Physical cosmology is the study of the largest-scale structures and dynamics of the Universe and is concerned with fundamental questions about its origin, structure, evolution, and ultimate fate. For most of human history, it was a branch of metaphysics and religion.Cosmology as a science originated with the Copernican principle, which implies that celestial bodies obey identical physical laws to those on Earth, and Newtonian mechanics, which first allowed us to understand those physical laws.
Physical cosmology, as it is now understood, began with the development in 1915 of Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity, followed by major observational discoveries in the 1920s: first, Edwin Hubble discovered that the Universe contains a huge number of external galaxies beyond our own Milky Way; then, work by Vesto Slipher and others showed that the Universe is expanding. These advances made it possible to speculate about the origin of the Universe, and allowed the establishment of the Big Bang Theory, byGeorges Lemaitre, as the leading cosmological model. A few researchers still advocate a handful of alternative cosmologies;however, most cosmologists agree that the Big Bang theory explains the observations better.