Cosmology at the Edge
Supported by a large body of data, the current cosmological model describes the evolution of the Universe from a very early burst of accelerated expansion, known as inflation, a tiny fraction of a second after the beginning, through the assembly of galaxies and large-scale structure shaped by dark matter, to the present epoch and the rule of dark energy. Problem is, as successful as the cosmological model is, none of the mysterious pillars upon which it rests -- inflation, dark energy and dark matter -- mesh with the Standard Model of particle physics. As such, all three point either to exciting and important new physics yet to be revealed or possibly a fatal flaw in the prevailing narrative. With the Large Hadron Collider, Planck satellite, a host of dark-matter detection experiments, the Dark Energy Survey and more ahead, astronomers and astrophysicists expect to get a much better sense of what’s what before too long.