Mapping the Birth and Growth of the Universe
University of KwaZulu-Natal
Taking advantage of the finite speed of light, cosmologists directly observe the universe throughout its life cycle. Maps of the cosmic microwave background give us a snapshot from just 400,000 years after the big bang. Detailed studies of these maps have revolutionized cosmology, transforming it into a precision science. Future observations are expected to measure the mass of the neutrino, including distinguishing between normal and inverted mass heirarchies. Developments in electronics have put us on the verge of similar breakthroughs in radio astronomy where we will soon see the imprint of the birth of the first stars, and map out the adolescent universe as dark energy begins to dominate. These seemingly disparate phases of the universe are united by their need to understand large amounts of data at better than a part per thousand. I give an overview of experiments studying these phases of the universe, present some of what we hope to learn, and discuss the data challenge.
Date: Wednesday, 1 February 2017 Time: 11:00 Where: McGill University Ernest Rutherford Physics Building, R.E. Bell Conference Room (room 103) Contact: Kelly Lepo