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Listening for the Echoes of Inflation from Antarctica

Our modern account of cosmic history begins with inflation, a moment of rapid expansion that established the large-scale geometry of our universe and sowed the quantum seeds of structure formation. Inflation should further have imprinted the universe with primordial gravitational waves on cosmological scales. The unique “twist” signature of these gravitational waves in the polarization of the cosmic microwave background radiation has been called the “holy grail” of cosmology. In this talk I will recap a dramatic year in the search for this elusive signature, from BICEP2’s announcement last March through the culmination of the BICEP/Keck/Planck joint analysis in January. I will finish with a preview of SPIDER, a powerful new instrument continuing the hunt from far above the Antarctic ice.

Cody Hall

Jeffrey Filippini (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

April 17, 2015
14:00 - 15:00