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The Origin of MassElementary Particles and Fundamental Symmetries$
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John Iliopoulos

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198805175

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198805175.001.0001

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A Brief History of Cosmology

A Brief History of Cosmology

(p.6) 2 A Brief History of Cosmology
The Origin of Mass

John Iliopoulos

Oxford University Press

We present the evolution of our ideas concerning the history of the Cosmos. They are based on Einstein’s theory of General Relativity in which E.P. Hubble and G. Lemaître brought two fundamental new concepts: the expansion of the Universe and the model of the Big Bang. They form the basic elements of the modern theory of Cosmology. We present very briefly the observational evidence which corroborates this picture based on a vast amount of data, among which the most recent ones come from the Planck mission with a detailed measurement of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation. We show that during its evolution the Universe went through several phase transitions giving rise to the formation of particles, atoms, nuclei, etc. A particular phase transition, which occurred very early in the cosmic history, around 10–12 seconds after the Big Bang, is the Brout–Englert–Higgs (BEH) transition during which a fraction of the energy was transformed into mass, thus making it possible for most elementary particles to become massive.

Keywords:   cosmology, General Relativity, expanding Universe, Big Bang, Planck mission, CMB, phase transition, BEH

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