Special Perspectives

Numerical Simulations Unravel the Cosmic Web

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Science  04 Jan 2008:
Vol. 319, Issue 5859, pp. 52-55
DOI: 10.1126/science.1151476

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Abstract

The universe is permeated by a network of filaments, sheets, and knots collectively forming a “cosmic web.” The discovery of the cosmic web, especially through its signature of absorption of light from distant sources by neutral hydrogen in the intervening intergalactic medium, exemplifies the interplay between theory and experiment that drives science and is one of the great examples in which numerical simulations have played a key and decisive role. We recount the milestones in our understanding of cosmic structure; summarize its impact on astronomy, cosmology, and physics; and look ahead by outlining the challenges faced as we prepare to probe the cosmic web at new wavelengths.

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