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Dark Energy, Inflation and Neutrino Physics Imprinted on the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB)

The cosmic microwave background (CMB) probes the origin, growth and dynamics of structure in our universe in diverse ways.  Recent events highlight that polarization anisotropy in the CMB encodes new information, including reports of a possible detection of the signature of inflation along with first measurements of the effect of lensing on the polarization.

The Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT) is a 6 m telescope specifically designed to measure the CMB at millimeter wavelengths.  ACT has an angular resolution of better than 1.4′, which means it measures not only the primordial fluctuations in the CMB (tracing the seeds of large scale structure), but is also sensitive to the intervening universe in several ways.  Although its first camera (MBAC) was not, the current camera on ACT, called ACTPol, is polarization-sensitive.  I will describe results from MBAC on ACT, the ACTPol instrument, and the next ACT upgrade, indicating both progress to date, and the enormous potential still remaining in the CMB for describing the universe, from its possible inflationary beginnings, to the parameters of its dark energy to the nature of its neutrinos.

Cody Hall

Suzanne Staggs (Princeton)

March 28, 2014
14:00 - 15:00