The Accelerating Universe: Probing Inflation & Dark Energy with the Radio/Microwave Sky
Two of the greatest mysteries in cosmology -- and indeed all of modern
physics -- involve the exponential growth of space: the inflationary
period of the early Universe, and the present-day Dark Energy-driven
expansion. Recent technological advances are fuelling the exploration of
these twin phenomena, allowing precise measurements spanning broad swaths
of the observable Universe.
The 10m South Pole Telescope (SPT) has surveyed a 2500 deg^2 patch
of the southern microwave sky, and has already yielded considerable
insights into these periods of expansion: measurements of the angular
power spectrum of the CMB are beginning to constrain models of inflation,
while growth-of-structure measurements, probed through the evolution of
the galaxy cluster population, now constrain the behaviour of Dark Energy.
I'll discuss these results, as well as prospects for a pair of new
experiments: a polarization-sensitive upgrade to SPT, which will precisely
measure the polarized properties of the CMB, potentially detecting the
"smoking gun" of inflation, the imprint of primordial gravity waves; and
the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME), which is poised
to take a global lead on mapping the large scale structure of the Universe,
thereby precisely measuring the Dark Energy-driven expansion of space.
|Date: ||Tuesday, 13 March 2012|
|Where: ||McGill University|
| ||Ernest Rutherford Physics Building, R.E. Bell Conference Room (room 103)|
|Contact: ||Robert Rutledge|