Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Welcome to Cosmic Quest

Welcome to the new Cosmic Quest blog, an expedition of the mind to the frontiers of the universe. Cosmology, the science of the universe, has made extraordinary progress in recent years tackling many long-standing questions. We now know the age of the cosmos with unprecedented precision: 13.75 billion years, give or take several hundred million. We also know the geometry and material composition of the universe.

Yet many deep mysteries remain. What is dark matter, the elusive gravitational "glue" that cements galaxies and clusters of galaxies together, yet cannot be seen? What is dark energy, the hidden cause of the universe's accelerated expansion? Is our universe part of a vaster multiverse? Could regions beyond the cosmic horizon affect ours through their unseen influences? Is the cosmos a hologram with its information encoded on a kind of surface? Were there other cycles of time before the Big Bang? Will time end in a Big Rip, a Big Stretch, a cosmic collision, or another scenario?

To begin this journey I am posting a video I recorded as part of the AT&T Science & Technology Author Series. In it I discuss cosmological milestones in recent history, as well as the ongoing search for dark matter and dark energy.