Dark Energy and Cosmic Sound
I will discuss how the acoustic oscillations that propagate in the photon-baryon fluid during the first million years of the Universe provide a robust method for measuring the cosmological distance scale. The distance that the sound can travel can be computed to high precision and creates a signature in the late-time clustering of matter that serves as a standard ruler. Galaxy clustering results from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey reveal this feature, giving a geometric distance to a redshift of 0.3 and an accurate measurement of \Omega_matter. I will review our recent work on the theoretical modeling of the shifts and scatter of the acoustic scale in N-body simulations. I will then present SDSS-III, which will use the acoustic method to produce 1% distance measurements in order to map the curvature and expansion history of the Universe and measure the evolution of dark energy.
Date: Tuesday, 15 February 2011 Time: 16:00 Where: McGill University Ernest Rutherford Physics Building, R.E. Bell Conference Room (room 103) Contact: Robert Rutledge