NASA/Fermilab Astrophysics Center
Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Batavia, IL 60510-0500
ABSTRACT. The discovery of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) in 1964 by Penzias and Wilson led to the establishment of the hot big-bang cosmological model some ten years later. Discoveries made in 1998 may ultimately have as profound an effect on our understanding of the origin and evolution of the Universe. Taken at face value, they confirm the basic tenets of Inflation + Cold Dark Matter, a bold and expansive theory that addresses all the fundamental questions left unanswered by the hot big-bang model and holds that the Universe is flat, slowly moving elementary particles provide the cosmic infrastructure, and quantum fluctuations seeded all the structure seen in the Universe today. Just as it took a decade to establish the hot big-bang model after the discovery of the CMB, it will likely take another ten years to establish the latest addition to the standard cosmology and make the answer to "Cosmology Solved?", "YES!" Whether or not 1998 proves to be a cosmic milestone, the coming avalanche of high-quality cosmological data promises to make the next twenty years an extremely exciting period for cosmology.
Table of Contents