Published in Annalen der Physik, vol. 19, issue 6,
pp. 389-418, 2010

http://arxiv.org/abs/0910.4333

For a PDF version of the article, click here.

Institut für Theoretische Physik - Universität Göttingen

Friedrich-Hund-Platz 1

37077 Göttingen

**Abstract:**
In recent years, by theory and observation cosmology has advanced
substantially. Parameters of the concordance or ΛCDM
cosmological model are given with unprecedented precision ("precision
cosmology"). On the other hand, 95% of the matter content of the
universe are of an unknown nature. This awkward situation motivates
the present attempt to find cosmology's place among the (exact) natural
sciences. Due to its epistemic and methodical particularities, e.g.,
as a mathematized historical science, cosmology occupies a very
special place. After going through some of the highlights of
cosmological modeling, the conclusion is reached that knowledge
provided by cosmological modeling cannot be as explicative and secure
as knowledge gained by laboratory physics.

**Key words :** variational principles, gravitation, Riemannian
geometry, cosmological modeling

**Table of Contents**

- INTRODUCTION
- THE CONTENT OF COSMOLOGY
- The universe: a well defined physical system?
- A mathematized historical science?
- Other features peculiar to cosmology
- Initial conditions

- The universe: a well defined physical system?
- COSMOLOGICAL MODELING
- General hypotheses
- Primordial Nucleosynthesis
- Empirical situation with regard to
*A*_{2} - Cosmological observation

- More on the standard cosmological model
- The concordance model of the universe (ΛCDM)
- Matter content of unknown origin
- Dark matter
- Dark energy

- Further conceptual pecularities of the standard model

- General hypotheses
- THE INFLATIONARY FLASH
- Particle cosmology
- The inflationary model
- ΛCDM-questionaire (implying inflation)

- ORIGINATIVE COSMOLOGY
- Quantum gravity
- Quantum cosmology
- Law of initial conditions?
- The Wheeler-DeWitt equation
- Puzzles of quantum cosmology

- Make-believe cosmology: the multiverse
- Multiverse models
- Philosophical issues
- Multiverse questionaire

- THE SCIENCE OF COSMOLOGY
- The epistemic value of cosmology
- The explanatory value of cosmology
- Comparison with other natural sciences
- Error bars

- CONCLUSION
- REFERENCES