This is good stuff. The article doesn’t say a lot, but it is detailed enough to demonstrate the coolness of it. It is pretty awesome. Once again, the data shows more than we expected.

First Hundred Thousand Years of Our Universe « Berkeley Lab News Center.

The paper can be found here:

http://arxiv.org/abs/1304.3724

The paper is just over four pages. I get it, but it is technical, and it assumes more technical expertise than I have. Matter density and radiation density are easy, but I don’t think I have a handle on the cosmological constant density. 🙂 They’ve assumed more expertise in statistics than I have, too.

If you understand, “We choose the associated sound speed to be the speed of light, as in quintessence dark energy, but explore variations of this later.” Then you probably will understand the paper better than I can, especially if you have advanced statistical methods expertise.

I love the tone of the paper. We have far better understanding of cosmology than of climatology, but there is far more acknowledgement of current uncertainty and future improvements in information and knowledge than I ever see from climate related research (with a couple of notable exceptions).

I suspect it is quite an exciting time for cosmologists. There seems to be a wealth of instruments coming on line and soon to produce new data. Data is good. (Or, if you prefer, data are good.) With data, one can judge theories and models and improve the good and throw out the bad. It is rightly claimed that all models are wrong, but those that fit the data reasonably well are useful.

From the conclusion:

“Exploring the even earlier universe will require neutrino, dark matter, or gravitational wave astronomy. […] Over just a few years cosmological observations have taken us from order unity uncertainty (with & 10% in narrow epochs around recombination and today) to a few percent level knowledge over more than 10 e-folds of cosmic history.”

I’m not sure anyone has thought of how to astronomically measure neutrino, dark matter, or gravitational waves. I except we will figure it out. Overall, awesome.