan Sharma
askIITians Faculty 180 Points
5 years ago
Cosmology is about understanding the distant past and the distant future and on the surface of it may seem more like history and prognostication than traditional physics.

Cosmology has two clear purposes
It is a laboratory for testing the laws of nature
It lets us understand how the Universe came to be the way it is by using the known laws of nature
The first is just traditional science. The Universe has experienced conditions that we are not able to make the laboratory. Rather than throwing that data away, we can use it to help us understand the laws of physics.

The second is a bit softer in some sense, but it goes to the central aspect of why many scientist work: to understand the Universe, both the past and the future. General Relativity was a huge advance because it meant that the Universe was not a stagnant chess board where the pieces moves on an immutable object. Instead, the Universe is a dynamic object: the chess board changes as the pieces move on it. One of the first dramatic realizations was that the Universe has been undergoing a dramatic change over time called Big Bang Cosmology. Big Bang Cosmology is distinct from "The Big Bang". The Big Bang is an extrapolation of a formula to a place where our current laws of nature no longer make sense. Big Bang Cosmology is simply following the Universe backwards and describing its evolution. This has led to a profound change in what questions we consider answerable. For instance, the questions about why galaxies are distributed as they are and have the sizes they have is a question that you can ask and in fact is roughly answered up to details. Over the past 30 years we've been understanding what came before the era of Big Bang Cosmology. We now know it was a period of dramatic expansion called Inflation. We are measure the properties of the Universe during this period of time and looking to understand what came before that. We are simply trying to understand the history of the Universe. History is a central concern of much of humanity. All one has to do is look at the Old Testament to see the concern. Almost all cultures have an Origin of the Universe myth. We can simply turn the questions of origins from myth into science.

But the origins and fate of the Universe don't interest you, you can simply know that the Universe has experienced things that we won't ever be able to replicate on Earth.

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