Careers in Cosmology
Cosmology is a branch of astronomy and careers in this field are mostly made at universities and colleges. You can’t claim to have a job in cosmology if you don’t know about the Big Bang model of the universe, elementary particle physics, unified field theories, nucleosynthesis, the cosmological constant, Friedman equations, plasma physics, cosmic microwave background radiation, and the Wyle curvature hypothesis. A research job in cosmology means investigating galaxies, clusters, superclusters, and quasars. Many galaxies were formed within one million years of the Big Bang, and cosmologists also go back in time to 5.4×10-44 second (Plank time). A cosmological analysis of pictures taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, which show thousands of galaxies in a few arc minutes of space, indicates Plank time is the smallest possible amount of time.
A career in cosmology, however, does not necessarily involve cosmogony. Cosmogony is the study of the origin of the solar system and falls into the job description of an astronomer. The cosmological career path began with Einstein's general theory of relativity and better astronomical observations of extremely distant objects. A cosmologist should also know about string theory and phenomenology in science. A career in string theory is precarious, but the theory itself combines quantum mechanics and gravity. Superstring theory incorporates fermions and supersymmetry and leads to string and p-brane (membrane, M-theory) cosmology. As a result, there should be more jobs in phenomenology than in string theory. The second law of thermodynamics is an example of phenomenology, and there are many more examples. The behavior of heat can be described with mathematical equations without explaining where the equations come from. In phenomenology, algebraic models of phenomena can be used to predict new phenomena.
A career in cosmology can lead to the Noble prize because the universe can’t be explained in terms of the known conventional forms of energy. Dark matter and dark energy could account for most of the mass and energy in the observable universe, yet we don’t know what it is. The existence of dark matter is inferred from its gravitational effects on visible matter, and the existence of dark energy is inferred from the accelerating rate of expansion of the universe. Dark matter may consist of axions, weakly interacting massive particles, non-luminous gas, massive astrophysical compact halo objects, and brown dwarfs. Dark energy may be the energy of the virtual particles that must exist in vacuum due to the uncertainty principle.