George Ellis and Bill
Stoeger present the standard model of our universe, the Friedmann-
Lemaitre-Robertson-Walker (FLRW) or Big Bang model, including its foundations
in special relativity and general relativity, and its observational
features. They also discuss
inflationary models which solve many of the problems of the standard
model. Attention is given to the
assumptions which go into cosmology, some of which are technical, others more
philosophical in nature. In a key
passage, Ellis and Stoeger focus on the initial singularity, t=0, the boundary
to the universe where the laws of physics break down . . . Is t=0 a creation event, or is it a
transitory feature of the standard cosmological model which will disappear when
a quantum theory of gravity is achieved?
They also touch on questions of the origin of structure, complexity and
life in the universe.
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