Fundamental Issues and Problems of Cosmology

Chapter
Part of the Integrated Science & Technology Program book series (ISTP, volume 1)

Abstract

Cosmology – the study of the origin and evolution of the universe itself – is a unique science because the universe provides the setting and context for all the other sciences. It has made incredible strides in the past century, and particularly in the past two decades, as physical understanding has developed and as vast amounts of new data has come in. We understand the basic evolution of the universe from extremely early times to the present day, as well as the way large scale structures formed in the universe (Dodelson S, Modern Cosmology, Academic, San Diego, 2003; Peter P, Uzan J-P, Primordial cosmology Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2009. However (and partly as a consequence of all this new data) we are inevitably running into a series of limits due to the nature of the subject. This chapter will look at some of these fundamental problems for cosmology, and consider some fundamental issues relating to the nature of the topic (For a discussion of cosmological issues from a philosophical viewpoint, raising many of the issues considered here in the context of the relevant physical theory, see Ellis (Issues in the philosophy of cosmology. In: Butterfield J, Earman J (eds) Handbook in philosophy of physics. Elsevier, Amsterdam, 2006, pp. 1183–1285, http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0602280).

Keywords

Cosmology Fundamental problems Laws of physics 

Notes

Acknowledgments

I thank Jean-Philippe Uzan for helpful comments.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics, Astrophysics Cosmology and Gravitation CenterUniversity of Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa

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