How JWSTs glances back in time are reshaping cosmology


The extensive use of mathematical tools, such as trigonometry and geometry, allowed Ptolemy to describe and calculate the positions and motions of celestial bodies. He further developed mathematical techniques, including his work on spherical trigonometry, which he utilized to make detailed predictions and measurements. Claudius Ptolemaeus, known by his mononym Ptolemy, was an influential Greek-Egyptian astronomer, mathematician, cartographer, and geographer who lived in the second century CE.

Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica, published in 1687, was the first description of the law of universal gravitation. It provided a physical mechanism for Kepler’s laws and also allowed the anomalies in previous systems, caused by gravitational interaction between the planets, to be resolved.

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The cosmological argument is based on observation of everything in the universe having a cause, being in motion or being contingent and therefore requiring a creator. On the basis of those observations, an inference is then made to the nature of the origin of the universe being God. Newer experiments, such as QUIET and the Atacama Cosmology Telescope, are trying to measure the polarization of the cosmic microwave background.

Scientific American maintains a strict policy of editorial independence in reporting developments in science to our readers. Explore our digital archive back to 1845, including articles by more than 150 Nobel Prize winners. The sigma-eight tension, with its one-in-100 chance of being a statistical aberration, is where the Hubble tension was a few years ago. “So less significant but worth keeping an eye on for a possible connection,” Riess says.

Subject history

Regarding astronomy, Thales suggested the Earth floated upon water. Observing the changing states of water, and its ability to evaporate into the air and condense into rain, he evidenced water’s central role in the universe. In the meantime, our radio telescopes will continue to be eavesdrop on the universe, with astronomers around the world waiting and listening. It supposes that at any instant, nature sits in certain region of this configuration space and can only explore other regions that are adjacent. It does this through the well-known process of evolution in which mutations and sexual recombination lead to new biological phenotypes, which may be more suited to survive. For this, the group turn to an idea first put forward by Kauffman several decades ago — the theory of the adjacent possible. This is the notion that evolution navigates the space of possible biological configurations in a special way.

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However, this so-called Einstein model is unstable to small perturbations—it will eventually start to expand or contract. It was later realized that Einstein’s model was just one of a larger set of possibilities, all of which were consistent with general relativity and the cosmological principle. The cosmological solutions of general relativity were found by Alexander Friedmann in the early 1920s. His equations describe the Friedmann–Lemaître–Robertson–Walker universe, which may expand or contract, and whose geometry may be open, flat, or closed.