Special Reviews

Inflationary Cosmology: Exploring the Universe from the Smallest to the Largest Scales

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Science  11 Feb 2005:
Vol. 307, Issue 5711, pp. 884-890
DOI: 10.1126/science.1107483

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Understanding the behavior of the universe at large depends critically on insights about the smallest units of matter and their fundamental interactions. Inflationary cosmology is a highly successful framework for exploring these interconnections between particle physics and gravitation. Inflation makes several predictions about the present state of the universe—such as its overall shape, large-scale smoothness, and smaller scale structure—which are being tested to unprecedented accuracy by a new generation of astronomical measurements. The agreement between these predictions and the latest observations is extremely promising. Meanwhile, physicists are busy trying to understand inflation's ultimate implications for the nature of matter, energy, and spacetime.

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