Cold Dark Matter

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Science  04 Oct 1996:
Vol. 274, Issue 5284, pp. 69-75
DOI: 10.1126/science.274.5284.69


Motivated by inflation, the theory of big-bang nucleosynthesis, and the quest for a deeper understanding of fundamental forces and particles, a paradigm for the development of structure in the universe has evolved. It holds that most of the matter exists in the form of slowly moving elementary particles left over from the earliest moments—cold dark matter—and that the small density inhomogeneities that seed structure formation arose from quantum fluctuations around 10−34 seconds after the big bang. A flood of observations, from determinations of the Hubble constant to measurements of the anisotropy of cosmic background radiation, are now testing the cold dark matter paradigm.