Topological defects in the cosmos and lab
Current theories of particle physics lead to the unavoidable conclusion that there must have been several phase transitions in the early Universe. Further, in the context of these theories, it is possible that cosmological phase transitions would have produced topological defects that may be roaming our heavens today. A finding of these fossils from the early Universe would provide a direct confirmation of the thermal history of the cosmos, insight into astrophysical phenomena, and vital information about particle physics. The elimination of unobserved topological defects provides important constraints on particle physics and may also suggest novel cosmology. I describe some of the research on cosmic topological defects and recent efforts to address cosmological issues in condensed matter systems.