MDM Observatory, Kitt Peak, AZ

Cosmology & Large Scale

Understanding the structure and evolution of the cosmos on the largest scales — on scales of hundreds of millions of light years — is one of the most active frontiers in astronomy. In the past two decades, due to rapid enhancements in instrumentation and technology, cosmology has turned from a data–starved field to a data–driven precision science. Current research focuses on understanding the decades–old puzzle of dark matter, which helps form large–scale structures and holds galaxies together, and the new and intriguing puzzle of dark energy, which is responsible for the accelerated expansion of the universe.

Columbia faculty and researchers are active in a wide range of topics in cosmology, including: experimental searches for dark matter; developing instrumentation for new space telescopes to map cosmic large scale structures; using local galaxies as cosmological probes; theoretical work on the properties of dark energy and dark matter, and on Einstein's general relativity and its possible modifications; and laboratory studies of chemistry in the early Universe.