A Census of Cosmic Matter

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Science  19 Oct 2001:
Vol. 294, Issue 5542, pp. 529-530
DOI: 10.1126/science.1066158

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New, high-precision data are set to revolutionize cosmology. In his Perspective, Fields discusses recent studies of Big Bang nucleosynthesis and of the cosmic microwave background. The studies show preliminary agreement on the density of baryonic matter in the universe--the stuff atoms are made of. This density falls far short of the amount needed to prevent the universe from expanding forever, indicating that most of the matter in the universe is exotic.