Original Research - Special Collection: Challenging Building Blocks

The building blocks of the universe

Anslyn J. John
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 77, No 3 | a6831 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v77i3.6831 | © 2021 Anslyn J. John | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 May 2021 | Published: 25 August 2021

About the author(s)

Anslyn J. John, Department of Physics, Faculty of Science, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch; National Institute for Theoretical and Computational Sciences (NITheCS), South Africa


I review the state of knowledge of the composition of the universe for a non-specialist audience. The universe is built up of four components. These are radiation, baryonic (ordinary) matter, dark matter and dark energy. In this article, a quick outline of the theory of Big Bang nucleosynthesis is presented, and the origin of the elements is explained. Cosmology requires the presence of dark matter, which forms most of the mass of the universe, and dark energy, which drives the acceleration of the expansion. The dark sector is motivated, and possible explanations are stated.

Contribution: As part of this special collection on building blocks, the building blocks of the universe are discussed and unsolved problems and proposed solutions are highlighted.


cosmology; nucleosynthesis; dark matter; dark energy; cosmological constant; general relativity; galaxies; particle physics


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Crossref Citations

1. Challenging building blocks: Cosmology, matter, religion, sexuality and language
Chris Jones, Juri van den Heever
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies  vol: 77  issue: 3  year: 2021  
doi: 10.4102/hts.v77i3.7162