Presented by Stephen Portillo, Zachary Slepian, and Kate Alexander

As the result of observational and theoretical breakthroughs starting in the twentieth century, the cosmology of the Big Bang Theory was established. A crucial part of this captivating story is explaining how, from the violence and chaos of the Big Bang, organized structures like our own Milky Way galaxy formed. The first part of this lecture will start the story by introducing the dark matter halos which comprise the structure of the Universe as we see it today. We will detail gravity’s role in merging these structures and the evidence for dark matter’s existence. The second part of this lecture will detail the physics of structure formation: how small perturbations grew into large structures that we see as the cosmic web of galaxies today. We will explain how, in the framework of Einstein’s General Relativity, gravity, pressure, and the Universe’s expansion all interacted to regulate the growth of structure. The final part of this lecture will address inflation, a leading theory which explains the origins of structure. We will explain why inflation, or something like it, is believed to have happened and recent claims evidence for inflation by the BICEP2 Collaboration.

Lecture Part 1

Lecture Part 2

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *