Which controversies?

21Aug10

With so much information here on the net and minimal time thus far to sift through it, I plan to research and write about a few particular areas of controversy within cosmology.

I wish to write about the original debate in the 1950s and 60s between Big Bang scientists and those who favoured the Steady State model, because this is a great example of a publicly visible scientific controversy. Also, by evaluating this controversy I may be able to frame more recent disputes in cosmology…

…particularly those that again pit themselves up against the Big Bang theory. There are still alternative models to the Big Bang popping up here and there, so these will be great to discuss.

I’ll also look at the Lambda-Cold Dark Matter (Lambda-CDM) model, the standard Big Bang model of cosmology. This is the model that most who follow cosmology would have read about in popular science magazines, which currently predicts that 73% of the Universe is made up of dark energy, 23% of dark matter, and 4% of ‘ordinary’ matter. Cosmologists fit data from their kickass precision instruments—like the Plank telescope—to this model. But not everyone is happy with this model…

…particularly because of dark energy. There are mountains (so it seems) of alternative theories to dark energy; I’ll try to cover just a few.

Finally, I’m also keen to have a look at controversies regarding the field of cosmology itself, such as political arguments of funding and perceived worth and arguments for and against the role of high energy particle physics in astronomy.

Sound like fun? I hope so—I’m excited.

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